Olympic legacy: First-hand look at Whistler today
Loren Christie, Canada AM travel expert
Published Friday, January 31, 2014 7:33AM EST
Whistler, proud co-host of the 2010 Games, is keeping its Olympic Legacy alive and well by allowing tourists to follow in the athletes tracks.
I recently took the head first plunge down the skeleton course at the Whistler Sliding Centre, the fastest and steepest track in the world. In my final turn my speed clocked in at 95.6 kilometres an hour! It took me 31 seconds to complete. As terrified as I was my competitive nature couldn’t resist comparing my time and speed to my fellow sliders. We each had two runs to best each other. If you are more comfortable with strength in numbers, you can also try out bobsleigh in groups of four. Both experiences will cost you $169 plus tax.
The mountains of Whistler Blackcomb offer more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, but skiers and boarders shouldn’t miss the official Alpine Venue. The Dave Murray Downhill and Franz’s runs on Whistler Mountain were part of both the men and women’s alpine events during the 2010 Winter Games. Anyone with a lift ticket can follow in the athletes’ tracks; their speeds may be harder to replicate. There are numerous packages available which will save you some money, but count on roughly $100 a day for lift tickets.
Those interested in Nordic skiing are welcome to check out Whistler Olympic Park. The 56 kilometres of public ski trails are groomed for both skate and classical skiers, and range from beginner to bonafide Olympic levels. Entry to the park is $10. With the guidance of an instructor, you can also try your hand at biathlon using a 22 calibre rifle. After doing a skate ski loop, you are given 5 rounds to fire at a target. Be warned that after some cardio excursion and fresh mountain air, the steady hand and even breathing required to be a straight shooter does not come easy.
Hotels in Whistler are getting into the spirit with Olympic themed packages. Check out the www.fourseasons.com/whistler and its Olympic Legacy Package from $1,359 per night. It includes daily breakfast for two adults bobsleigh or skeleton ski for two adults, Nordic ski equipment rental (skis, boots and poles) for two adults, a two-hour Nordic ski lesson for two adults, Nordic skiing for two adults, transportation to and from the Whistler Sliding Centre and Olympic Park for two adults and luxurious accommodations.