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So Whistler. It's bigger and more upmarket touristy than Jasper, and doesn't produce nearly as useful trail maps, but it's still an interesting place. Half the inhabitants seem to be unironic extreme sports stereotypes which I find amusing (especially when they talk that way while serving you in the local grocery store), and there's a lot of fairly well disguised building work going on for the winter Olympics.

Spent most of yesterday exploring the trails round Lost Lake (there's about 34km of them in total, I think I must have walk round about half of them) and watching kids try to almost but not quite capsize their boats to land their friends in the water while staying dry themselves. In the evening I had dinner at Araxi which is an extremely nice restaurant with excellent service, very good martinis, an extremely extensive wine list, and the sort of bill at the end which you'd expect to go with those things. Still, it was very nice sitting outside watching the different elements of Whistler's population streaming through the village square while I had an extremely good dinner.

I may have regretted the 3oz martini, and the port, when the fire alarm went off at a quarter to two this morning, but it was quite funny to see just how much clothing people had managed to grab before evacuating. I'd pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, but was carrying my boots, some people clearly hadn't gone to bed yet at all, and at least a couple of people were standing around wrapped in bath towels and very little else, we certainly made an interesting queue at reception as we all waited to get keycards so we could get back into our rooms.

Today I went up Whistler Mountain, walked some of the trails, took the chair lift to the peak (an exciting ride through impenetrable cloud to a peak from which you could see very little other than impenetrable cloud), took the peak to peak cable car to Blackcomb and decided that it was wet and cloud wreathed enough to get the chair lift back down to Whistler. That was an interesting experience because at some points the cloud was thick enough that the wires were the only thing you could see from the chair lift, it's very strange having no idea how high up you are when you're in one of those things.

One thing I will say is that Jasper produces much better trail maps than Whistler does, they may not be quite as pretty but they number all the trails on the map (and on the trails) and they're very clear. The map of Whistler mountain numbered all the trails, but the sign posts mostly used the trail names which weren't all on the map and only sometimes used the trail numbers. Both Jasper and Whistler could learn lessons from the US Parks Service on producing 'realistic' topographical maps, simply marking high points on a trail doesn't really work and overlaying contours on an aerial photo is horrible IMHO.

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September 2009
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