Opinion » Alta States

Alta States

Celebrating the human factor

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Speaking of challenges, she met her future husband, Grant Lamont, during the great flood of 1991. “I’d seen him around at Loonie races and such,” she recounts, “but it wasn’t until the flood closed the roads, and we were all hanging out together at the Boot Pub that we were properly introduced.”

Caroline admits that meeting the colourful and eclectic Lamont changed the course of her life. “Up until that point, I still thought of myself as a temporary resident of Whistler. I still had my job in Toronto and I had always planned to go back there. But Grant introduced me to a whole new community here — the bikers and ski bums and mountain people who had nothing to do with the muni or its politics. It really broadened my world.”

She continued to work for the municipality until her son, Mahon, was born in 1996. Soon after, the family decided to move to Colorado, where Caroline had been offered the job of Director of Planning Services for the City of Steamboat Springs. “It was a great experience,” she says of her work stint in America. “That’s where I learned the importance of encouraging employees to grow and develop.” She smiles. “Nobody has all the answers. The only way you can make sure you’re covered is to surround yourself with people who are curious, energetic — and aren’t afraid to ask questions!”

But Canada was never far away from her heart. “Grant wasn’t able to get a work visa in the U.S., and I was soon pregnant with our daughter, Caleigh,” she explains. “Besides — we’d only planned to go for a couple of years. And we really missed Whistler.” They returned home in 1999. “We hadn’t been gone all that long,” she says, “but we soon discovered just how much things had changed while we were away. Everything had become so up-market. No more duct tape on our friends’ ski pants. No more old gear. It seemed like everyone had totally bought in and benefited from Whistler’s new role as the leading mountain resort in North America.”