Flying High in Whistler
A whopping 108 metre leap by Switzerland’s Simon Ammann set a hill record in ski jumping on February 13, 2010 at Whistler Olympic Park. Ammann took the gold while Adam Malysz of Poland won silver and Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria brought home the bronze.
Ski Jumping is one sport where athletes literally soar to new heights in their quest for the gold. Canadian John Heilig was a Nordic Combined (the sport of cross-country skiing and ski jumping) athlete for 10 years and describes the ski jumping experience as a sensation like no other.
“When you jump you feel like someone has grabbed you by your belt and lifted you upwards,” says John. “It is definitely not a feeling of falling but a feeling of lifting and flying. This is a pretty unique sensation to be flying on the aerodynamics of your body and your skis.”
While most people will never have the opportunity to fly through the air on an Olympic ski jump, there’re plenty of ways to experience that adrenaline rush in Whistler.
Ziplining will have you sailing between the tree tops while safely tucked into a harness. Suitable for all ages, all you have to do is clip onto the line and let gravity take you away. Down below are frozen creeks, snow-covered valleys and lush forest while surrounding you are spectacular views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This year-round activity is fantastic fun for the whole family.
Take a leap off a bridge to 160 feet below attached only by a bungee cord and you’ll feel the combined sensation of flying and falling at the same time. Bungee jumping in Whistler is a unique way to get your heart pounding. The glacial-fed Cheakamus River rushes below you as you stand on a bridge connecting rugged cliffs and old-growth forest. Jump alone or attached to a friend; either way, you and your adrenaline will be soaring.
Explore Whistler’s Coast Mountains in the back seat of a helicopter and you’ll have a bird’s eye view from the sky. Flying over glaciers, peaks and valleys, you’ll experience first hand how different the air at the top of the world is. Stop off for some high-alpine sightseeing or bring your skis or snowboard for the ultimate in fresh tracks.
Hop aboard one of Whistler’s famous dog sleds and you may not be in the air but you will definitely be flying! Being pulled by a pack of racing Alaskan Huskies is a uniquely Canadian experience like no other. Try your hand at driving the sled while you sail through the backcountry by moonlight, wind in your hair and adrenaline pumping. Don’t forget to hang on tight!
Starting in summer 2010, the ski jumps in Whistler Olympic Park will be open for tours. Climb to the top of the starting gate and experience what the athletes must have felt before taking off. It’s a long way down and there’s no turning back. Luckily, you only have to take the chair lift and can leave the death-defying jumps to the pros!