The Whistler RCMP is bumping up service levels on New Year's Eve similar to previous years, with a no tolerance policy in effect for people drinking or drunk in public.
"We feel we have a fairly good formula that we've used in the past and seems to work, so we will continue to use that while being prepared for any eventualities," said Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair of the Whistler RCMP.
"We will be bringing up a lot of extra members and doing roadblocks in various locations at various times. There will be more foot patrols in the village and a larger presence outside the village as well."
LeClair says most of the members coming up to Whistler have been in town before to assist with festivals and previous New Year's celebrations and therefore are familiar with the community. As well, all of the Whistler detachment members are scheduled to work on New Year's Eve.
The RCMP met with local bars and nightclubs last week to discuss New Year's and have met with hotels in the past to warn them about renting rooms to minors without parents present. Highway roadblocks will also ensure that partygoers have accommodation booked.
Access to Whistler Village will be different than usual with family First Night celebrations taking place. Most bars and restaurants hosting parties are selling tickets, which will allow people to travel through security gates in the village. Otherwise only people with First Night tickets will be allowed through. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under, going up to $20 and $10 respectively on New Year's Eve. Children two and under are free.
Some of the highlights this year include live music from Scatterheart and Joe Roncetti, street entertainers, a craft booth, fire spinners and dancers, a Fire and Ice ski and snowboard show at the base of the mountain with a torch light parade down the mountain, an early kids New Year at 9:30 p.m. and an under 19 dance party that gets underway at 6:30 p.m. and runs past midnight. Full details are at www.whistlerfirstnight.com.
Getting around town can be a challenge, and residents and visitors are being encouraged to use public transportation - which is free for the evening.
As usual there are some changes for the Whistler and Valley Express schedule. Regular bus service will take place from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., stopping service from 11 p.m. until midnight in order to ensure that enough buses are available when the village begins to empty out. If you're heading to the village or anywhere in Whistler you might have to leave early.
No alcohol is allowed on buses.