Sunday, March 23, 2008

GMC Acadia

We flew non-stop from Charlotte to Seattle, rented a GMC Acadia SUV from Hertz, stayed overnight in Seattle, and drove 220 miles north to Whislter, B. C. The route we drove took us through downtown Vancouver and across the Lions Gate Bridge. See two pictures below.

Vancouver, population 1.5 million, was an impressive city for two reasons. High rise residential buildings surround the downtown and pedestrian traffic fills the sidewalks. I spoke to a resident I met in Whistler about my observations of Vancouver. She told me this: "There has been a reverse movement into the suburbs in Vancouver. People became tired of the commute and lawn maintenance. Many have moved into the city." She also pointed out that Vancouver is second behind Los Angeles in movie production.

Readers who like statistics may be interested to know that I drove the Acadia over 500 miles and measured the fuel economy at 19 to 20 mph. The rides were very comfortable and the vehicle accommodated seven people and ski equipment to and from our condominium.

Have a good week!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Longhorn Saloon & Grill

The village at Whistler offered many choices to dine, refresh, socialize, and report on the fantastic runs or hard falls. One popular spot was Longhorn Saloon & Grill at the mountain base. There, starting around 4:00 PM fatigued skiers parked their skis and gathered around tables under umbrellas in a courtyard for drinks and friendly talk. The courtyard overflowed with people as access was controlled by an employee stationed at the entrance. Part of our group was inside while other family members waited outside probably fifteen minutes until space became available.

The village and resort are prepared for large crowds and do a good job of moving people up the slopes and through eateries.

Automobile parking options are varied and convenient. Most employees there speak English with an accent different than mine. We learned that many of them are from Australia.

Have a good week!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Slopes at Whistler

The ride by gondola lasted twenty minutes to reach Roundhouse Lodge. Numerous other lifts provide access to various trails. There are 100 runs accessible by helicopter only. We met a local couple on one ride and learned about the village of Whistler. There are about 10,000 permanent residents in the area. The citizens maintain a fire department, hospital, and school system. The ski slopes accommodate up to 25,000 skiers per day at $83.00 per skier per day. Most permanent residents work in support of the resort.

The village shops offer high quality gear and clothing to outfit ski enthusiasts from around the world. There were thousands of people there dressed in stylish gear and fashionable attire. My wife and I didn't ski, but other family members did and fully enjoyed the conditions.

See the pictures of us riding a gondola to tour the slopes, view the scenery, and to watch skiers and snowboard riders.

Have a good week!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More About Snowmobile Ride

The outing spanned three hours; the mountain trails we rode covered about thirty kilometers; the elevation changed two thousand feet as we motored on a Yamaha snowmobile at speeds up to 55 kilometers-per-hour. The powerful machine carried us up and down steep slopes. Both of us leaned sideways into the curves and turns as instructed. Our snowmobile was one of five that caravanned behind our guide, Luke. We stopped periodically to rest, get further instructions from Luke and to absorb the wondrous sights.

As we gained riding confidence and reached a plateau, we separated from our guide and hotdogged in fresh snow.  See our tracks in some photos.  Not all tracks are ours, however.

Have a good day!