Olympic Legacy

ALPINE SKIING VENUE – 2010 WINTER games

WHISTLER CREEKSIDE

Whistler Blackcomb’s Creekside base (on Whistler Mountain) was the Alpine Skiing Venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Two courses on Whistler Mountain hosted the disciplines of men's and women's:

  • Downhill
  • Super-G
  • Giant Slalom
  • Slalom 
  • Super Combined

The men's races took place on the renowned Dave Murray Downhill, while women's races took place on a new course, which started on Wild Card, cut across to Franz's Run and connected at the bottom of the Dave Murray Downhill. Both courses continue to be available for the public to ski and ride.

DAVE MURRAY DOWNHILL FAQ

The Dave Murray Downhill is named after Dave Murray, one of the original "Crazy Canucks," and one of the most popular ski personalities Canada has ever produced.

After retiring from the Canadian Ski Team in 1982, he joined Whistler Mountain as Director of Skiing and created a series of events and programs targeting mature skiers. The legendary Dave Murray Camps continue to be offered at Whistler Blackcomb to this day. Dave passed away in 1989 after a valiant fight against cancer. The Dave Murray Downhill was named in his honour in 1990 and has become known as one of the top downhill courses in the world.

The steepest section on the Dave Murray Downhill is a 58 per cent grade on the Fallaway pitch. The approximate range of pitch on the Dave Murray Downhill is from 29 per cent to 58 per cent.

The original Dave Murray Downhill started out as a narrow creek bed, and remained that way for the first 13 years. Through hosting various competitions, improvements were made. The run was first blasted and made wider in 1978, again in 1983 and again in 1995, with final improvements being made specifically for the Olympic races prior to 2010.

DAVE MURRAY DOWNHILL KEY SPOTS

In the late 1990's Whistler Blackcomb updated the names of the various sections on the now, infamous course, yet the new names did not take hold and the old names still stick to this day.

The "Toilet Bowl" is near the start of the course and is where there is an abrupt roll-over onto a steep pitch. Since this was originally the main route back to Olympic Station, during the end-of-day ski out there were comparisons made to the "flushing out" action of a toilet as there were so many people in such a narrow corridor. This also led to the naming of the "Sewer" as the place where the skiers and riders ended up at the bottom of the pitch.

"The Weasel" is a steep pitch at the equivalent elevation as the top of the Creekside Gondola (mid-station). Whistler Weasel Workers got their name from the job of boot-packing the Weasel section of the course.

"Afterburner" is a steep ledge that crosses Lower Insanity to Coaches Corner.

"Coach's Corner" is just past the halfway mark and was widened in preparation for the 2010 Winter Games.

"Boyd's Bump", named after Whistler local and legendary ski racer Rob Boyd, who won a World Cup Downhill on home turf racing the Dave Murray Downhill in 1988, is a short section just before "Murr's Jump" or "Hot Air." "Murr's Jump" is also known as "Hot Air" and is the last technical section of the course before the finish line.

VENUE FACTS

  • 7,700 - Olympic Winter Games venue capacity
  • 5,000 - Paralympic Winter Games venue capacity
  • 1,662 metres – elevation of the men’s downhill course start
  • 1,545 metres – elevation of the ladies’ downhill course start
  • 810 metres - Finish area elevation
  • 28% - average slope gradient on the race courses
  • 58% - Steepest section on the men’s course; on the Fallaway pitch
  • 61% - Steepest section on the ladies’ course; just bellow the tunnel
  • 3.158 kilometres (1.962 miles) – the length of the Dave Murray Downhill
  • 33 – number of turns on the men’s downhill
  • 29 – number of turns on the ladies’ downhill
  • 30 kilometres (18.64 miles) – the amount of safety netting needed for both race courses
  • 120-130 kilometres per hour (75-81 mph) – average speed of racers,
  • 148km/h (92mph) - the top clocked racing speed

2010 Games by the numbers

2010 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES

  • 17 days and nights of Olympic Winter Games from February 12 – 28, 2010.
  • 13 Olympic athletes were from the Sea to Sky Corridor.
  • 80 centimetres or 41 inches of snow fell on the mountains the first few days of the Olympic Winter Games and Whistler Blackcomb reported a higher than expected number of visits (source: Whistler Blackcomb).
  • 1,000 spectators per day watched the Olympic and Paralympic downhill races free of charge via three viewing pods located alongside the courses. Olympic tickets were not required, just their Whistler Blackcomb lift ticket.
  • 27 skiers and snowboarders flew through three rings of fire in the Fire & Ice Remix, which took place nightly at the base of Whistler Mountain during the Games.
  • 26 is the number of medals Canadian Olympic athletes took home (14 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze).
  • 1,100 accredited and unaccredited media representing more than 175 outlets, visited Whistler Blackcomb during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
  • 220,000 articles and media stories in which Whistler was mentioned were published in the first 12 weeks of 2010 (source: Tourism Whistler).
  • 3.5 billion worldwide television viewers were estimated to have tuned into Olympic Games broadcasts.
  • 47% increase in global television coverage of the 2010 Winter Games versus the previous Winter Games.

2010 PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

  • 10 days and nights of Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 – 21, 2010.
  • Paralympic athletes were from the Sea to Sky Corridor.
  • 236 centimetres or 93 inches of snow fell on the mountains during the month of March.
  • 62 of 64 Paralympic medals were awarded in Whistler.
  • 19 medals were taken home by Canadian Paralympic athletes (10 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze).
  • 800 members of the media were in Whistler during the Paralympics.
  • 500-plus athletes from 44 countries attended the Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony in Whistler

GLOBAL AWARENESS

Based on a study conducted by Tourism Whistler in partnership with Tourism British Columbia, awareness of Whistler increased significantly in the key overseas markets of United Kingdom, Germany and Australia due to the Games. The study measured awareness of Whistler before and after the 2010 Winter Games (November 2009, January 2010 and March 2010). Increases by market were as follows: 

  • United Kingdom - awareness increased from 32 per cent to 45 percent
  • Germany - awareness increased from 19 per cent to 42 per cent
  • Australia - awareness increased from 48 per cent to 62 per cent

Sea TO SKY OLYMPIANS

Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor (from Lions Bay to Pemberton/Mount Currie) is a year-round outdoor playground Mecca for passionate athletes of all walks of life, so it’s no wonder that Whistler Blackcomb is a hotbed for young athletes who aspire to one day be on top of the podium. And there are a number who’ve done just that.

Athletes who live and train here can take advantage of one of North America’s longest ski and snowboard seasons, world-class facilities and unrivaled training camps.

USA half-pipe gold medalist and all-round snowboard rock star Shaun White, cut his teeth on Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier with the Camp of Champions summer program.

Freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau, who won Canada’s first ever gold medal on home soil, has been involved in the Momentum Ski Camps for many years and returned as a coach after his Olympic win to pay it forward.

A total of 13 Olympic and 5 Paralympic ski and snowboard athletes from the Sea to Sky Corridor competed in the 2010 Winter Games. They are:

OLYMPICS:

Ashleigh McIvor (Gold Medalist in first ever Ski Cross)
Britt Janyk (Alpine Skiing)
Davey Barr – (Freestyle Skiing)
Julia Murray (Ski Cross)
Justin Lamoureux (Snowboard Halfpipe)
Kristi Richards (Freestyle Skiing)
Maelle Ricker (Gold Medalist in Snowboard Cross)
Manuel Osborne Paradis (Alpine Skiing)
Megan Tandy (Biathlete)
Mercedes Nicoll (Snowboard Halfpipe)
Michael Janyk (Alpine Skiing)
Rob Fagan (Snowboard Cross)
Robbie Dixon (Alpine Skiing)

PARALYMPICS:

Tyler Mosher (Adaptive Cross Country Skiing)
Matt Hallatt (Para-Alpine Skiing)
Morgan Perrin (Para-Alpine Skiing)
Sam Carter Danniels (Para-Alpine Skiing)
Lindsay Debou (Para-Alpine Skiing)

Born For The Games

The origins of Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and the town of Whistler can be traced back to a dream of hosting the Winter Olympics. In fact, the Whistler Valley as we know it today would not exist without the vision and dream of one day hosting the Games. Whistler submitted three unsuccessful bids for the Winter Games prior to its fourth and successful bid for the XXI Winter Olympiad in July 2003.

A group of Vancouver businessmen, who attended the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, were inspired to form the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA) in 1960. Their goal was to create an Olympic venue and ski hill to host the Winter Olympic Games. Scouting began for the best ski hill location, and in February 1966 Whistler Mountain opened for business.

In 1961, Whistler bid to host the 1968 Winter Olympics; bid in 1965 to host the 1972 Olympics; and bid again in 1967, to host the 1976 Olympics. 

The closest bid came in 1968, when Vancouver/Garibaldi won the Canadian nomination to bid for the 1976 Winter Games. At this time, Montreal was bidding for the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. The IOC would not award both the summer and winter to the same country and when Montreal won their bid, Whistler knew they had lost theirs. 

Although these previous bids were unsuccessful in actually obtaining the Olympics, they were crucial in initiating and maintaining the development of Whistler Mountain and the surrounding valley. The Whistler valley as we know it today would not exist without the vision and dream of hosting the Winter Olympics. Born for the Games, Whistler, and its co-host city Vancouver, finally realized this dream to host the Winter Games in February/March 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHISTLER’S HISTORY:
Whistler Museum & Archives
tel: (604) 932-2019 fax: (604) 932-2077
e-mail:education@whistlermuseum.org

Ski With An Olympian Program

Whistler Blackcomb continues to celebrate its Olympic legacy from hosting the 2010 Games with its "Ski With An Olympian" Snow School program. The 'Ski With An Olympian" program is Whistler Blackcomb Snow School's most elite product and offers guests the chance to hire an Olympic athlete to be their own personal guide. This exclusive program includes a full-day of skiing or riding guided by an Olympic athlete, with capacity capped at five people per group, and like all other Snow School lessons, the 'Ski With An Olympian" program also gives guests lift line priority.

For information please visit Ski with an Olympian.

Olympic Training Ground

Whistler is a year-round outdoor playground Mecca for passionate athletes of all walks of life, so it’s no wonder that Whistler Blackcomb is a hotbed for young athletes who aspire to one day be on top of the podium. And there are a number who’ve done just that. Athletes who live and train here can take advantage of one of North America’s longest ski and snowboard seasons, world-class facilities and unrivaled training camps.

Dave Murray Downhill, Whistler’s renowned and revered course

The Dave Murray Downhill is named after Dave Murray, one of the original “Crazy Canucks,” and one of the most popular ski personalities Canada has ever produced. After retiring from the Canadian Ski Team in 1982, Dave joined Whistler Mountain as Director of Skiing and created a series of events and programs targeting mature skiers– the legendary Dave Murray Camps continue to be offered at Whistler Blackcomb to this day. Dave passed away in 1989 after a valiant fight against cancer. The Dave Murray Downhill was named in his honour in 1990 and has become known as one of the top downhill courses in the world. 

Ski/Ride Like An Olympian

You don't need to be an Olympian to experience your own Olympic moment. Guests at Whistler Blackcomb can ski/ride the two Alpine Venue race courses (men's and women's), which the athletes raced on in February and March 2010 during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Whistler Creekside was the host Alpine Skiing Venue for men's and women's Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super Combined in 2010. Skiers and snowboarders alike can experience every tight turn, drop, fall-away, and even "Hot Air", just as the Olympians did (recommended skiing ability is intermediate to advanced).

The men's events took place on the renowned Dave Murray Downhill, while women's events took place on Franz's run. The Dave Murray Downhill has hosted numerous World Cups over the past 20 years, with the most notable being the 1989 World Cup during which young Whistlerite Rob Boyd stole the downhill gold on home soil, becoming not only a hometown hero, but a national legend.

Terrain Parks Become Training Grounds For Elite Athletes

Training facilities at Whistler Blackcomb will ensure elite athletes for years to come. The terrain parks at Whistler Blackcomb provide training grounds for six Olympic medalling events; Ski Cross, Snowboard Cross, Ski Halfpipe, Snowboard Halfpipe, Ski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle.

A renewed Snow Cross Track on Blackcomb offers training and organized competitive event opportunities through Whistler Blackcomb's event department. The 22-foot Olympic Size Half Pipe on Blackcomb Mountain is groomed daily and will be ready for the next pipe slayer while a 14-foot half pipe on Blackcomb sets the stage for skiers and riders to progress into the 22-foot feature. Finally, on the right side of the Nintendo Terrain Park, a full slopestyle course with "X-Games sized" features emulate the flow of an actual Olympic Slopestyle course: rail, rail, rail, jump, jump, jump, jump. While the flow order will remain the same, the terrain park rangers will continuously change up the style of features to create dynamic training opportunities.

Snowboard Cross: From Blackcomb Mountain To 2010 Olympic Debut

Snowboard cross (or Boarder-cross or Boarder-X as it was originally called) made its Olympic debut in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Games. Widely believed to be created by Steven Rechtschaffer, the first-ever snowboard cross course was built on Blackcomb Mountain in the early 1990s. It’s only fitting then, that one of Whistler Blackcomb’s own Pro Team Athletes, Maelle Ricker, soared to gold medal victory in the first ever Olympic Snowboard Cross event in Vancouver.

The Snow Cross track on Blackcomb Mountain provides a daily training ground for aspiring athletes of both the ski and snowboard variety. Big banks, rollers and step-ups challenge park skiers and riders daily and are tweaked for event days. Set a personal time to beat or race your buddies, the Snow Cross is a great place to improve high speed, free riding skills.

The Snow Cross track is located beside the Nintendo Terrain Park and ends by the side of the Super Pipe with most of the course visible from the Solar Coaster Chair (look right).

Gold Medal Coaching

Momentum Ski Camps is one of ten ski/snowboard camps currently operating on Horstman Glacier. This camp celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2011 and now the progression has come full circle with former campers who have conquered on the world's stage returning to coach the next generation of skiers.

Momentum Ski Camps is one of the many ski/snowboard camps currently operating on Horstman Glacier in the summer months. This camp celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2011 and now the progression has come full circle with former campers who have conquered on the world's stage returning to coach the next generation of skiers.

Former campers now coaching freestyle skiing at Momentum include Olympic Gold medalist Alex Bilodeau, two-time World Championship medalist Mikael Kingsbury and Olympians Audre Robishaw and Dara Howell.

Coaching Olympians. And Olympic Dreamers.

Whistler Mountain Ski Club has been in existence for over three decades and has produced seven Olympians. The Club is dedicated to the development of young ski racers from age 11 and up in all Alpine disciplines. A typical season will see more than 170 young racers actively participating in the programs.

Whistler Valley Snowboard Club is a local organization designed to provide local area kids with snowboard instruction with an eye to competition. Now 80 members strong, the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club offers a freestyle snowboard program for ages nine and up.

More Information »

Growing The Sport

Few sensations match the joy of downhill skiing or snowboarding– soaring down a snow-covered mountain with the wind in your face and enveloped by a feeling of freedom and exhilaration. You control your speed, your destiny, and you reach the bottom of the hill energized, invigorated and with a smile so big your face hurts. So why don’t more people ski/ride? Why do skier visits remain flat from year to year at resorts across North America?

One of the challenges the ski industry faces to encourage new people to get into the sport involves addressing the intimidation factors that prevent potential newcomers from strapping on a pair of skis or a board and heading up the hill. And in the years to come, the gap is only going to increase as Baby Boomers begin to vacate the mountains, further increasing the need to educate a new generation of snow conquerors on the joys that a mountain, snow, and a pair of skis can provide. To fill the void that baby boomers will inevitably leave, as well as continue to grow the sport for all ages, the ski industry is constantly working to entice people to the sport and removing the hurdles that prevent people from giving it a shot. 

  • National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Week takes place every January across Canada;
  • Vacation packages aimed at “never-evers” that include rental equipment and a Beginner lesson along with their “lift + lodging”, are available;
  • Whistler Blackcomb’s web site offers a section dedicated to those new to the sport, including info on rentals, lessons, and advice on whether to choose skiing or snowboarding, plus tips on what to wear and even how to talk the lingo: New to the Sport »

Winter Olympics Can Fuel The Growth Of Downhill Sliding

Every four years, it’s estimated that upwards of 22.5 million Americans think about learning to ski or snowboard, just by watching the Winter Olympics on TV. In a Ski Area Management article entitled “The Olympic Bump”, author and president of Leisure Trends, Jim Spring, identifies the actual obstacles to getting more people to ski and snowboard as lack of awareness, lack of basic information and social factors. Spring suggests that to take advantage of this Olympic bump in interest, ski resorts should act by addressing concerns such as, “What do I have to do to try the sport?” Surprisingly, only 11 per cent of potential newcomers to the sport were aware there might be a ski club near their home, and only 39 per cent were aware that there are specialty stores that sell the necessary gear and clothing needed to ski/ride.

The lack of awareness within this group includes needing answers to such questions as, “What kind of equipment and clothing do I need, and how do I learn about it all?” “How do I get to a ski area?” “Will the ski area have the right terrain for me?” and “How much does it all cost?”

The social component, says Spring, includes the need to invite people to try skiing or snowboarding. Those interested in learning said they have never been invited to go, but if they were, they would give it a shot. Put the invitation to ski or snowboard in the form of a vacation, and 70 per cent of the potentials, almost six million, said they would seriously consider accepting it.

Whistler Blackcomb continues to address and work towards removing such obstacles by participating in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Week, which takes place across Canadian resorts each January; and offering vacation packages aimed at newcomers that include rental equipment and a beginner lesson, along with a lift ticket and accommodations.

By understanding all of the sport’s hurdles, Whistler Blackcomb can help newcomers leap over them, while making an equally important contribution to the industry: continued growth.

Spirit Of Competition Lives On

Whistler Blackcomb was founded on the dream of hosting the Olympics, and that same spirit of friendly athletic competition has carried the ski area through to the 2010 Winter Games and beyond. Just because the Games are over, doesn’t mean the action stops. Whistler Blackcomb continues its long tradition of hosting epic ski and snowboard competitions – targeting everyone from local amateurs to international superstars – to continue to help foster the spirit of the Games long after they’ve left town.

PEAK TO VALLEY RACE

The Peak to Valley Race began in 1984 and is the longest running team race in the Whistler area. An average of 320 racers compete on 80 teams consisting of four racers each. Teams are categorized according to their cumulative age. The race takes place over two days; two team members race on the first day and two on the second.
The course consists of 180 gates, begins at the top of Whistler Mountain on The Saddle and ends at Creekside Base.

KOKANEE VALLEY RACE SERIES

The Kokanee Valley Race Series is held each week throughout the peak winter season. The series is open to skiers, telemarkers and snowboarders, and offers race divisions based on gender and age. No racing experience is required to join in on the fun of this recreational racing series.

SKI AND SNOWBOARD CROSS

Snowcross events in both the skiing and snowboarding disciplines were in the spotlight during the 2010 Winter Games. Whistler Blackcomb has been fostering the sport for many years in its Nintendo Terrain Park through these two-day Snowcross competitions, which run at select periods throughout the winter. Events are recreational competitions open to amateurs of all ages.

KING OF THE RAIL

The King of the Rail is a series of rail jam contests that run on selected nights at the Base of Blackcomb next to the Magic Chair. A variety of categories are offered: snowboarders and skiers, male and female, adult and youth. Category winners receive a percentage of the cash entry fees as a prize and all participants are entered in to win draw prizes from Whistler Blackcomb sponsors.

TELUS PARK RIDER SESSIONS

Park Rider Sessions, presented by Milk 2 Go, feature Slopestyle, Rail Jams and Halfpipe events, and take place on both mountains utilizing the best terrain available. Competitions are open to skiers and snowboarders, and all ages welcome.

SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN

This legendary snowboard event, sponsored by Whistler Blackcomb’s Showcase Snowboard Surf and Skate shop, got its start in 1997. Taking place in the early spring of each year, it has been through several incarnations over the years, and has focused on a variety of disciplines including halfpipe and slopestyle. Showcase, which celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2010, was Canada’s first and largest Burton supplier.

WORLD SKI AND SNOWBOARD FESTIVAL

Each April, Whistler hosts the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF), one of the largest snow sports, music and entertainment festivals in the world. For 10 days, pro skiers and snowboarders impress with their biggest bags of tricks at world renowned competitions, free concerts rock the village, film and fine art events dazzle crowds, and parties pump up the beats. With annual attendance of over 250,000 visitors, WSSF is the perfect time to discover the latest trends in snow sports, lifestyle and music. 

wssf.com »

CRANKWORX MOUNTAIN BIKE FESTIVAL

Every summer, the biggest names in mountain biking descend upon Whistler to hit the Whistler Mountain Bike Park during one of the world's premier mountain bike festivals, Crankworx. Athletes from across the globe flock to the festival to try their hand at some of the most innovative and challenging courses in the industry, while fans rush to watch the dirt, mud and athletes fly.

The ten-day festival features ground breaking events such as its marquee event, Red Bull Joyride, now a top level “diamond” rated event in the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour. Always pushing the boundaries, Crankworx forever evolves with events such as the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge and Deep Summer Photo Challenge. The long daylight hours and hot summer weather mean more time to take in the live music, riding demonstrations and smokin' competition not to mention more than a few epic parties. 

crankworx.com »