Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In just a few days, the events in Vancouver and Whistler will be kicking off. The world’s best skiers and snowboarders will be taking to the slopes at Whistler Mountain, tearing down the mountain at world record speeds or gracefully navigating a slalom course. You can view the terrain in stunning 3D detail in Google Earth, and we recently added 3D models for all 9 competition venues, but I couldn’t help myself from wondering if there was a way to help you get even closer to the action. If our Street View cars can help you experience the Champs-Élysées and the Street View trike can transport you to Stonehenge, why can’t we take you up 7,000 feet to the Whistler ski runs? I started brainstorming with a few of my teammates just a couple of months ago, and we came up with the perfect solution:
Yes, you are indeed looking at a snowmobile equipped with our full Street View camera system. In typical scrappy Google fashion, we were able to put this together over the course of a few weekends using extra pieces for our Street View cars, some 2x4s, some duct tape, and a lot of extra hard drives (keeping them running properly in the freezing conditions was one of our major concerns). We got in touch with the folks at Whistler Blackcomb Mountains and Whistler Resort Municipality to discuss our slightly crazy idea, and fortunately they were just as enthusiastic. In fact, they even suggested we also photograph the roads and paths of Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside, so we piled the snowmobile and a trike into a trailer and made our way up to Whistler:
As of today, the imagery from this special collection is available in Google Maps, letting anyone around the world see the same view down the mountain as a world-class skier about to push off on their quest for gold:
Dave Murray Downhill (site of the men's alpine skiing event), from the top of the 7th Heaven Chairlift on Blackcomb, and from the peak of Whistler. We also have imagery of Whistler Village, gathered with our trike:
Along the way, we also filmed ourselves a bit, so you can take a look at this video to see how this whole project came together and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of our snowmobile up at Whistler:
Elsewhere around the world, today we’ve also added Street View imagery of Norway and Finland - two countries that you’ll be seeing represented well on the slopes - and we’ve expanded our coverage all across Canada, this year's host country.
To learn more about other ways to explore the games with Google, visit the Official Google Blog and our website at www.google.com/games10.