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Reasons to ski Whistler during the Olympics

Whistler won Skiing Magazine's Best Overall Resort in their 2010 Resort Awards.
Whistler won Skiing Magazine's Best Overall Resort in their 2010 Resort Awards.
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Unless you live in Whistler, you wouldn't know that a certain segment of the community is opposed to hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Some locals have decided to leave town for two weeks, rent their houses to "some rich Americans," and go surfing in Mexico. Let them.

Here are several reasons why the 2010 Winter Olympics are the perfect time to hit Whistler.

Empty mountains

No, that's not a typo. The Games are notoriously poorly attended. For 2010's events, just 12 of Whistler and Blackcomb's 200-plus runs are closed.

Better still, Whistler insiders told Skiing that January bookings are lagging, meaning for several weeks leading up to the Games you won't be fighting for first tracks. Lucky you.

Plus, Whistler won our Best Overall Resort in our 2010 Resort Awards.

Skiing Magazine: Resort finder

Pulsing village

The mountains may be empty but when you ski back to the village, expect the same kind of pulse you associate with a vibrant city.

Other than the media and medal-presentation areas, the village is free of security barricades. You can walk, mingle, and party with the world.

Red-carpet treatment

If you owned Whistler, and it was about to get more global media attention than it has ever received, wouldn't you ensure that the cat tracks were as smooth as golf greens? That mountain restaurants were world-class? That busy stores and ticket windows were amply staffed?

Of course you would.

Our Whistler insiders say that the few people who end up attending are going to have it good. Spring is a season of transitions at Whistler Blackcomb. From powder to parties during the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival April 17-26; and from boards to bikes when the Whistler Mountain Bike Park opens May 16; spring is the season for adventure hedonists.

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Free admission to Olympic events

Each alpine event will have a complimentary viewing area. All you need is a lift ticket to whack your stupid cowbell as racers pass.

Plenty of rooms

Just before the Games began, Whistler's hotels were about 85 percent booked.

But here's where the local exodus works for you: Private homes and condos are empty, and the prices are expected to drop as go time gets closer.

For private house rentals, visit vancouver2010rentals.net or Craigslist. For packages, click here.

Skiing Magazine: A Look at Whistler's Peak to Peak Gondola

Free parties

Nothing to see here but free concerts, free outdoor theater, and huge screens broadcasting all 17 days of Olympic events.

The official parties last until 11:30, culminating in a nightly "fire and ice" show, but count on late nights, especially given that some restaurants are expected to be open around the clock.

Whistler's official Olympic website, has all the info you'll need.

The mountains may be empty but when you ski back to the village, expect the same kind of pulse you associate with a vibrant city. Other than the media and medal-presentation areas, the village is free of security barricades. You can walk, mingle, and party with the world.

There's a reason Whistler was voted Best Nightlife in our 2010 Resort Awards.

© 2010 Skiing Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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