A few of us did a Sun Dance a few days ago and the Sun God granted us our wish of a bright, rainless, sunny Sunday. While the sun looks as warm as that of Florida, we are still in the grips of winter, even though it is technically Spring. Oh, what to do ? Whister is not my first choice of a relaxing place to wander around but I have not driven the "Sea to Sky Highway" since last year. We got an early start and headed North from the heart of urban Vancouver, BC. The locals call this the "Killer Highway".
(just south of Squamish, BC Hwy 99 Sea to Sky highway)
They are doing a major facelift of the highway which runs along Howe Sound. It is very expensive to blast the rock faced cliffs, and during the winter and rainy season there are a lot of rock slides and bridge washouts which often close this Highway. There is no alternate route Northward from Vancouver.
(another view, south approach to Squamish, BC)
This was originally, mostly a single lane road with limited access passing lanes. During most of its length towards Whistler it is mostly 4 lanes, however in the mountainous sections it is 2 lane (one lane each direction) or 3 lane (usually 2 lanes uphill, 1 downhill) alternating, dependant on direction. There have been countless accidents along this highway due to the many twists and turns, mostly head on as the offending vehicle could not manage to stay in their own lane and end up crossing the line onto the opposing lane -- mainly due to speed.
As you take the upper levels highway (Hwy 1 TCH) from West Vancouver, Squamish is approx 70 kms north, and Whistler is another 50 kms further. In the old days, before construction, you were able to travel this distance in just and hour and 20 minutes. With all the construction zones and heavy traffic it is taking closer to 3-1/2 hours (each way). We left home around 9am and did not arrive at Whistler until around 12:30pm
There are not many places to safely pull over due to all the pylons and cement barriers but I did manage to stop a few times when traffic was light.
(Notice motorcyclist in the oncoming lane)
The closer we get to Whistler, the more snow we see
(Whistler Vistor Centre)
We eventually arrive in Whistler and head over to the "The Village" , Whistler Village, that is.
Blackcomb-Whistler is one of the finest ski resorts in the world. Acres of ski runs, two separate mountains (next to each other) with the "Village" in the middle.
Turn your head a few degrees to your right and you see one of many Whistler chairlifts.
(Whistler chairlift, one of many)
About a half block further (to the right) you come across the Whistler Gondola building
We purchased tickets to go to the top of the mountain
We have to wait our turn and let the occupants egress
Here comes Gondola #147, can't wait to jump aboard
to be continued . . .
Here's the first thing we saw as we got to the top of Whistler, Roundhouse station.
(Whistler mountain, Round House station)