Massive New Ski Resort Gets Approval In British Columbia

Jumbo Mountain will be home to a new year-round ski resort in British ColumbiaGovernment officials in British Columbia recently approved a plan to build a massive new ski resort in the province’s Purcell Mountains. When complete, the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort will be one of the largest ski areas in all of North America and will become the first on the continent to operate year-round.

It is estimated that it will take approximately two years and $900 million to complete the project, which is expected to open for Christmas 2014. When it does open, Jumbo will stretch across nearly 15,000 acres and will feature 23 lifts. Eventually it will also have as many 5500 rooms for on-site guest accommodations. Its unique location on the Jumbo Glacier will be one of its defining characteristics of course, as that will provide for four-season skiing and snowboarding.

The new project has been in the planning stages for more than 20 years and has been met with resistance from those living close to the new development. Some fear that it will alter the natural landscape and have an adverse effect on the wildlife in the Jumbo Valley where it will be built. As a result, a special grizzly bear protection and management program had to be created before the resort was given the green light and developers had to meet 195 environmental commitments before receiving the seal of approval. When it is completed, Jumbo is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the region on a yearly basis, creating jobs and additional revenue in the process.

I personally know a number of skiers who would love to have the ability to hit the slopes in the dead of summer and in a few years they’ll have that option.

Video of the Day: Paraplegic girl bungee jumps in Whistler

Traveling with disabilities poses its own set of challenges. However, challenges can be overcome. That’s what makes this video so inspiring. Not one to let her paralysis keep her from enjoying an adventure, this paraplegic woman bungee jumped – with her wheelchair – off a bridge in Whistler, BC. The next time you’re feeling skittish about hitting the road, trying something new or testing your limits, remember this girl. I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass.
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Hotel in Vancouver, Canada, puts a new spin on in-room iPads

hotel No need to worry about tipping your tour guide on your next trip to Vancouver, Canada, as the OPUS Vancouver hotel has recently added iPads to each of their 96 guest rooms to act as personal tour guides of the city. While the trend of adding tablets to hotel rooms is not a new concept, the OPUS adds a new spin by having the technology reflect the guests’ personality and show them around the city.

First, guests choose their rooms based on what they like: Red Modern and Minimalist, Blue Stylish and Sophisticated, Green Artful and Eclectic, Orange Vibrant and Outgoing, or Taupe Daring and Dramatic. Your in-room iPad concierge and guide will then give you a personalized tour of the city based on your personality. To make these fictional guides more human, they’ve been given names, professions, and home cities. Guides include:

  • Pierre, a food and wine critic from Paris
  • Billy, a cultured rock star from London
  • Susan, a fashion executive from Toronto
  • Mike, a doctor from New York
  • Dede, an actress and prima donna from Los Angeles

And no need to worry about Wi-Fi as the virtual guides work offline, as well. For more information, click here. To get to know the tour guides a little bit better, you can also visit the OPUS Hotels’ Blog to read some posts written by the fictional characters.

Photo of the Day: Western skies

There’s something indescribably calming about looking over a body of water at sunrise. Flickr user James Wheeler captures this feeling in today’s Photo of the Day, taken at 6 a.m. from an old pier in the West Point Grey district of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The image’s quality is partially thanks to Wheeler’s Nikon D5000, but the scenery doesn’t hurt either.

Does your photo belong here? Upload your favorite travel shots to the Gadling Group Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

Burgess Shale online exhibition brings 500 million year-old sea back to life

Burgess Shale
The Burgess Shale in British Columbia, Canada, preserves an amazing collection of fossils of sea creatures from the Cambrian period. This was a time dating from 488 to 542 million years ago, when complex creatures were beginning to evolve but before the dinosaurs existed.

Some of the creatures were pretty strange, like the Anomalocaris canadensis pictured above in this image courtesy Nobu Tamura. The name means “strange shrimp of Canada”. Another is the Marella splendens, shown below in this image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. These little guys are the most common animal found in the Burgess Shale.

Fossils from the Burgess Shale can be seen in museums around the world, and now the Royal Ontario Museum and Parks Canada have created the Burgess Shale online exhibition. The exhibition has a fossil library of almost every species ever found in the shale, along with information about how they lived. Most interesting are the animated reconstructions, including a virtual submarine ride to visit sea life half a billion years ago.

More than 70 digital reconstructions of the animals allow you to examine them closely. You’ll see how many modern animals such as snails, sea stars, and crabs had their origins in this remote era. These real-life monsters are a great educational tool for kids. My son was fascinated.

If you want to see the Burgess Shale for yourself, go to Yoho National Park in British Columbia. Guided hikes to the otherwise restricted fossil beds, which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are available from July to September

Burgess Shale