Originally named Alta Lake BC the town of Whistler was part of a traveling route known as the Pemberton Trail. The area was first surveyed in 1858 by the Hudson's Bay Company as an alternate route to the Caribou area of British Columbia. The lake itself was known then as "Summit Lake" because its rivers flowed out both north and south. This contributed to a chain of lakes. (Alpha, Nita, Alta, and Green)
In 1860 Naval Officers and Surveyors named a nearby mountain "London Mountain" but it quickly became known as "Whistler" for the whistling sounds made by the Western Hoary Marmots who lived among the rocks. However it wouldn't be until August 27th 1965 that the name would officially change to "Whistler".
A trapper named John Millar ran a stopping house in the general area known now as Function Junction. He met Alex Philip while on a trip to Vancouver in 1911. Alex and his wife Myrtle were invited, by Millar, to experience the superb fishing on the chain of lakes near his cabin. Alex and Myrtle were originally from Maine and had moved west with dreams of opening a fishing lodge and resort.
At that time it was a three-day journey to Summit Lake, the Philips made several trips in the three years that followed. Then in 1913 the Philips purchased 10 acres on Alta Lake for $700, and in 1914 Rainbow Lodge fishing resort was complete, with help from Myrtle's family, the Tapley's. Also in the same year the Great Pacific Railway reached Alta Lake and this opened the valley up to the world. Rainbow Lodge was sold in 1948 but operated until 1977 when fire destroyed the main lodge. Rainbow Park is all that remains today with a few original cabins and a replica of the "Bridge of Sighs" over the "River of Golden Dreams".
More lodges began to spring up around Alta Lake and Rainbow lodge grew to accommodate 100 people of the years that followed. Over the next 30 years tourism was not the only profitable industry in Alta Lake. The Parkhurst Mill operated on Green Lake and The Rainbow Lumber Company operated on Alta Lake. There was also a mink and marten farm, as well as trapping and prospecting. Jimmy Fitzsimmons led mining surveys up the Fitzsimmons Valley and those shafts can still be seen on the Singing Pass Trail.
In the early 1960's a group of Vancouver businessmen formed the Garibaldi Olympic Development Organization (GODA) to develop a site for the 1968 Olympics. Then "London Mountain" was chosen as a site with the town of Alta Lake as the base. There was still no road, no electricity, and no piped water or sewer in Alta Lake. In 1962 Franz Wilhelmson, President of Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. began the construction of a lift system to support ski operations on the south side of Whistler Mountain, known today as Creekside. In 1965 electricity came and a narrow gravel road was all that connected the Alta Lake to the rest of the world, except of course for the railroad. They opened on February 15th 1966, with a four-person gondola, a double chair lift and two T-bars.
That Olympic bid was not successful until July 2nd 2003 when Vancouver was awarded the Winter Olympic Games in 2010.
In 1974 the NDP Government of BC took steps to develop tourism in BC and as a result the Resort Municipality of Whistler was named in September of 1975, the first of its kind in Canada. It was 1977 when plans for the development of Blackcomb Mountain included a plan for a town centre where Whistler and Blackcomb mountains converged, and 53 acres of Crown Land, which included the site of the community garbage dump, was given to the municipality to build what is now the Whistler Village.
Blackcomb Mountain opened in December of 1980 and in 1985 it expanded its lift capacity to 5280 feet making Blackcomb North America's only "Mile High Mountain." In 1992 Snow Country Magazine, a prominent magazine of its time, voted Whistler resort the "Number One Ski resort in North America". This was the first of many accolades to come.
In 1998 Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains merged under the direction of Intrawest, and in 1999 Whistler Blackcomb became the first North American resort to top 2 million skier visits in one year.
In 2003 the year round population of Whistler was counted at 9,850, we were given the opportunity to host the world as an Official Venue for the Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2010, and a new era of growth began. With less than two years to go before the Olympics the future of Whistler looks very prosperous, consider making some history of your own in our mountain paradise.
Visitors to Whistler
2.14 million Annually.
Environment / Climate
Average snowfall in the valley is 430.5 cm (14 ft)
Average snowfall in the alpine is 914 cm (30 ft).
Average winter temperatures range from –8° to 3° C (18° to 37° F).
Average summer temperature range from 9° to 27° C, (48° to 80° F).
Elevation of Whistler Village is 668 m (2,190 ft),
Blackcomb Mountain peak is 2,284 m (7,494 ft)
Whistler Mountain peak is 2,182 m (7,160 ft).
Real Estate Statistics
The Whistler real estate market saw incredible growth in the mid to late 90's and again in 2000 to 2004. 2005 and 2006 were quieter and 2007 has seen a substantial increase in activity. 2008 started out very strong and has seen a reasonable sales volume in the second half even with an economic down turn.
Whistler is noted as one of the better investments, and I can prove it to you.
For more information please go to my links page.