Whistler’s dream of hosting the Olympics comes true today

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 12, 2010 10:22 am

Whistler, B.C. – Fifty years ago, the dream of hosting an Olympic Winter Games in Whistler began. The destination that now hosts more than 2.2 million visitors each year, often cited as the top skiing and snowboarding destination in North America and one of the best four-season resorts in the world, was just a couple of very snowy mountains. Fast-forward to today, and the dream becomes real as the 2010 Winter Games begin.

“It’s been a long journey, and now we are ready to host the best Games ever,” says Barrett Fisher, President and CEO of Tourism Whistler. “Whistler always displays a unique energy, but today it is many levels higher with visitors, athletes, officials and media from around the world arriving in the Resort.”

There are record levels of snow on the mountains, the venues were completed two years ago, and medals presentations along with top music acts will be offered every night during the Games at Whistler Medals Plaza. Free concerts and entertainment will also be offered at six other public gathering places around Whistler Village. Of the 86 medal events at the 2010 Winter Games, 46 of them take place at Whistler’s three Games venues.

“Whistler was built to host many thousands of visitors on any given night, and we are used to throwing big parties for thousands of people at our summer and winter events, but this will be the biggest and longest celebration we’ve ever seen,” says Fisher.

Whistler’s dream began when several businesspeople from Vancouver attended the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. They returned from those Games determined to bring them to Whistler, and set about developing the ski mountain that would eventually become Whistler Blackcomb. After five attempts to bring the Games to Whistler, the sixth attempt was successful.

“Our goal is to leverage the global media exposure that the Games bring to Whistler into increased visitation to the resort,” says Fisher. “We have already received millions of dollars worth of editorial coverage because of the Games, and we will be receiving millions more. We will be working hard with our partners to take that media exposure and make Whistler into an even more well-known and loved destination than it is today.”

People who want to come to Whistler to experience the magic of the 2010 Winter Games can find accommodations at whistler.com for any night of the Games. The best way to get to Whistler is by bus. Go to ridebooker.com for departures every day from Vancouver to Whistler. Additional transportation information is available at travelsmart2010.ca.