Whistler Olympic Village
One of the main attractions on our week long vacation to Whistler, Canada was checking out all the Olympic sites up close and personal. From the Olympic Plaza in Whistler Village to the Olympic Park and the Sliding Center, we were able to see a lot of the iconic structures that up until now, I’ve only seen on tv. I’ve watched the Olympics since I was a young girl and so it was especially thrilling to finally see the Olympic rings in person!
Whistler Olympic Park: Biathlon Shooting Range
If you grew up in the 80’s, it’s likely you played some version of the Winter Games on your computer or gaming system. If you lived in my house, you played them on the Commodore 64. One of the events that I never really understood was the biathlon. Cross country skiing mixed with shooting targets. As it turns out, I discovered this sport came about in the nordic countries of Europe when people relied on hunting in the winter for survival. They would go out on their skis looking for food and then would end up hunting while cross country skiing. This eventually became some what of a competition to see who was the most skilled in both areas. It became an official Olympic sport in 1960! One of the highlights of our time at the Olympic Park was being able to shoot in the same facility, using the same targets as the Olympians did for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games!
Before shooting, we received a lesson on how to properly hold and aim our 22 caliber rifle. These guns were the same guns used in the 2010 Olympics, so we got to experience a little piece of Olympic history today! Even better, I now have bragging rights in my family because I got a perfect shooting score of 10/10, beating out everyone else in my family!! 2018 Olympics, here I come! To learn more or to book your biathlon experience, check out the Whistler Sport Legacies web page.
While we were at the biathlon range, some future Olympic athletes from the British Columbia and Quebec teams were participating in a youth training camp, preparing them for the 2024 Olympic biathalon. Instead of skis, they are able to train in the summer using roller skis…Only 175 more days until the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang!
Whistler Olympic Park: Ski Jumps
Did you know you could hike up to the top of these ski jumps? Well, you can, and we did! There is a steep back-country trail behind the jumps that takes you to the top, but if you don’t want to put in the effort…
…here is the view from the top. You can see the area where the skiers launch and then land right in between those metal rails.Instead of snow there are flowers! This is a close up of the ramp where competitors launch into the air…It’s pretty steep and I can’t imagine what it’s like launching off the ramp for the first time. These ski jumps always remind me of those funny Goofy cartoons!
The 2010 Winter Games logo is a cool, stylized version of an inukshuk, the stone cairns built by the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic. These Inukshuk statues can be found throughout the different Olympic venues in Whistler. The statue on the left is there to greet you when you arrive at Whistler Village. The one on the right is located across from the ski jump area at the entrance to the Olympic Park.
Whistler Olympic Park: Sliding Centre
Visitors can walk around on the inside of the sliding track that was used for the bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton events. It is still used for training, even in the summer. Beginning in October, the track gets coated with ice, just as it would be during competition. You can pay to ride the bobsleigh with the help of a trained professional as your pilot. To learn more or to book your bobsleigh experience, check out the Whistler Sport Legacies web page.
One of the coolest moments at the sliding center was when I was having one of my kids take a photo of me standing on the podium and one of the employees comes out and hands me the Official Olympic torch. She said “If you’re going to stand on the official platform, you need to be holing the Olympic torch!” How cool to hold the torch that was used in the 2010 Olympic torch relay! I was beside myself!