Winter Safety at Whistler Olympic Park
The safety of our guests, athletes and staff is of utmost importance to us. We hope you find the following information useful. If you have any questions or concerns about safety when you are using the Park, please do not hesitate to contact one of our staff members. For additional information about safety in the Park please contact us.
Key Safety Factors
- In an emergency, call (778) 228-4586 during Park operating hours or 911 for 24-hour coverage
- Park gates will close at 4.30 pm. All visitors and vehicles, including backcountry users, must have exited the Park before this time or a costly rescue search will be initiated
- Please obey Park signage
- Ski, snowshoe, and enjoy responsibly
Helmets are not mandatory when skiing in the Park, but are required for certain specialized activities including, but not limited, to ski jumping (required for all ages) and tobogganing (required for ages 18 and under and recommended for adults).
There are certain areas of the Park that pose an avalanche risk. If you choose to travel through an avalanche prone area, avoid large, steep, lee bowls, gullies, and cornices and choose safer routes: ridge tops, valley floors, dense timber, and low-angle slopes.
Further minimize your risk by:
- Not having more than one person in an avalanche prone area at any time.
- Not stopping in the middle of the area.
- Watching each person in the area and staying in voice contact.
- Having a plan: knowing who is going first, where to stop and where the escape route is.
While the Park provides access to the backcountry, the Park is not responsible for the safety of any persons using the backcountry. For more information about backcountry access click here.
Overnight parking is not permitted in the Park. In the event that the owner of a vehicle is unable to be located within the Park, the Park will contact the RCMP who will in turn contact the appropriate search-and-rescue organizations.
If you are planning to travel in the backcountry, minimize your risk by:
- Leaving word with a reliable person regarding your proposed route and expected return time.
- Researching the route and its hazards: known slide paths, cornices, cliffs, crevasses.
- Checking the weather and avalanche danger and having an alternative trip choice available.
- Considering group makeup; beacon compatibility, experience, fitness level and group size.
- Carrying and knowing how to use an avalanche rescue beacon, a shovel, a probe or probe ski poles.
Ski Callaghan Signage
The following signs are displayed in the Park, please take time to understand them and follow their directions. It is your responsibility to know where you are at all times.
Ski Area Boundary
This sign indicates the edge of the Park. Any activity undertaken outside the Park is done at your own risk. This area is not patrolled. It is also important to be aware that although they are not signposted, any area “off trail” in the Park is also not patrolled.
This sign indicates areas within the Park that are temporarily unsafe due to snow conditions and natural or man-made hazards. Only staff members are permitted inside these areas. Persons found in these areas will have their access privileges revoked. These areas are not patrolled.
This sign indicates areas within the Park that are permanently closed. Only staff members are permitted inside these areas. Persons found in these areas will have their access privileges revoked. These areas are not patrolled.
Avalanche Prone Area
This sign indicates areas within the Park where the terrain presents a risk of avalanche.
A color–shape rating system is used to indicate the difficulty of groomed trails within the Park. The rating classifies a given trail according to its relative difficulty when compared with other trails in the Park. Although slope gradient is the primary consideration in assigning a trail rating, other factors come into play — including trail width, normal snow conditions and how frequently the trail is groomed. It is recommended that all skiers, of all ability levels, work their way up from an easy trail so that they can become familiar with the rating system in the Park.
All trails are two-way unless signed otherwise.
Green Circle / Easy
The green circle indicates a relatively easy trail appropriate for novices with basic climbing and descending skills. This type of trail is predominantly flat with gradual hills and long straight run outs. Neverland trail is suitable for absolute beginners with very limited hill climbing and descending abilities.
Blue Square / Intermediate
The blue square indicates an intermediate grade of trail that is appropriate for all skiers with competent climbing and descending skills. Blue trails have steeper climbs and descents than novice or “green” trails making them more physically demanding. Blue trails often require cornering and descending together and therefore require more skill to maneuver than novice trails.
Black Diamond / Advanced
The black diamond indicates an advanced trail. These trails are appropriate for all skiers that have well developed climbing and descending skills. A black trail will require precise maneuvering on hills with tight and high speed cornering. Advanced trails are the most physically demanding with significant change in elevation.
Tobogganing & Ski Play Areas
There are dedicated tobogganing and ski play areas within the Park. All children must be supervised by an adult when using either of these areas and must adhere to the following rules when using the tobogganing area. All sliders must adhere to the following rules when using the toboggan area:
- All children must be supervised by an adult
- All sliders 18 and under must wear CSA approved helmets; helmets are strongly recommended for all sliders
- All sleds must be free of sharp edges or broken parts
- Sliders must wait until the previous slider has exited the out run before commencing their run
- It is recommended that sliders go down the slope facing forward, feet first
- Sliders must exit the hill with their toboggan immediately upon finishing their run
- Sliders are not permitted to walk back up the hill on the Blue Slope; sliders must use the designated path
- Solo sliders must be 5 years of age or older
There are dedicated trails within the Park for snowshoeing, walking, or skiing with pets. Please be aware that on these trails pets may be on- or off-leash. In addition, certain parking areas have been designated as “multi-use”. These are the only areas that pets are permitted in the Park. The following rules are in place to protect the health and safety of all Park users.
Rules for Pets and their Owners
- All pets brought into the Park need to have a season or day “Pet Pass” attached to their collar.
- All pets are required to be “on-leash” when in the “multi-use” parking areas.
- A maximum of two pets is permitted per user while on the multi-use trails.
- Pets are required to be under the control of their owner at all times while in the Park.
- Owners are required to bag and remove all pet waste from the trails and parking lots.
- All reports of aggressive or noisy pets will be taken seriously and investigated. Any pet accused of biting another pet, Park user or causing damage to Park or Park-user property will have its access privileges immediately and permanently withdrawn.
Cross-Country Responsibility Code
The points listed in the Cross-Country Responsibility Code are the “rules of the road” when you are in the Park. The primary safety consideration, and obligation under the Cross-Country Responsibility Code, is to ski in a controlled and responsible manner. Failure to follow the Cross-Country Responsibility Code may result in withdrawal of access privileges.
There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decide to use the trails, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience.
- Always check posted trail conditions.
- Ski in the direction indicated and obey all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails.
- Always ski to the right when meeting on-coming skiers and when skiing on double track.
- Yield the track to faster skiers and skiers calling 'track'.
- Ski in control. On two-way trails, descending skiers have the right-of-way.
- Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible to others. Move off the track quickly if you fall or during rest stops.
- Do not litter. Take out what you pack in. Respect all property.
- Report all incidents.
The Park also recommends that you never ski alone. Know the Code — Be safety conscious. It is your responsibility.