Vancouver 2010 Olympic spirit lives on in Whistler
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games not only left a lasting positive impact on the host city itself, their reach also spread to the mountain resort of Whistler, which hosted a wide range of events during the Games.
Among the legacies enjoyed by Whistler are the vastly improved highway, two brand new competition venues, the new Whistler Olympic Plaza and the Athletes’ Village housing complex, not to mention the lifelong memories gained from welcoming the world at the Games.
The upgrades that were made to the Sea to Sky Highway, which stretches from Vancouver to Whistler, in preparation for the Games have proven to be among the most significant legacies from Vancouver 2010.
While the breath-taking scenery remains the same, the route is now straighter with more passing lanes, providing faster, wider, safer and more convenient access to Whistler.
The resort is also still enjoying the benefits of two new sporting facilities, with the Whistler Sliding Centre and the Whistler Olympic Park both constructed ahead of the Games.
Located on the southeast slope of Blackcomb Mountain, close to Whistler Village, the Sliding Centre was the site of the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events during the Games and is now used for elite international competitions, community recreation and tours, with members of the public able to experience the thrill of racing down the track for themselves.
Whistler Olympic Park, meanwhile, was home to the cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping and Nordic combined events during Vancouver 2010 and now provides more than 90 kilometres of ski trails for members of the public to enjoy, as well as dog friendly trails, night skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing facilities. Visitors can even receive biathlon coaching before testing their aim at the Olympic range.
Ahead of the 2010 Games, the runs on the Dave Murray Downhill – which hosted downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super combined and super-G races – were also improved, while the construction of the Athletes' Village created a new neighbourhood, which is now home to Whistler residents as an affordable housing complex.
Thanks to the global exposure of the Games, Vancouver 2010 also led to a healthy boost for Whistler’s tourism industry, with awareness of the resort increasing significantly in the key overseas markets of Great Britain, Germany and Australia following the Games, according to a study conducted by Tourism Whistler in partnership with Tourism British Columbia.
The study saw awareness in the UK increase from 32% before the Games to 45% afterwards, while awareness grew from 19% to 42% in Germany and from 48% to 62% in Australia.
Since the end of Vancouver 2010, Whistler Olympic Plaza – which hosted medal ceremonies and concerts during the Games – has also provided an outdoor gathering place for residents and visitors, featuring free outdoor public ice skating, a performance pavilion, outdoor performance spaces, an accessible playground and public art celebrating the Games.
As Sochi 2014 begins, this key legacy will burst to life once again, as visitors and residents flock to the Plaza to enjoy live coverage of events from Sochi, as well as a range of Olympic-themed activities and celebrations.
Throughout Sochi 2014, the Whistler Museum is also staging a "Hosting the World" exhibit, which tells the story of the 2010 Winter Games, while Olympic medals will also be on display at Whistler Municipal Hall, further highlighting how the Olympic spirit is still well and truly alive in Whistler.