Media Releases

Monday, August 19, 2013

Whistler goes into high gear for this week’s Subaru IRONMAN® Canada

Tourism Whistler media release
For immediate release – August 19, 2013

Whistler goes into high gear for this week’s Subaru IRONMAN® Canada; VIP package provides exclusive access and lots of extras

Suggested tweet: Whistler is in high gear this week with Subaru IRONMAN Canada; Get your VIP package for exclusive access and extras


Whistler, B.C. – The Callaghan Valley, Whistler and Pemberton will transform into a grueling triathlon course for thousands of IRONMAN competitors this weekend.

With the largest event hosted here since the Olympics set to roll into town this week, Whistler is in high gear, welcoming thousands of Subaru IRONMAN® Canada athletes and their families for the event on Sunday, August 25.

Whistler will host its inaugural Subaru IRONMAN® Canada triathlon Sunday, August 25, with more than 2,500 athletes, their families and thousands of volunteers.

And the best part is that visitors and residents alike can watch the action, up close and personal. Whether you choose to follow the live video feed on large screens in the hub of Whistler Olympic Plaza (also host to entertainment, the IRONMAN Expo and a number of event-related activities), or alongside the course at one of the spectator viewing areas, you will not want to miss the energy that comes with IRONMAN.

IRONMAN is an endurance event like no other, starting with a 3.8-kilometre swim, followed by a 180-kilometre bicycle ride and a 42-kilometre marathon. Athletes will begin their event day in the wee hours of the morning and must finish by midnight – in order to claim the official IRONMAN title.

While many athletes have been training in the area for months, the August 25 event day begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at midnight at the finish line in Whistler Olympic Plaza. And spectators are encouraged to come out, cheer on the athletes and enjoy the vibe that will be emanating throughout Whistler. Dress up, bring your cowbells and let the IRONMAN athletes know you’re here to cheer them on.

The VIP ticket package provides exclusive access to the swim start, with special event day shuttle service, premium finish line viewing areas, access to parties and more.

Best Place to watch the swim: In addition to the VIP ticket package, which allows exclusive access, there are two options: Walk/ ride a bike on the Valley Trail to Rainbow Park or watch the video feed on the large screens in Whistler Olympic Plaza. No spectators will be allowed on the buses going to Rainbow Park. There is no vehicle access to Rainbow Park.

Best place to watch the bike: The bike course passes through Whistler three times. There is a special spectator viewing area on the east side on Highway 99 in front of the Aava Hotel. Much of the bike course runs through the spectacular Pemberton Valley. Tourism Pemberton is hosting an IRONMAN CheerFest, located on an exciting race corner at Highway 99 and Portage Road (entryway to Pemberton) from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Best place to watch the run: The run course uses the Valley Trail, which runs throughout Whistler. Athletes run south on the Valley Trail section that is on the east of Parking Lots 1, 2, 3, 4. The finish line is on Blackcomb Way.

Detailed traffic information, transit schedules, maps and spectator viewing information is available at and

In addition to the activity at Whistler Olympic Plaza (beginning with the welcome ceremonies Friday evening, continuing with the event Expo, live video coverage on event day, entertainment and festivities and wrapping up with the award ceremony Monday, August 26 at 11 a.m.), Whistler Street Entertainment will energize the village August 23-26 with performances by Vancouver’s Kutapira, the 2011 Canadian Hip Hop champions FRESHH, the Vancouver Tap Dance Society, Capoeira Ache Brasil and Asaya’s Hooping Circus.

As a member of the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s bylaw services team, Nancy Johnston is a familiar face around Whistler. The long-time local, who was a resident of Whistler but now lives in Pemberton, says she more or less became a triathlete by accident. “I was just helping a friend train and then was convinced to sign up,” Johnston says. “After that, I was hooked immediately and there was no turning back.” Johnston, an avid skier, hockey player and all-round athlete, completed her first triathlon in Kelowna in 1996. From there, she made her IRONMAN debut with the half IRONMAN event in Victoria in 2006. She competed in her first full IRONMAN event in Penticton in 2009 and has completed a number of triathlons in between. This IRONMAN will be different. For Johnston, there is no greater thrill than racing on her home turf. “Before my first IRONMAN, I went to Penticton multiple times to watch before I got up the nerve to sign up,” says Johnston, who has been training with local coach Christine Suter. “Having Christine as my coach has made training and preparing very simple,” she says. “I just do what I’m told. When I get in the water on race morning, I know I will be very well prepared. It has been great fun training for this race in Whistler and having people from all over join us on our swims, bikes and runs,” she added. “My strategy is just to enjoy my race and embrace what the day has in store for me. I am hoping that seeing familiar faces will replace some of the pain with a lot of happiness. I know that the only thing I will be able to control on race day is my attitude, so I will smile and stay positive!”

As a result of the event, roads, public transit and parking will see significant impacts in Whistler from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 25, and guests and residents can expect delays. PLAN AHEAD, leave your car at home, and bike or walk on the Valley Trail to get around and enjoy a fun day!

  • Highway 99 northbound from Vancouver to Whistler Village will be open (with some brief delays) on IRONMAN event day, August 25. However, left turns will not be possible until 12:30 p.m. (southbound will be closed until 12:30 p.m.)
  • Highway 99 is fully open to the Callaghan Valley (Whistler Olympic Park turn-off). From the Callaghan Valley to Whistler Village, single-lane northbound travel and minor delays should be expected between 8:30am and 12:30pm.
  • From 12:30pm onward, Highway 99 is completely open from Vancouver to Whistler Village, in both north and southbound lanes.
  • From 1:00pm onward, Highway 99 is open to Pemberton and points northeast.
  • Drivers should expect minor detours and delays throughout the Whistler and Pemberton areas throughout event day. Travel southbound from Pemberton is closed until 4:30pm
  • In addition to these traffic changes, public transit will be significantly impacted from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • The Valley Trail will remain open, however the section used for the event will see heavy competitor traffic.
  • Parking in the Village will be limited, and Day Lot 4 will be closed from August 22-26. Day Lots 6 and 7 will be open and Excalibur Gondola will be running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be no cost to use this service.
  • Parking in Rainbow Park will be closed from August 22-26, and most of Rainbow Park will be used for the event.

Full travel impact details are available at and


Whistler is Canada’s premier year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the Coast Mountains 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Consistently rated the top ski resort in North America, Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The resort offers an extensive range of accommodations totaling 10,000 bedrooms among 24 hotels as well as townhomes, condos, B&Bs and chalets. Whistler also boasts more than 100 restaurants and bars, 200 retail shops, 25 spas and countless activity options from world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking and golf, to hiking, rock climbing, and watersports. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is home to a diverse community of more than 10,000 permanent residents.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, as well as 1.800.WHISTLER and – Whistler’s official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, as well as 1.800.WHISTLER and for Whistler facts, media releases, story starters, local personality profiles and access to images and B-roll.

Broadcasters: Whistler now has the capability to take you live with our enhanced fibre network. The significantly expanded network of more than 200 kilometres of fibre optic cabling throughout the resort allows instant transmission of HD signals to any location at any time. Details on how to access, and book the fibre are available on our media site.

Media Contact
Patricia Westerholm
Manager, Corporate Communications
Tourism Whistler
T: 604.938.2748