"You can write whatever you want [about those days] - because it's all true."
It was everything he'd expected it to be. An impossible, outlandish, unimaginable fantasy-come-true. After all, Whistler in 1979 was still a wild mountain town on the edge of nowhere. For the small band residents, the skiing was kick-ass to the max.
But it was more than just the skiing. Young people dominated the valley's affairs in those days. Authority was a long way downhill. Imagine - the village hadn't been built yet. Back then Alta Lake was still the postal address. For better or worse, it was one of the last great ski bum redoubts in the west. And the people who lived it knew they were living something special.
"I shoudda moved up there earlier," says Gordy Rox, a near-dreamy tone overlaying his words. "To get to Whistler and realize it was even better than I expected - hell! It made me really wonder why I waited so long to get my butt up there..."
No matter. Roxy and his buddy So (Shawn Hughes) immediately set about making up for lost time. "I was a member of the '79 UIC Ski Team," says Gordy with just a hint of a smirk. "I skied every day that winter." He stops for a moment. Grins again. It's clear he's enjoying our talk. "Except of course," he continues, "when I'd hitchhike down to the city every two weeks to sign my unemployment cheque."
And to the obvious question: "No way man," he guffaws. "You couldn't get your cheques forwarded to Whistler. The authorities would know right away then..."
Gordy had always been into cartooning. As a young teenager he'd even created his own character, Paul K. Reefer. "I was a huge fan of the Freak Bros. and all the other so-called 'underground' comics of the 70s," he says. "You know, dope, music, sex..."
He laughs again. "They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, the Freak Bros. came from the Marx Brothers. And the Peak Bros. just followed behind."
So how did it all begin? "A little while after I moved to Whistler, I heard about this new local magazine called The Answer ," recounts Gordy. "So I figured: 'Hey, I've gotta get hold of a copy.' And when I did - wow! I loved that bold hippie rag."
Quick review for those who need it: A hand-printed, irreverent, happy-go-lucky publication that sought to give voice to the valley's counter-culture, The Answer provided a quirky, offbeat (but intelligent) look at Whistler life in its early years.