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Insider Insights: Articles

A journey across Whistler, B.C. before the big storm

By Chris St. Clair
Weather Broadcaster
Sunday, February 9, 2014, 6:00 AM

FOLLOW US IN B.C.: Chris St. Clair will be in British Columbia all week. Tune in for TV dispatches, and check back year for more of his insights. 

Awesome! Stunning! A couple good words to describe the journey to and time spent at Whistler in British Columbia. 

Located about 125 km from Vancouver, the area we think of as Whistler was established as a ski resort in 1964. The idea was to have the location prepared to host the Olympics in 1968, a bid it lost. In 1976 Denver won the Winter Games, and chose to decline the event, Whistler (known as Alpha Lake/Whistler at the time) also declined the games. Time passed, and the resort grew in size, stature and renown.

SEE ALSO: Polar Express to fuel B.C. storm

Whistler was home to the 2010 Games, Alpine for the Olympics and nearly all events of the Paralympic Games. 

Due to its location at the head of North Americas most southerly fjord, the weather at Whistler is ideal for winter sport and activities. On average it snows 63 days a year with over 4 metres of snow falling each year. 

The average winter daytime high temperature in Whistler Village hovers just below freezing. At the summits, it is usually 5 to 8 degrees colder.

SEE ALSO: A Family Day storm ahead for B.C.

The forests here are not old growth, as they tend to be further north, the mountain has been clear cut twice, that piece of history also means the Whistler/Blackcomb has more terrain to ski than any resort in the world. 

As stunning as winter is here, summer is also a time to play in and enjoy the mountains. It can be amazingly hot, both July and August have seen temperatures as warm as 38°C. 

It gets this warm because these deep valleys will retain heat when circulation patterns favour high pressure over southern B.C. That and the fact that the floor and walls of a valley are also heated by the sun and will radiate that heat into the already hot valley air in summer offer temperatures that border on blistering. 

Canada is a land of extremes, next time, a town named for its wind and how hurricane force storms are common fodder on the west coast.

More by this author
Don't let winter cramp your style
Freezing rain risk in B.C.
Mild snow en route for British Columbia
An updated B.C. outlook

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