"Whistler, British Columbia"
In July 1992 my family spent a weekend up at Whistler. It was quite a trip as it was so close to home (a 2 hours drive north), but it felt like a world away! Whistler has literally gone from a tiny town in the middle of the mountains, to a full-fledged city, with top hotels, restaurants, clubs, stores, condos, homes, and dozens of world class ski slopes. Of course, Whistler and Blackcomb have been considered the top ski and snowboard resort in all of North America for the past 5 years! It attracts thousands of international visitors worldwide, including the Royal Family, dozens of celebrities, musicians and movie stars, not to mention local Vancouverites who hope to escape for a quick vacation. And it keeps on growing, and growing and growing...
"Up the gondola"
For a hefty price, you can take the gondola up to the top of Whistler mountain. In the winter, they use these gondolas for transporting skiiers. But in the summertime? It's a top tourist attraction! Here's the view from the gondola half-way up the mountain. You can see Whistler and Blackcomb below. You can even see the highway carving its way through town!
Another view of Whistler village below - this time it's a bit higher up the mountain. If you're scared of heights, you may be a bit nervous on these gondolas!
"Whistler - at the top!"
It was a bit cooler at the top of the mountain, but still warm enough to be wearing t-shirts and shorts. Here I am with my sister and my dad standing infront of a defunct chairlift.
"Snow in July?!!"
It's true! While it's obviously too warm for it to snow in July at the top of Whistler, there are pockets of snow leftover from spring that haven't melted completely.
You can see the gondola station in the background. That's where you go when you arrive at the top of the mountain. In July the snow there is old snow leftover from the winter. It was old, icy and dirty - not the fresh powdery stuff you get in December. Nevertheless, when you're a kid, you still find any type of snow entertaining... especially when it's in July - the middle of summer.
"We're in Switzerland!"
We happened to visit Whistler during the Swiss Alpine festival. At a mountaintop restaurant, the summertime Swiss Alpine fest was in full force. You can see the people drinking their Heineken, and listening to oom-papa music!
We had to grab a little something to drink ourselves. ;) I probably had a root beer, or some kind of pop. Pop = soda pop (Pop is the Canadian term for a carbonated beverage like Coca-Cola, Sprite, Orange Crush, etc).
After observing the Swiss Alpine Festival, we decided to walk down the Harmony Lake trail. Click on the image - it'll put the scenery into perspective. The mountains have this incredible way of making you feel very, very small.
The trail eventually brought us to, surprise surprise, Harmony Lake. You can see the lake - the remainder of melted glacier water - in the background.
Harmony Lake was gorgeous, and the views were spectacular. The same lake is seen at the top of this travelogue! You truly feel like you're a world away!
My sister and I were looking for fish in the pond - I doubt we saw any.. but there were certainly enough water-skeeters - those insects that look like they're rowing across the water with their long legs. That's what we were looking at when my dad took this picture.
But what a picture! You can see the ski runs off in the distance... and look at the reflections!
Myself, my mom and my sister sitting down on a bench at the top of Whistler.
Back at the bottom of the mountain, the summer crowds were milling about. During out weekend in July, we stayed at the Blackcomb Lodge. Here's Whistler village on a hot July afternoon, just outside of our hotel.
The summers can be very hot in Whistler.. well, they're "very hot" for your typical alpine climate! I believe it was about 27 degrees Celsius that day. Of course, in the winter the temperature would be very much colder... but in the summer it's very comfortable.
Another shot of the village. This is only one section of Whistler village, and remember this was back in 1992 - Whistler has more than doubled since 1992!
"July 3, 1997 - Blackcomb"
Five years later in 1997, here I am with my sister and mom standing at the bottom of Blackcomb's chairlift.