Lifestyle

This classic film collection shows the very humble beginnings of modern Whistler

Photo via Whistler Museum/Leidel Collection

Considering how much of a BC staple it is, it’s weird to think that Whistler really wasn’t a tourist destination until the 1960s, and that Whistler Village wasn’t even built until 1978. But, there were a few people living and vacationing up there before then, and we’re lucky to get a glimpse at it.

Say hello to the Petersen Film Collection, which might be the first real documented example of weekend warriors in BC. Back in the 1950s, a Burnaby teacher named Florence bought a cottage (named ‘Wistend’- classic!) on Alta Lake with four others. Ok, Florence, wow, what a sweet move, you might be our inspiration of the week. How much are cabins in Whistler again? Oh, right.

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Anyway, the videos in the collection capture everything from winter swimming to the area’s first ski hill, powered by a V8 motor and with a single tow rope. But without a doubt, the most impressive one documents the journey from Vancouver to Whistler in 1958.

The video depicts this absolute behemoth of a sedan as it crawls along dirt roads. Steep inclines, sheer cliffs, rocky overhangs… yeah, it’s like the modern-day drive there on steroids. It makes us wonder if we’d even have the stomach to go.

To check out the Petersen Film Collection, courtesy of the Whistler Museum, just click here!