Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of March 23rd

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No. 1 at being over-groomed

Whistler Blackcomb (WB) is ruining our mountains by over-grooming even the black-diamond runs from one side to the other right up against the trees and banks.

Eight to 10 or more grooming passes on every run even mid-week — Ridge Runner which used to be my favourite early-morning run on fresh snow with sometimes five or six untracked runs, but now one run on "corduroy" is enough, and who wouldn't be bored? Plus they are grooming places that used to create a nice challenge while still close to a nicely groomed run. It also encourages people to ski way too fast.

I ski alone most days and do not want to hike out of bounds or ski in the trees just for some of Whistler's great powder. And I am not alone by talking to many guests on the lifts.  We were in Zermatt and Cervinia, Italy, in February (where I skied some of the best shin-deep powder in-bounds on a sunny day) and met a number of people from Germany, Italy and Britain who come to Whistler on a bi-annual basis and we heard the same complaints from them after spending their vacation here last December and in January.  One gentleman claimed they came here for the easy access to powder on runs that his whole family could ski safely, and he wasn't taking his wife and kids into trees especially with all the warnings mountain management has been hyping on their snow phone.  Maybe that's why there have been so many accidents and deaths this year with people without experience going into places they shouldn't for the real powder.

To top it all, Whistler can no longer crow with their disingenuous hype about being green because they are easily burning three or four times more fuel than in past years to over-groom the mountain every night of the week, which makes anything else they do irrelevant! I guess Vail Resorts is using the money they "saved" by laying off over 60 Whistler employees when they took over.

What is the point of all this fresh snow when they leave nothing on the runs for us to experience? Whistler is now No. 1 in North America for boring, taking the title away from boring Vail. Why do you suppose we have been beating Vail out of the No. 1 spot for best mountains for all these years?

The new mountain management doesn't seem to care for the people who buy season passes even though we are the mainstay of the mountain's business. The majority of us are not backcountry skiers but we are still looking for that fresh snow experience we are used to having on these mountains. 

We've lost our great mountains to corporate greed and stupidity!

A. Cutter
Whistler

New thinking on old-growth

In regard to the logging of old-growth trees in our community forest: This issue is bigger than Whistler. It's not just the worry that cutting these trees — some of which are more than 1,000 years old — will affect our tourism economy in the future. It's about what do we value and how to make decisions about industry that reflect those values.

In the short 150 years since Canada was established, most of the accessible old-growth trees in the Sea to Sky have been clearcut logged. New advances in the logging industry have made hard to reach areas of rugged terrain accessible now — but this land is vital ground for animal habitat connectivity.

The Sea to Sky is fast becoming the world-class, nature-based tourism destination the founders of our town dreamed of, and people around the world are realizing B.C. is a haven for the wild world, a place where they can unplug, unwind and reconnect with nature. To accommodate all our new summer visitors, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is doing amazing work with developing new trails on Sproatt Mountain and other areas. Plus, there is the successful work so many businesses and non-profits are doing. For example, due to the work the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative is doing, we now have grizzly bears in the Callaghan. 

How can it make sense to damage our product and work against all these efforts in developing nature-based tourism by cutting old-growth trees that are at the core of our wild West Coast experience?

We know the First Nation partners in the community forest value the high-paying logging jobs, but how many jobs would be lost if we made a decision not to cut old growth?

Perhaps some of the logging jobs could be replaced with well-paying jobs in tree pruning and the essential tree thinning that needs to be done to protect Whistler from wildfires. Ironically, our forest fire risk is very high because almost all the old growth is gone and the second-growth forest is unnaturally dense and therefore more prone to wildfires.

How about replacing some more of the logging jobs with Indigenous-led cultural hikes and foraging tours in the Callaghan? One of the trees in the Callaghan Valley, 10 metres downhill from a cutblock, was core tested to be 1,300 years old. The biodiversity in an old-growth forest is off the charts and irreplaceable.

We need to make decisions that are reflective of our shared values – and I do not meet many who support old-growth logging. What people say is: "Let's work more on our second-growth forest and nature-based tourism."

I ask the RMOW to review this scheduled logging and pull out all the stops to come up with alternatives with our partners in the community forest that better reflect our shared love of this land.

Angela Mellor
Whistler

Please make an effort...

Your publication has become a dumping ground for crypto-liberal bogus myths since the King of all Myths, Justin Trudeau, was elected prime minister of this formerly great country. Whether it be the supposed pay gap between men and women, or global warming/climate change, the myth-makers in this newsmagazine continue to slam a wedge inbetween the citizens of this area who hold actually diverse perspectives on many important issues like the ones I've just mentioned.

Please make an effort to be less biased, as you have me seeing plenty of red after skimming through your most recent myth-based crypto-liberal opinion pieces while I'm at work earning three times less than my younger wife does.

Tyler Cheverie
Whistler

Coffee house success

Pemberton Secondary School would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who came out to the third annual PSS Coffee House. It was a lovely evening of music and storytelling, thanks to some great audience participation. The artists who performed did a wonderful job and entertained a great crowd. We would like to thank Pemberton Rona, Mile One Eating House, Barn Nork, Grimm's Deli, Centennial Café, Lynx Café, Backcountry Pizza, and Pemberton Valley Supermarket for their donations towards this fundraiser for the school library, and we are looking forward to purchasing some new furniture with the money raised. We would also like to thank everyone who purchased a book for the library through our Adopt-a-Book program.

Karen Tomlinson
Pemberton Secondary School

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