If you haven’t tried Franz’s run on Whistler Mountain, you’re missing out. The run’s namesake, Franz Wilhelmsen, widely considered the founding father of Whistler, was like the trail: deep, complex, and following a winding path.

The Norwegian business man who immigrated to Canada in 1941 – with his original goal to develop Fisherman’s Cove in Vancouver – made his mark when he hosted International Ski Federation pros in 1960 to search for a suitable area to host the 1968 Winter Olympics. In the following years, Franz and The Garibaldi Lift Company quickly galvanized Vancouverites when it opened the gates to the now mega-resort in February 1966. The buzz took ahold immediately, with flocks of people coming to take in the area’s rugged fishing, wilderness and, of course, skiing, in its Whistler abundance, rivaling its European counterparts like Zermatt, Val d’Isère and St. Anton. Although Wilhelmsen passed away in 1998 from cancer, his vision inspired today’s Whistler that is enjoyed by millions each year.

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