Whistler has now hosted its first Ironman Triathlon. Whoopee! Yes, once again the mavens at RMOW have put Whistler on the world stage. Though, as of yet, no statement of the impact of this much ballyhooed event has seen the light of day. I would suggest, if the truth be told, that Ironman brought with it serious negative consequences to both the economy and image of the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
Many who would have otherwise travelled the corridor stayed away because of the highway closure — indeed, the hotels of Whistler were not at full capacity — the closure brought all traffic, commercial and private, to a complete halt for no less than four hours, causing missed flights, impeded deliveries and other major problems, the number of which one can only guess at, businesses in the Callaghan were forced to close, with no consultation whatsoever, the list goes on. Pemberton was hardest hit, affected by closures for the majority of the day, with no way in or out save for the Duffey Lake Road.
Why is it that an event with [2,500] participants, many of them professionals, was allowed to bring the northern part of Highway 99 to a standstill? This becomes all the more galling when one considers that last year’s GranFondo had 7,000 participants, the vast majority amateurs, yet it was still possible to travel throughout the length of the Sea-to-Sky corridor?
Perhaps the gurus at RMOW should apply for inclusion in the Formula One circuit. They could then close Highway 99 for the better part of a week and gain exposure around the globe, attracting the millions worldwide who follow Formula One racing, residents and workers in the corridor be damned.