My cousins from Toronto came over to ski and snowboard at Whistler over the last month. I had the opportunity to pick up skiing again and accompany them up at Whistler a few times.
Whistler Blackcomb is pretty big, so one would usually look at a map to find suitable runs. This is a sample of what is provided in the “Mountain Atlas”:
It looks nice and is mostly useful. But for all the map geeks out there, can we find anything better?
Turns out that Google Maps conveniently has the ski runs in its map. But there’s more: Google Maps in Terrain mode shows the contour lines like a topographic map!
Beautiful! The top-down view makes it easy to see the actual orientation of the run and “behind” the mountains, and the contour lines makes the rate of descent visible. So from here you can see there is a green run from the Peak—Mathew’s Traverse—whereas it’s not depicted on the trail map.
How do you get to the map?
Here’s the link: Google Maps Terrain @ Whistler
Alternatively you can search for the location you want in Google Maps, then open the menu at the top left, then select “Terrain” mode.
While I was in Toronto these past few days, I got a chance to see two of Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) newest transit vehicles.
For those unfamiliar with public transportation in the Greater Toronto Area, a number of transit authorities provide local transit service within different regions in the GTA. The TTC provides transportation services within the Toronto proper, including the subways, streetcars and bus service. I suppose a more detailed introduction to the different public transportation services would be ideal in a separate post.
The articulated buses
The first were the Nova Bus LFS articulated buses. These buses, introduced mid-last year, were the first articulated buses in the TTC fleet since 2003. This one was seen on the #7 Bathurst line.
I must give credit to an Android app called Transit Now Toronto for helping me find out when the articulated buses were coming down the line. I actually did not realize that TTC had real-time arrival data available, so actually I spent half the time trying to find these buses the “old-school way”.
The new streetcars
The second was one of the new streetcars. This was a bit of a lucky catch as I was at Bathurst station originally looking for the Nova Bus articulated buses. When I was coming up from the subway as I saw the streetcar demonstrator pulling through the streetcar loop. I would have liked to chase it further for better photos, but my time was constrained.
The new Toronto streetcars are built by Bombardier, and are similar to the ones that were demonstrated here in Vancouver during the Olympics. A fleet of 204 Flexity Outlook units have been ordered and are replacing the aging fleet of CLRV and ALRV streetcars that were built in the 1970s and 1980s.
On an unrelated topic, the weather in Toronto was very forgiving while I was there. I was hoping to see some real snow fall, but the weather turned out to be “relatively warm” (by Toronto standards); on some days it was even sunny. So before my flight back, my cousin took me to the largest (manmade) snow mound he knew of. I climbed on top of it just for kicks.