Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whistler 2010: Bring Your Travel Pass and Money

The Whistler Resort is ready for the 2010 Olympics. Information kiosks are spotted throughout the village, TV anchor booths are being readied for the arrival of the broadcasters, the medals stage is nearly finished and you can sense an air of anticipation.

At this point, eight days before the games begin, the crowd is noticeably younger because many of them are event workers and volunteers, not media execs and notables. Some of the athletes have arrived but the real flood will take place next week.

And, yes, there is plenty of snow at Whistler. While it may be thin for events near Vancouver the coverage at Whistler is not a risk. The down hillers will be able to blast downhill.

For those of us that drive, the road to the resort is new and improved. Legendary curves have been removed and much of the route has been widened. But there are still choke points and a system of reversible lanes will be in force during the Olympics to speed traffic north in the am and south in the pm.

To further control congestion a pass is required to travel the last 40 miles from Squamish to Whistler between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm daily during the games. Regular folks will need to arrange for a pass when arranging their lodging in Whistler. A Squamish roadblock is set to go into effect and they will not let you pass.

In addition to a pass you should bring money; lots and lots of money. First there are “must have” souvenirs everywhere. You can’t leave Whistler without some sort of gadget. Second, be prepared for “special Olympic pricing” at the restaurants. We stopped by one of our favorite haunts and the price rise was very discernable.

“Yes, I was a little surprised by the new menu prices,” our server commented. “But everyone’s doing it.”

With the Canadian dollar trading near par with the U.S. the price you see is very near the price in U.S. dollars that you will pay.

But, hey, the Olympics are a once in a lifetime event. There still may be tickets available to some events. We will find out today. In the meantime we came here to ski and ski we will. More Olympics news later.