Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Whistler, BC

Whistler is on my mind today. We only spent two days there but, frankly, it was really fun. The last time we went was several years ago and we said then we would go back every summer. Well, guess what? It has been nine years. Two years ago I was lucky enough to attend a Winter Olympics announcement ceremony in Seattle when Whistler and Vancouver, BC were named as the hosts for the 2010 Winter Olympics---the next one after the upcoming one in Turin, Italy 2006. What an exciting moment that was for us! Seattle and Everett should have an economic boost and will be stepping stones for both athletes and tourists heading up to the Olympic venues. Mukilteo, Lynnwood, and Edmonds, being between Seattle and Everett along the I-5 corridor should benefit as well.

But, but,... Vancouver has some issues. First of all, to understand Vancouver, one must realize that this major urban area is literally carved out of the edge of complete wilderness. The freeway known to Americans as I-5 and Canadians as 99 ends at Vancouver and no big overpasses allow traffic to bypass the city. Try to understand this---the FREEWAY ends. 99 goes right through the heart of this huge city and this is the way you go to catch ferries and the little two lane highway to Whistler. We got stuck in some major traffic on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Vancouver and I kept saying--"they are going to have to do something about this before 2010". See, all of the skating events such as speedskating and figure skating will be held in Vancouver but the ski events, luge and so forth will be up at Whistler so people will be going back and forth. To their credit, they are widening the road to Whistler.

So for us, we think in terms of time rather than miles because Whistler is 190 miles from our house but we like to say--less than two hours to the border--another 45 minutes to an hour through Vancouver---and another hour and a half for the 70 miles up to Whistler---and this doesn't include the wait at the border which is completely unpredictable. It all goes fast with the gorgeous scenery. Even being stuck in traffic in Vancouver is interesting. But Olympic traffic could create some monumental problems especially in the middle of winter. I think I will watch on TV, thank you very much.

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Whistler BC from our hotel balcony

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Preparing for 2010 Olympics

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Whistler from a Gondola

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Up on Top

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Lucas and I hiked to that middle little peak/point

Whistler is extremely dog friendly so we took Apolo with us though he was sleeping in the van when we took the Gondola ride. The lodge where we stayed welcomes dogs--The Crystal Lodge. My only complaint is that the pooper scooper sacks available in dispensers on every street corner will probably work for Ms. Hilton's dog during the Olympics but they only fit about half of my 95 lb. Golden Retriever's---well, you get the idea. A grocery sack works for us. Apolo had the time of his life with the hikes and meeting tons of people who cannot resist a cute dog.

Another fascinating aspect about Whistler is that it is the mountain biking mecca of the world. We saw virtually no skate boards, no inline skates, nor scooters like we used to but mountain bikes everywhere. They would ride up the ski lifts and then come careening down like maniacs. Uh, you sorta have to be kinda careful when you're walking your dog on the hillside. GEEZ!! All in all, we love Whistler and I just hope it will not be another nine years before we go back. Well, maybe five??!!

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The pained expression on my face is because I had just finished the hike up to that rocky peak and I was tired!!