Our History

and Hosted the winter Olympic and Paralympic games in 2010

Built on an Olympic Dream

When a group of Vancouver business men, lead by Franz Wilhelmsen, headed North over 50 years ago to find a mountain suitable for hosting the Winter Olympics, the group stumbled upon London Mountain after spending 4 hours of logging roads to reach it. But the idea of hosting the Olympic Games in less than a decade was met with a lot of skepticism and very few believed it could be done. In the end those people were right and the bid for the 68' Games failed. But that didn't get the group down and Franz and his team kept going to open, what it is now called Whistler Mountain, in 1966 for skiing.

Over 50 years later since the first lifts in Creekside carried skiers up Whistler Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb and the highly influential group of icons and legends who've left their mark here, have constantly been pushing limits of what can be done on snow and in the resort business making it the #1 resort in North America today. From the development of Blackcomb Mountains, Whistler Mountains next door neighbour, to both mountains joining as one resort, to the development of the Guinness World Record Breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, to finally having the first dream come true of hosting the Games in 2010, Whistler Blackcomb is a resort that is untouchable and is the favourite place to ski and ride for millions globally.

But there is so much to the story. To learn more, you'll need to watch it for yourself.

History Whistler, Canada Play Video

50 Years of Going Beyond - The Movie

50 YEARS OF GOING BEYOND - THE MOVIE

For the last five decades, Whistler Blackcomb has left its mark on those who are drawn to the mountains. What started as a single Olympic dream in 1966 has evolved into the largest ski resort in North America, with a slew of accomplishments to back it up. From the resort's adventure-seeking founders to its freestyle heydays - and breaking Guinness World Records along the way - snowsport industry legends recount the contributions that Whistler Blackcomb has made to skiing and snowboarding and the significance of its golden anniversary. But while 50 Years of Going Beyond solidifies the resort's legacy in the past, there is no denying that the last 50 years is just the beginning.

2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games

During the winter of 2009/2010, Whistler Blackcomb realized a five-decade-long dream of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Olympics.

The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was Whistler Blackcomb's chance to make Canada proud. Though years of hard work went into the planning of a well-executed Games, there could be no accounting for the incredible energy, enthusiasm, and pride that spontaneously erupted from everyone who experienced them.

Whistler Blackcomb played host to the world's best athletes and a global contingent of volunteers, and this diversity provided the memories that we will carry with us forever as souvenirs.

Previous tab Previous tab
Whistler, Canada

VENUE

Whistler's unique environment and status as Canada's most celebrated mountain resort made for an ideal backdrop to the Winter Games' alpine events. The famed Dave Murray Downhill hosted the men's ski events on the same challenging and steep course that local legend Rob Boyd won World Cup Downhill gold on in 1988. Wild Card and Lower Franz's provided the venue for the women's events, and proved to be a test of the athletes' abilities with its variable and challenging terrain.

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 run was named in his honour in 1990.

The steepest section on the men’s course is 58 percent on the Fallaway pitch. The approximate range of pitch on the Dave Murray Downhill is from 29 percent to 58 percent. This original trail was basically a narrow creek bed for the first 13 years. The run was first blasted and made wider in 1978, again in 1983 and again in 1995 (all for ski racing). In the late 90’s the marketing people changed the names on the official Downhill course map but the old names stuck and the new ones disappeared.

Whistler, Canada

SEA TO SKY ATHLETES

Whistler is an outdoor playground, 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 can take advantage of one of North American’s longest ski and snowboard seasons, world-class facilities, and unrivaled training camps.

USA halfpipe gold medalist and all-round snowboarding 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 has recently returned as a coach to pay it forward.

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

OLYMPICS:

Ashleigh McIvor (Gold Medalist In First Ever Ski Cross Athlete)

As an athlete with an inspiring confidence and a drive to accomplish whatever goal she sets for herself, Ashleigh McIvor was favoured going into the 2010 Games. The Whistler born-and-raised racer didn't disappoint, as she took home the first ever women's Skiercross gold medal and inspired a nation of young people and brought world-wide attention to the relatively new sport.

Britt Janyk (Alpine Skier) Michael Janyk (Alpine Skier)

Britt and Michael Janyk, both title holders of the Canadian Skiing Championships, competed on the same team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and, having skied at Whistler Blackcomb since childhood, felt right at home. The siblings have been living and training in Whistler since their teens, and are local heroes to Whistler residents. Britt and Michael led the parade through Whistler during Vancouver's opening ceremonies, reminding Whistlerites that as international as the Games are, inspiration starts at home.

Davey Barr – (Freestyle Skier)

Julia Murray (Ski Cross Athlete)

Justin Lamoureaux (Snowboard Halfpipe Athlete)

Kristi Richards (Freestyle Skier)

Maelle Ricker (Gold Medalist In Snowboard Cross Athlete)

Squamish snowboarder Maelle Ricker dreamt of winning an Olympic gold medal long before her sport was named an Olympic event. The Vancouver-born athlete placed fourth in the 2006 Turin Games after a crash left her hospitalized with a minor concussion. Ricker's win in Snowboard Cross in 2010 made her the first Canadian female athlete to win a gold medal on home soil, citing her near miss in Turin as the main source of her motivation.

Manuel Osborne Paradis (Alpine Skiing) Robbie Dixon (Alpine Skier)

Two of Canada's strongest and most dedicated ski racers made their country proud by putting it all on the line during the 2010 Games. Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon, both racers who grew up skiing with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, took their experience as Top 10 World Cup competitors to the Dave Murray Downhill course and, while they came away empty handed, remain resolutely focused on the 2014 Games.

Megan Tandy (Biathalete)

Mercedes Nicoll (Snowboard Halfpipe Athlete)

Rob Fagan (Snowboard Athlete)

PARALYMPICS:

Tyler Mosher (Adaptive Cross Country Skier)

Matt Hallatt (Para-Alpine Skier)

Born in Vancouver and currently residing in Squamish, Matthew Hallat is the Sea-to-Sky Corridor's only downhill Paralympian. His leg was amputated as a result of cancer when he was five years old and he began ski racing seven years later. He competed in the 2006 Paralympics Winter Games and has since become a five-time Canadian National Slalom Champion and Top 10 competitor on the World Cup circuit. Hallat placed 11th in the Men's Standing Downhill and 17th in the Men's Standing Slalom at the 2010 Paralympic Games.

Morgan Perrin (Para-Alpine Skier)

Sam Carter Danniels (Para-Alpine Skier)

Viviane Forest & Lindsay Debou (Para-Alpine Skier)

The visually impaired Vivian Forest is a legally blind Paralympian champion with only 4% vision. Forest's guide, Lindsay Debou, was born in North Vancouver and raised in the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. Together, they are Canada's strongest ski racing duo. Forest and Debou navigate gates at speeds of up to 120 km/h via two-way radio communication. At the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Forest and Debou stood on the podium at every event they entered, winning a total of one gold, three silver, and one bronze medal.

Whistler, Canada

A DESTINY REALIZED

The ski area was, in fact, born for the Games. Inspired by a trip to the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, Franz Wilhelmsen formed Garibaldi Lift Limited, which lead to the launch of Whistler Mountain in 1966. The rest, they say, is history.

In the early 1960's Garibaldi Olympic Development Association searched the Coast Mountain Range for the ideal spot to host the Olympic Games. London Mountain was eventually chosen and renamed Whistler Mountain.

Three unsuccessful bids were made in an attempt to secure the games between 1962 and 1973. In 1974 the B.C. government backed the town initiative and helped Whistler develop the proper infrastructure to make the dream a reality.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains merged in 1997, and on July 2, 2003 the International Olympic Committee announced that Whistler/Vancouver and would host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

THE PARALYMPICS STORY

As the follow up to the Olympic Games, Canada's first ever Paralympic Winter Games became not just about athletic achievement, but about perseverance and overcoming great odds in the pursuit of personal goals.

Gifted athletes from all disciplines inspired the world with their determination, commitment, and courageous performances.

The Paralympic Alpine events hosted on Whistler Mountain served to redefine the perceptions of "disabilities" for all of those who watched and marveled at the grit, determination, and skill demonstrated by the athletes during the eight day celebration.

VIBE IN THE VILLAGE

While the Games were undoubtedly about sport, there was no need to attend an event to feel the Olympic energy. Giant television screens in Whistler Village broadcast live events, highlights, and special features, pub and restaurant patios were packed with Games enthusiasts, Whistler's walkways were alive with revelers boasting flags, national colours, costumes, and cowbells. The result was an unmistakable spirit of unity and celebration that only the Olympic Games can create.

THE RED MITTENS STORY

The bright red, maple leaf-emblazoned mittens created specifically for the Games became one of its most enduring icons. While they were intended to represent the patriotic, playful and resilient nature of Canadians, they ended up as the "must have" fun and functional memento of the 2010 Games.

Whistler, Canada

OLYMPIC AFTERGLOW

With the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games a resounding success, Whistler Blackcomb invites the world to experience the legacies and magic of the Games.

  • The Official Alpine Skiing Venue, which includes the Dave Murray Downhill and the Women's Course on Whistler Mountain which the Olympians and Paralympians competed on, are open to the public for skiing and snowboarding.
  • Snowmaking capabilities at Whistler Blackcomb have more than doubled due to a four-year partnership and a $17.5 million investment by VANOC. Guests will enjoy improved early-season snow coverage as well as longer lasting ski outs as the season winds down.
  • The Sea to Sky Highway, greatly improved during the lead up to the Games, is now a faster, safer, and more scenic route from Vancouver to Whistler.

OLYMPIC LEGACY DISPLAY

A new addition this season is the Roundhouse Lodge Olympic Legacy Display, showcasing the achievements of local athletes and Games-time highlights. The display includes athlete stories, photos, Didier Defago's gold-medal-winning Rossignol skis, and a wood carved replica of the medals podium for your own Olympic photo opportunities.