Written by Mark Enright
It has been 5 years since the world’s biggest winter party came to Vancouver and Whistler, the 2010 Winter Olympics. Last week the co-op students got a firsthand look at some of those Olympic venues and the legacy of the Winter Games, with a 3 night field trip to Whistler Resort. Taking the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway, one of the many improvements which came with the games, the students arrived in Whistler to blue skies and sunshine. After lunch their instructor took them on a walking tour of the village providing some information and history of the region, this was part of their tour guiding course, showcasing tour guiding best practice. After checking into the Glaciers Reach Apartments, (where some of the Canadian and German athletes stayed for training for the games) it was time for some free time to shop, explore and enjoy the mountain scenery.
The following day began with a walk through Whistler Village to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre on the slopes of Blackcomb mountain. Here, the students discovered about the First Nations history of the area and their rich culture and heritage. Interestingly, Whistler sits on shared territory of both Squamish and Lil’wat nations, so it was interesting to see how the two nations peacefully share the territory and also see the differences in clothing, housing and craft between the two cultures. After lunch was a visit to the Whistler Conference Centre for an informative guided tour of this important piece of tourism infrastructure and the may events it brings to Whistler, this was followed by a tour of Tourism Whistler’s Visitor Information Centre and a talk by Jody Warren, the Visitor Services Manager. This gave the students a great insight into the development of Whistler from a lake fishing lodge into a world leading, year round, mountain resort.
The next day was a free day to sample one of the many winter activities Whistler has to offer, from skiing and snowboarding to zip lining and tubing. Then it was back to Vancouver the following morning after a very enjoyable and informative few days discovering this winter playground.