Skating at Olympic Plaza: a community vision turned reality

Official Opening Tuesday, December 20 at noon

Imagine skating outdoors with your family and friends this holiday season. Surrounded by the breathtaking scenery, the twinkle of festive lights and the Olympic rings, visitors and residents alike will have the chance to experience one of Canada’s favourite recreational past times in the heart of Whistler Village.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is in the process of transforming part of Whistler Olympic Plaza’s Great Lawn and Pavilion into skating rinks for the winter season and Skating at Olympic Plaza will kick off with an opening  at noon on Tuesday, December 20. Come out and join Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden to help mark the occasion.

“We are very pleased to continue to build on the Whistler visitor experience, toward the goal to support the resort economy,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.  “I look forward to seeing the vision come to life with visitors and community members enjoying the plaza this winter.”

From the early ’80s, Whistler visionaries designated this land as community space. Today, Whistler Olympic Plaza is consistent with the community's vision toward sustainability by supporting arts and culture, offering a gathering place where locals can meet visitors, building family amenities, expanding diversified tourism facilities, and more.

Based on visitor feedback received by Tourism Whistler, guests continue to express an interest in skating in the village and value-added propositions to round out their outdoor experience, especially in the late afternoon and evening once the mountains close. This is also an opportunity to build on the successful of summer events season at the Plaza by offering new activities for the winter season.

“Tourism Whistler is thrilled to see skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza come through for the 2011/12 winter season,” says Barrett Fisher, President and CEO of Tourism Whistler.  “The outdoor rinks are a fantastic addition to the visitor experience in Whistler Village.  Further, as a member of the Lot 1-9 Task Force, it is exciting to see how resort partners and community members came together to shape this vibrant space in our community.”

With room for up to 80 skaters at a time, skating at Olympic Plaza will be as intimate as it is spectacular. To keep the ice surface safe and family-friendly, hockey and figure skating are not permitted and helmets are encouraged.

Hours of operation:

  • Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Rentals available daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Holiday hours:

  • December 25: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • December 31: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • December 31: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. – open exclusively for Whistler Presents New Year's Eve Celebration ticket holders

There is no charge to skate at Olympic Plaza.  For those who do not have their own ice skates, rentals are available for $5.

The RMOW issued a request for proposals last month for a temporary recreational ice amenity to run for three months at the Plaza and having confirmed a successful bidder, will test the feasibility and operational costs of a seasonal ice surface.

A presentation to council provided the rationale, cost and operational considerations pertaining to the installation of the facility.

Whistler Olympic Plaza is the site where the world’s top athletes stepped up to the podium at Victory Ceremonies during the 2010 Winter Games and where the Paralympic Closing Ceremony concluded Whistler’s role as Host Mountain Resort.

The ice surface at Whistler Olympic Plaza has been funded by the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI). RMI funds are an important supplement to the RMOW’s budget allowing incremental investment into ongoing and new projects to support tourism. The RMOW has been given the responsibility of investing in programs and projects that enhance resort programming and resort infrastructure leading to increased visitation, an enhanced visitor experience and a higher average annual occupancy level.

Visit whistler.ca/olympic-plaza for more details and upcoming event information.  Please be advised that warm weather leads to warm ice!  Skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza may need to close unexpectedly due to weather conditions.  For information on Whistler’s indoor hockey and skating arena, visit whistler.ca/meadowpark.

Visit whistler.ca/olympic-plaza for more details and upcoming event information.  Please be advised that warm weather leads to warm ice!  Skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza may need to close unexpectedly due to weather conditions.  For information on Whistler’s indoor hockey & skating arena, visit whistler.ca/meadowpark.

Background

Whistler Olympic Plaza is the site where the best athletes in the world stepped up to the podium at Victory Ceremonies during the 2010 Winter Games and where the Paralympic Closing Ceremony concluded Whistler’s role as Host Mountain Resort.

The ice surface at Whistler Olympic Plaza has been funded by the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI). RMI funds are an important supplement to the RMOW’s budget allowing incremental investment into ongoing and new projects to support tourism. The RMOW has been given the responsibility of investing in programs and projects that enhance resort programming and resort infrastructure leading to increased visitation, an enhanced visitor experience and a higher average annual occupancy level.

For more information

About the Resort Municipality of Whistler
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is Whistler’s local government led by an elected council and administered by an executive team and staff on behalf of 10,000 residents and two million annual visitors. The RMOW manages municipal planning and development, park and Village operations, sports facilities and recreation, public utilities and environmental services, bylaws and enforcement, fire rescue, fiscal planning and financial services, legislative services, human resources, communications and the administration of the Whistler2020 Comprehensive Sustainability Plan and Whistler’s Official Community Plan. The RMOW collaborates with in-resort and external partners to create visitor experiences and enrich community life.

Whistler’s vision is to be the premier mountain resort community as it moves toward sustainability. Whistler was the proud Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

 Photo credit: Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane