With a vertical drop of about 500 feet, the Whistler track, home to bobsled, skeleton and luge, is the world's steepest.
The Whistler Sliding Centre will host all bobsled, luge and skeleton events during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The venue, which holds 12,000 spectators, is located on Blackcomb Mountain, just below the 7th Heaven ski area of the resort. It is nine miles from the the Athletes Village.
On November 15, 2004, VANOC announced that it had hired Stantec Architectural Limited, the designers of the 2002 Olympic sliding track, to provide the detail design and site master plan of the Whistler Sliding Centre. Construction began on June 1, 2005, after the design had received environment approval from the Canadian Environment Assessment Act.
The sliding centre used 385 tons of concrete, 62 miles of ammonia refrigeration steel piping, 700 lights, 600 awnings and 7.5 miles of steel conduit.
The course is 1450m (4757 feet) long, has an average grade of 11.6%, a vertical drop of 152m (499 feet), 16 corners and G-forces approaching five G's. The vertical drop is the largest of any sliding track in the world. At the top of the track, the elevationis 3,077 feet; at the bottom, 2,579.
Bobsled and skeleton will race down the entire course. Ice thickness will be 2cm to 5cm (about ¾ of an inch to two inches). There will be 36 on-track video cameras and 42 "timing eyes."
The Whistler Sliding Centre was one of the venues which went over the original budget. At the time of its Olympic bid, VANOC had budgeted the Centre to cost approximately $45 million. In June 2006, VANOC announced that it had underestimated the cost of construction and supplies for the Centre. The new budget was re-estimated to being closer to $83 million, and the governments of British Columbia and Canada agreed to jointly fund the construction.
The first run took place on December 19, 2007 with Canadian driver Pierre Lueders - who won two-man gold in 1998 and two-man silver in 2006 - and his brakeman Justin Kripps. Public self-guided walking tours ran July 3 through August 31, 2008. Training took place throughout the fall of 2008, and the first World Cup competition took place in February 2009.
After the Olympic Games, the Whistler Sliding Centre will be operated under the direction of the Whistler Legacies Society, supported by the endowment trust established by the provincial and federal governments as part of the Vancouver Games venues investment.