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Whistler Voices: Notes From All Over



Despite the litany of criticism I’ve received in recent weeks for my “anti-Intrawest” stance — and I’ll re-iterate: I don’t “hate” Intrawest, I just don’t buy into its propaganda blindly — those who have read my stories over the last 25 years know that I’ve always celebrated the magical confluence of geography and humanity that makes this Coast Mountain valley such a unique place in which to live and work.

But it’s only when I take the time to review some of the past Alta States stories that the wisdom of Whistlerites really jumps out at me. Here are a few samples from the last few months to get you thinking:

Ace McKay Smith on local event production: “Everything is getting so serious. You put on a ski event these days and it’s all about sponsors and prize money and photo ops and professional athletes. There’s no slush cups or restaurant races anymore, stuff that’s just for fun… After all, it wasn’t that long ago that organizing a ski event was just an excuse for having a big party…”

David Brownlie on the hiring of Bill Jensen as the new boss of Intrawest. “It only confirms for me that the mountain resort business is back in the forefront (of Intrawest business) where it belongs. At least I don’t have to worry that we’re going to be transformed into a high-end spa or anything like that…”

Charlie Doyle on growth and development. “There seems to be a belief among certain Whistlerites that you can build yourself out of your problems. But that’s just not the case. Just look at us. We’ve created this ever-hungry monster that needs to be fed all the time — at the expense of a way of life that drew most of us here in the first place. I mean, does the machine feed us or are we doomed to keeping the machine fed?

“When is enough really enough? If we’re not careful, if we continue to put stuff in here at the rate we have, we’re going to paint ourselves into a corner. My guess is that someday, perhaps during our next inevitable downturn, we’ll be pressured into accepting gambling or whatever the saviour of the day happens to be. You know, gotta keep that machine fed…”

Jorge Alvarez on his reasons for loving Whistler: “I love the rain that gives us our powder snow in winter and our magical green forests and the amazing community of people who live here. I love the loonie races where 350 people come out to compete on locally-built trails and I love skiing Peak-to-Creek and backcountry touring and going up the Callaghan and having the longest ski season in North America. That’s what makes us famous. Not the Starbucks or the McDonald’s or any of that other urban crap. It’s all about the beauty of the local mountains, man. That’s what makes Whistler special and unique…”

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