Whistler, BC Canada
The host of the 2010 winter Olympics was not really Vancouver. Almost all of the events occurred in a smaller ski-town called Whistler, BC. The area was built up with dozens of shops in a much more refined Busch Gardens’ New France sort of way. I bought a ticket for the Peak to Peak gondola ride (at the youth price – hells yes) and rode up to the top of the glacier where skiing was available year round. By the way, here gondolas are not the long boats driven by striped Italians singing operettas, but essentially an enclosed ski lift. Unfortunately I had forgotten that snow was not only cold but also ridiculously blinding underneath the clear skies, so I quickly snapped some pictures and stomped my way back to the ski lift. The views both up and down were simply breathtaking. I was often able to secure a ski lift alone and basked in the quiet serenity of the noiseless, grandiose landscape. Though I had traversed the mountains in my car and seen snow, this was the first time I had experienced 360 degree views on such a clear day. At the main peak to peak ride I waited in line for maybe 20 minutes but was able to get a good seat on a silver gondola, the special one where a small, clear glass square sat in the center. Suddenly, while hanging on an inch-thick wire, a view of the ground seems that much more thrilling. As it is the summer, the bottom of the snowless mountain now contains some of the best-known extreme biking trails. Like actually those people looked scary and the trails even worse: 90 degree turns, 45 degree ramps that lead to nowhere, rock-faced drop offs, and many other things I could not possibly describe.