Whistler Mountain is the right-most (southern) mountain when looking at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski area from Whistler Village. It has a summit elevation of 2184 meters. The total vertical drop is 1530 meters and 4,757 acres skiable inbound terrain. Whistler is served by a total of 20 lifts; 2 gondolas, 7 high-speed detachable quad chair lifts, 2 fixed grip chair lifts, 2 T-bars and the drive station for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola connecting it with Blackcomb mountain to the north. There are 4 on-hill restaurants, as well as a children's ski school facility and children can sign up for a five day lesson called "Adventure Camp". It is served by two base areas: Whistler Creek, the original base on its southwest flank, and Whistler Village on its northwest flank.
Blackcomb Mountain is the left-most (northern) mountain when looking at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski area from Whistler Village. It has a lift-serviced elevation of 2240 metres at the top of the 7th Heaven chair – Blackcomb Mountain itself is higher at 2440 meters, but unlike Whistler the peak is not lift-served. Blackcomb has a higher skiable vertical, at 1565 meters, and less in-bound skiing area at 3,414 acres. It is served by 17 lifts; 1 gondola, 6 high-speed quads, 3 fixed-grip triples and 7 surface lifts, as well as the end-station for the Peak 2 Peak. Blackcomb is the location of the world famous "Couloir Extreme" run, which is one of the top ten steep in-bounds runs in the world according to Skiing Magazine. Originally called the Saudan Couloir by local skiers even before it was part of the ski area, the company eventually had to drop the name when extreme skier Sylvain Saudan complained about the unauthorised use of his name.
The two previously separate ski areas of Whistler and Blackcomb were integrated into one operation in 1997 after Intrawest merged with Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation. Ticketing, pass, and access control systems for the two ski areas were fully integrated in 2003. Together, Whistler and Blackcomb form the largest ski area in North America at 8,171 acres, 54% larger than that of Vail, the next largest, which has 5,289 acres. Either mountain alone would be in the top-five in terms of size.
The mountains are accessed primarily via three gondolas, Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola and Whistler Mountain Village Gondola in the Village, and the Whistler Creekside Gondola to the south in the Creekside area. Alternates include several high-speed quads. The primary skiing terrain starts about one-third up the mountains. Ski-outs to the valley are usually possible during the months of December through April. The mid- and upper- areas are serviced by 10 high-speed detachable chairs and 5 fixed-grip lifts made by Lift Engineering, Doppelmayr and Poma. Four T-bars service the Horstman Glacier and the Whistler alpine regions and take skiers to the entrance to Blackcomb Glacier. The overall lift capacity, 65,507 skiers per hour, is the greatest in North America.
Travelling from one mountain to the other, while staying in the ski area, was only possible at the valley elevation before 2008. It was only when Whistler Blackcomb connected the two mountains at approximately 1,800 m (6,000 ft) with the Peak 2 Peak Gondola that visitors could then travel between mountains without skiing down and taking the regular lifts up. This lift opened on December 12, 2008. The lift has a total length of 4.4 km and the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind in the world at 3.02 km while also having the highest ground clearance for a lift of its kind, 436 m above the valley floor.
Whistler Village, which is part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, a geo-political entity not directly associated with the resort company's operation, is situated at the base of the Whistler Mountain Village Gondola and Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola. The Village incorporates community services, shops, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, hotels, condominiums and vacation properties. The Village is 675 m above sea level, and is located 137 km from Vancouver International Airport.
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The capital of Canada is Ottawa, in the province of Ontario. There are offically ten provinces and three territories in Canada, which is the second largest country in the world in terms of land area.
While politically and legally an independant nation, the titular head of state for Canada is still Queen Elizabeth.
On the east end of Canada, you have Montreal as the bastion of activity. Montreal is famous for two things, VICE magazine and the Montreal Jazz Festival. One is the bible of hipster life (disposable, of course) and the other is a world-famous event that draws more than two million people every summer. Quebec is a French speaking province that has almost seceded from Canada on several occasions, by the way..
When you think of Canada, you think of . . . snow, right?
But not on the West Coast. In Vancouver, it rains. And you'll find more of the population speaking Mandarin than French (but also Punjabi, Tagalog, Korean, Farsi, German, and much more).
Like the other big cities in Canada, Vancouver is vividly multicultural and Vancouverites are very, very serious about their coffee.
Your standard Vancouverite can be found attired head-to-toe in Lululemon gear, mainlining Cafe Artigiano Americanos (spot the irony for ten points).
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"It's actually worth coming to Canada for these sandwiches alone." -- Michelle Superle, Vancouver
Text by Steve Smith.