Whistler Mountain served as the venue for the men's and women's alpine skiing events during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Would you believe the ski resort itself was created for the Olympic Games? Franz Wilhelmson, the man who opened Whistler for skiing in the 1960s, did so in the hopes of hosting the Olympic Games. More than 50 years later, that dream became a reality.
The Men's events were hosted entirely on the Dave Murray Downhill, widely considered one of the top three courses in the world. The Women's and Paralympic Alpine course began on Wild Card, swing over to Lower Jimmie's Joker, and made its way down a portion to Franz's to finally join up with the Men's course on the Lower Dave Murray Downhill.
International competition is nothing new to Whistler. In fact, some of the best alpine skiers in history have risen from the slopes of Whistler Mountain. Crazy Canucks Dave Murray and Steve Podborski got their start in Whistler before bursting onto the European ski circuit in the 1970s with daring wins that won them their reputation as the "Crazy Canucks." From 1980 to 1982, Podborski reached the podium 19 times in 20 straight races.
In the past, Whistler was a staple on the World Cup circuit. But it wasn't until the late-80s that balls-to-the-wall Whistler local and downhiller Rob Boyd stepped into the history books. Boyd, a.k.a. "Kid Canada" spent 12 years on the national team, posting 29 Top 10 finishes, including two more World Cup downhill wins.
The most memorable win was in Whistler in 1989, where Boyd made history as the first Canadian male to win a downhill in Canada. It remains as one of the most exciting and electric two minutes Whistler has ever seen.
After a 10 year absence, World Cup competition returned to Whistler in 2008. They were the first successful World Cup races at the resort since 1995. Prior to that, the ski federation abandoned Whistler as a World Cup stop in 1998 after three consecutive years of races being cancelled due to adverse snow and weather conditions. But in 2008, the weather was great and international competition returned.
From ski hill to Olympic and Paralympic venue
To get ready for the 2010 Winter Games, work included adding extra width to the existing men's course to meet modern specifications, the creation of a new ladies course on Franz's Run, doubling the snowmaking capacity, and doubling the width of the finish corral to meet Olympic needs. Venue improvements started in summer 2006 and were completed in the fall of 2007 - giving athletes plenty of time to train on the Olympic course.
During Games time, the entire Creekside base was transformed to accommodate facilities such as wax cabins; athletes lounge and security check posts. VANOC also installed a temporary chairlift at Creekside to carry spectators, athletes and officials from the base area to the Timing Flats.
Upon completion of the Games, the site was be decommissioned as an Olympic and Paralympic venue. The temporary structures have been removed, but all other improvements and infrastructure remains in place as a Games legacy. Changes to the trails are considered positive and advantageous for ongoing operations of Whistler Blackcomb, providing enhanced training, racing, and recreational ski opportunities.