Local Vibe


Whistler is more than just a resort. It is also a vibrant community of some 12,000 people. If you drive 11 kilometres along Highway 99 through the town, you will notice signs at the entrances to many of the neighbourhoods, from Function Junction and Cheakamus Crossing in the south to Emerald Estates in the north. What are the origins of these names?

Cheakamus Crossing is Whistler’s newest neighbourhood, which was named for the nearby Cheakamus (pronounced CHECK-a-mus) River and built to house athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. An Anglicization of the word Chiyakmesh, Cheakamus means “people of the fish weir” in the language of the Squamish Nation’s people, who have called the Sea to Sky Corridor home for thousands of years.

Function Junction was named by a logging truck driver in the 1950s, as it was the convergence point of at least five logging roads, said John Alexander, Whistler Museum and Archives (WMA) collections manager.

Creekside, a.k.a. Whistler Creek, is named for Whistler Creek that flows down Whistler Mountain and into Nita Lake and was the original base area of the ski hill. It remains an important commercial and ski-access hub.

Whistler Cay Heights and Whistler Cay Estates seem odd names in the mountains, as “cay” is normally associated with shoreline areas. Named Whistler Cay in 1969 by developers, it included access to a sandy beach along Alta Lake as part of the original concept plan, Alexander said. That never came to fruition, but the name remained.

Tapley’s Farm, in lower Whistler Cay, is named for Phil Tapley. After helping his sister Myrtle and her husband Alex Philip build Rainbow Lodge that opened in 1914, Phil Tapley married and in 1925, he and his wife Dorothy began clearing a piece of land that had been purchased by his father Sewell for a farm. With their hard work, it became quite productive with grains, an orchard, vegetables, as well as cows and chickens, according to WMA files. The farmland was developed for housing after Phil died in 1971.

Rainbow Estates (or just “Rainbow”), north of Alpine Meadows, bears the name of the Philips’ Rainbow Lodge. Located near the site of Whistler’s “other” ski hill, Ski Rainbow, which operated as a bunny hill and ski jump from 1968 to 1981, the jump, described in 1979 as “Summer Air Ramp,” had plastic grass running from the bottom of a chair lift, according to a 2013 article by the WMA’s Sarah Drewery. Little photographic evidence of the old ski hill remains.

To learn more about Whistler’s rich history, visit the museum at 4333 Main St., next to the Whistler Public Library, or whistlermuseum.org.



Beginning this winter, guests will have a chance to enjoy lunch or refreshments while soaking in the stunning Coast Mountain views from the comfort of Whisky Jack’s Umbrella Bar, a 160-seat patio attached to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain. As a year-round facility, it will be fully open when the weather is good, but can be closed in inclement weather using a collapsible roof that folds inward and outward like an umbrella.

“The Umbrella Bar is not unique to the ski world,” said Marc Riddell, Whistler Blackcomb senior communications manager. “The concept is popular in places like Europe. It’s a platform that allows you to sit and enjoy the landscape in all conditions.”

The heated patio, which was recently added to the down-slope side of the Roundhouse, is sure to be popular with guests, Riddell said. This past summer also saw the completion of the Roundhouse Lodge Terrace and Viewing Deck, a two-tiered structure attached to the lodge next to the iconic Inukshuk, symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The upper terrace and lower deck are set to open for guests in the summer of 2018.


Beginning next summer, guests will be able to enjoy the 360-degree vistas of Black Tusk and the surrounding Coast Mountains from the peak of Whistler Mountain, while traversing a suspension bridge or soaking up the sun on a new cantilevered walkway built expressly for that purpose.

The Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge will span 130 metres (426.5 feet) across the Whistler Bowl from Whistler Mountain’s peak to the West Ridge, where a cantilevered walkway will extend 12.5 m (40.7 ft.) out from the ridge, 50 m (164 ft.) above Whistler Bowl. “It’s an all-season attraction,” Marc Riddell, WB senior communications manager, said of the new Whistler Peak facilities.    
Part of an upgrade plan set to coincide with the full, official opening of new trails that make up the Creek Zone in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, the opening date for the new facilities depends partly on the weather. The Creekside Gondola and some Creek Zone trails opened to bikers in the summer of 2017.

Visit whistlerblackcomb.com

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