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Alta States

Whistler’s changing face – are we doing enough?



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So many choices. So little time. But will the tourists come?

"Good question," says de Jong. "Still, we had our best summer ever last year on the mountain. This year shouldn't be any different. Especially given all our new offerings."

Ahem. Am I the only one? Or has anyone else noticed that last summer's weather was diametrically opposed to this one? By the end of June 2009, we'd already had two extended heat waves. Citizens of the usually-sodden Puget-Fraser Basin (our primary summer rubber-tire market) didn't even have to consult the local weather forecast before making travel plans.

And yes, summer travelers are just as influenced by the weather as winter travelers. And while skiers and riders check the Internet for the latest on the white stuff, campers and hikers and other summer vacationers check it for the big yellow smiley face. Know what I mean?

Alas, that big yellow smiley face has been decidedly lacking on the local front. Still, there's no point in predicting doom and gloom here. Rain or shine, sleet, hail and/or even snow, the folks who visit us this summer will be far more influenced by the way Whistlerites interact with them than whether or not there's a blue rent in that perpetual carpet of grey above us. Let's hope we can all give them the most positive mountain experience we can...


An Alta States news flash : In what can only be considered a no-brainer decision (duh, what took 'em so long?), Alpine Canada announced this week that the country's governing body for all things ski racing finally found a way to draw the fast-growing discipline of ski cross into its fold. "We believe this partnership makes the most sense for the athletes," says Chief Athletics Officer Max Gartner. "Integrating Ski Cross and Alpine will enable the smoothest transitions for athletes who are possibly making the switch. Ultimately, it is aimed at maximizing our ability to create champions in each respective discipline."

Ironic. Isn't it? Here's a sport that was dismissed for years by Canada's ski racing leaders (Ken Read et al) as undisciplined, wild, and ultimately far too dangerous to be taken seriously. Could it be that Alpine Canada is now so desperate to make itself relevant again with youngsters that it is ready to eat crow and allow the ski crossers some respect? Maybe. But I'm sure it also has to do with a certain young ACA alumni from Whistler with an Olympic gold medal around her neck (and the resulting Own The Podium money associated with all things gold). This will be a great "marriage" to follow.