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“I drove straight from Sherbrooke to Alta Lake,” he says. “Didn’t stop in the Rockies, didn’t even stop in Vancouver.” It was September of 1971, Andy was 21 years old and the future looked bright indeed. Now if it could only stop raining…
“For the first three weeks I was in Whistler, I didn’t see a thing,” he remembers. “And then the clouds cleared and the mountains suddenly came into view.” There was already snow in the alpine, he tells me, and fingers of white groped their way down the slope. “It was beautiful,” adds Andy. “It was amazing — I was in awe…”
Meanwhile, Bonnie was still finishing school in Vancouver. “I started coming up here in the early ’60’s with my uncle who was an avid fisherman,” she says and laughs. “My mum and my aunt were totally freaked out by the road. No joke, they’d make us kids walk across the old logging bridges because they didn’t think they were safe for cars…”
After finishing high school, Bonnie embarked on a backpacking trip to Europe. “I was in Grindelwald when it hit me,” she says. “Suddenly I realized that I wanted to live in the mountains. Wanted to live in Whistler.” So when she finished college that’s what she did.
She met Andy somewhere in the mid-70s — neither one can agree on the exact date — but they do remember what set it off. “I picked Bonnie up hitchhiking,” says Andy.
“Yeah,” she says. “That’s when you first noticed me… we’d partied together for a whole season!”
They eventually hooked up at a full-moon windsurfing party on Alta Lake. Soon they were a steady couple. “Her personality, her laughter, her energy — she was just a lot of fun to be around,” explains Andy. And then he smiles. “She’s still a lot of fun. We’ve raised a family together, built a business together, and even today, we still try to ski our age together every winter. I guess you could say it’s worked...”
Speaking of work, the guy who cut his builder’s teeth erecting a squatter’s shack on the banks of Fitzsimmons Creek is now one of the most respected high-end builder-cum-designers around. And much of that recognition came about because of one project.