Vancouver and BC 2001 - Whistler

before the conference
the conference
Grouse Mountain
Victoria Island
on the way to Whistler
the way back

An artificially created town, Whistler was invented to try and seal a bid to host the Winter Olympics back in the seventies. The bid failed but Whistler flourished. The fortune paid out by a coterie of Vancouver businessman has resulted in a pretty, atmospheric, chic village at the foot of Whistler mountain. This and its companion mountain, Blackcomb, are the real reasons Whistler village exists. A twenty minute $22 gondola ride hauls you high above the valley floor and delivers you into the alpine world.
If you have been following this narrative you'll know that on back on Grouse Mountain we scrabbled to find every inch of snow we could. Here up on Whistler peak there was so much snow that all the walking trails were officially closed! Still, many (us included) start trekking up a snow-covered path to Whistler peak. Walking and slipping on a snowy trail, the track becomes a muddy trickle of melted snow. Not very attractive but easier to walk on than snow. As we climb the awe and majesty of the mountains envelops us. Wet feet, tired legs, beating heart - none of this matters as your eyes are seduced by a beauty that empties your mind.
You start to understand the addiction that people have for such places. ("Rocky Mountain High"). Not only is there space laterally, there is space vertically. At this altitude daily life is a long way off, and it's actually hard to come back down. Those who don't have this kind of terrain in their backyard linger, taking in just one more sight, one more aspect, one more peak, one more glimpse of the valley below. It is beguiling and you make the decision there and then to remember this.
And this pretty much summarises how I felt up there!
And after a hard day in the snow it was back for a few drinks and songs in the comfort of our apartment (which this time had nothing to do with Howard Johnson's!)