It’s easy to get down. Especially during a season like this one. Nose-diving economies. Global conflicts. Crazy weather. Even crazier politics. Can you say ‘the country is going to hell in a handbasket’? And it’s no better at the local level. I mean, what about lifts to nowhere that get promoted with great hype while lifts to somewhere ‘freeze up’ and nearly kill people? Insane. It almost makes you want to throw up your arms in despair and move to southern climes.
But not really. For the mountains — those wonderful, natural, soul-defining sentinels — are still there, high above our heads, beckoning us to aim as high as we can with our dreams and goals. That’s why I’m not too worried about Whistler’s future. Sure the carpetbaggers may pack up and go off in search of new hosts to infest. No surprise there: as the Whistler business climate gets tougher, the poseurs are sure to make themselves scarcer. But the people of this community — your neighbours, your friends, your teammates and colleagues — are far too resilient to give up that easily.
There’s just too much to love. As anyone who’s spent any time here knows: this is but another turn in the cosmic (dare I say karmic?) Whistler-Boom-And-Bust wheel. This too will pass. The Olympics will come. The Olympics will go. Whistler will remain. Doesn’t mean the next little while isn’t going to hurt. Doesn’t mean there won’t be tears spilt and sweat invested and dreams quashed. But the community will survive. Stronger, funnier probably, and with a much greater appreciation for life.
Here are some Christmas wishes from a gaggle of local Snoweaters. You might want to listen up. They have a lot of thoughtful things to say…
Photographer Bonny Makarewicz is one of the happiest, wisest people I know. She made this suggestion nearly three years ago. Her message is even more relevant today: “I think people here should take a moment every day to look around and see — really see — the beauty around them. We’re not at war. We’re not starving. And nobody is beating us up for our political views. In fact, we’re pretty well off by any standard you care to measure us by. We should be thankful for our good fortune…”
Brad Sills learned an important Olympic lesson while working up at Callaghan Lodge last spring. His encounter with a group of young biathletes there made him suddenly realize just where the magic resided. “You have to look deeper than ‘what’s in it for me’,” he says. “If you’re looking for a return from the Games, the only place you’ll ever find it is in the hearts and souls of the competitors. My recommendation: get to know the athletes this year, support them any way you can but most importantly… share their journey! It is this investment that will reap the real reward of hosting the Olympics.”