Daily Highlights

March 8 - Whistler

Whistler, British Columbia

Nestled in the Coast Mountains, only 40 kilometres inland from the Pacific Ocean and 120 kilometres from one of Canada's largest urban centres, Whistler provides a Canadian west coast mountain experience with snowy winters and moderate temperatures. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains offer the highest lift-serviced vertical and the largest terrain of any ski area in North America, with large alpine bowls and forested glades, expert grooming and ski runs that last forever.

There are plenty of other activities year round to entice the summertime visitor, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, golf, tennis, in-line skating and sailing. In the winter, there are snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, hockey and, skiing and snowboarding. Whistler is a lively mountain community with 9,500 permanent residents. The sense of community is very strong with a passionate commitment to protecting the natural mountain environment surrounding us and moving to become a sustainable community.

Celebration Plans

Home to most of the sport events during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Whistler will welcome the Paralympic Flame for a three-hour celebration in Whistler Village Square beginning at 3:00 pm.

A Lighting Ceremony will be performed in Whistler Blackcomb, then the flame will be carried to the peak of the Blackcomb Mountain and taken on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to Whistler Mountain. Torchbearers will carry the Paralympic Flame on various modes of transport, such as skis and a snowboard, to Whistler Village Square.

Celebrations in Whistler are the last major event before the 24-hour relay to be held in Vancouver from March 11 to 12.

Please note — the exact time of each community celebration is approximate and is subject to change.

Community Torchbearer

A member of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski team (CPAST), Matt Hallat, is the community torchbearer in Whistler. He has been a member of CPAST for the past five seasons and competed in many NorAm (North America), Europa Cup and World Cup races around the world. The Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games were his first Games.

At the age of five, Hallat was diagnosed with a form of cancer — Ewing’s sarcoma. One year later, his right leg was amputated. His life never was going to be the same, but his love for sports didn't cease. When he was growing up, Hallat played soccer, baseball, hockey, golf and went mountain biking, but he found his calling the moment he stepped into his first skis. He says, “When I get up in the morning, go to work, the grocery store, and take on the normal day's tasks, I am disabled. But when I step into a ski, I am equal. I can ski with anybody.”

Since he was a boy, Hallat has aspired to become an Olympian. When Vancouver won the bid to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, he realized he could accomplish his dream at home and it made his desire to be successful that much greater. Hallat gives his time and energy to the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program through many fundraising events, activities and media initiatives.

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