Whistler Blackcomb (TSX: WB) is a major ski resort located 121 km (75 mi) north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. By many measures it is the largest ski resort in North America; it is 50% larger than its nearest competitor in terms of size, has the greatest uphill lift capacity, and until 2009, had the highest vertical skiable distance by a wide margin. Whistler Blackcomb also features the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for moving between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains at the top; Peak 2 Peak holds records for the highest and longest unsupported cable car span in the world. With all of this capacity, Whistler Blackcomb is also often the most-visited ski resort, often besting 2 million visitors a year.
Whistler was originally conceived as part of a bid to win the 1968 Winter Olympics. Although they lost the bid, construction started anyway and the resort opened for the first time in January 1966. Blackcomb mountain, originally a separate entity, opened for business in December 1980. The two resorts underwent a period of intense rivalry through the 1980s and 90s, with constant upgrades and improvements that was unseen at other resorts. By the mid-1990s the area was repeatedly named the best resort in many skiing magazines. Intrawest, the BC real estate firm that developed Blackcomb, purchased Whistler and fully merged their operations in 2003.
Whistler Blackcomb was the centrepiece of a renewed bid on the part of nearby Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which they won in July 2003. Whistler Blackcomb hosted the alpine skiing events, including the men's and women's Olympic and Paralympic alpine skiing disciplines of downhill, Super-G, giant slalom, super combined and slalom.
Over the next decade, Intrawest expanded by purchasing additional ski resorts across North America, before expanding into golf and other resorts as well. Whistler Village, widely recognized for its livable design, formed the basis of similar Tyrolian-inspired developments at their expanding series of resorts, as well as other resorts that hired Intrawest to build similar developments on their behalf. The company was purchased in 2006 and the resort is now mostly owned by Whistler Blackcomb Holdings and Nippon Cable.
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