She considers herself a true coastal kid. A child of mountain and sea. But to me, she's a lot more than that. She's the future.
Meaning? Just watch her. She's as comfortable negotiating her dad's secret mountain lines in winter as she is nudging the family boat into the rocky shores of her island home in summer. She's cool and competent and funny and strong. Can mix it up with the guys and easily hold her end in most situations. And when things get really tight - when everyone else's pulse is jumping and other people are looking to bail - she usually still has a big grin on her face.
But don't mistake that dimpled smile for complacency. For Mackenzie Patterson is one competitive young woman. Doesn't matter the challenge - whether it's flying from Tyler Massey's monster lakeside swing or cleaning a particularly nasty downhill puzzle on her bike - the former elite ski racer can usually be found smack in the thick of things.
"I guess I'm kinda of an all-or-nothing gal," admits the popular 17-year-old. And then she laughs. "It's gotten me in a fair bit of trouble too." She shrugs. "But nothing to-o-o-o big..."
That's what I love about Whistler. To paraphrase my mentor Dr Seuss:
I've said it before and I'll say it again
The ladies of Whistler have something, my friends.
They're braver, they're stronger, they're crazy as coots.
They're mountain-mad divas; grrl-warriors with roots.
They can climb, ski and ride; bears don't scare them one bit
And they don't take no talk back; watch out, they can hit...
Ah. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, Mackenzie Patterson. Born and raised in Whistler. A proud member of the Graduating Class of 2011. And by the sounds of it, one very busy young woman these days.
"It's kind of crazy right now," she says in the breathless way that only a teenager can manage. "I mean, I've got all this grad stuff happening. And I'm studying for my finals. And I want good marks there to get into college and stuff, so it's important for me to prepare, you know. But there's so many social events right now and I'm one of the prom historians so I'm collecting all these stories from people and that's fun too and..."
Oh to be a high school graduate again...
I know. I know. So easy to get falsely nostalgic about those times. And so easy to focus on the light side of growing up in this valley. Life as a Whistler teenager isn't always fun and games. There's lots of stress - just like anywhere else. Lots of pressure too.