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Angela Fairbank
Travel Writer

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” series

Whistler, BC, Canada - a Slideshow

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Whistler, which is named for the furry marmots that populate the area and whistle to signal to each other, is one of the world's most popular ski resorts, winter and summer. Now known as Whistler and Blackcomb (since 1997 when the two resorts merged), which has over 8000 acres of skiing terrain, it is located 120-km (74 mi) north of Vancouver. The drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler takes about 2 hours. If you don't have a car, you can also get there by bus, helicopter, limo or train.

The Peak2Peak Gondola, which connects the peaks of Whistler (elevation 2182 m; 7159 ft) and Blackcomb (elev. 2284 m; 7493 ft), is the largest free-standing gondola in the world and travels 2.7 miles in 11 minutes. Twenty-eight cars each carry up to 28 passengers and leave once a minute. It takes 11 minutes to travel from peak to peak.

Whistler Mountain has 1502m (4928 ft) of vertical and more than 100 marked runs and is serviced by a high-speed gondola and 8 high-speed chair lifts plus four other chair lifts and tows. A helicopter will take you to another 100 or more runs on nearby glaciers.

Blackcomb has 1584 m (5197 ft) of vertical and more than 100 marked runs serviced by 9 high-speed chairlifts plus 3 other lifts and tows.

In winter, the area usually gets 360 inches of snowfall and in addition to the runs has 12 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers. The resort has more vertical runs, lifts and varied ski terrain then any other ski resort in North America, and offers downhill, backcountry, cross-country and heli-skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, ATVs and sleigh-riding. Since the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, you can also try out new sports here such as luge, bobsled and skeleton.

In the summer, the resort is more suited for mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, golfing, hiking, horse-back riding, jet boating, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and zip-lining.

Activities at this resort go beyond merely sports. There are also various festivals held here for film, art, food and wine. For those who like to shop and dine, there are more than 200 shops and 90 restaurants and bars, as well as a variety of accommodations and spas. For those interested in First Nations culture, the Squamish Lil'wat Centre has a variety of cultural traditions on display with art, houses, artefacts, tools, and dugout canoes.

Other 2010 Winter Olympic Sites include the BC Place Stadium with its retractable roof (used for the opening and closing ceremonies), which also hosts the BC Lions Football team and has 60,000 seats., the Vancouver Olympic Centre, the Pacific Coliseum, and GM Place, all in Vancouver, Cypress Mountain in North Vancouver, the Thunderbird Arena at UBC and the Richmond Oval in Richmond. The Athletes' Village is located on the south bank of False Creek and is an environmentally self-sustaining mixed-used community that is being turned into upscale housing units so as to pay off the Olympic debt.

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