When it comes to taking it all off, Whistler shows up in a big way every year at this time. The Balding for Dollars fundraising event this weekend at the GLC pulled in $21,249 for the cancer programs at BC Children's Hospital. The money was raised by 20 people who had their hair shaved off by the team at the Blackcomb Barber Shoppe.
The biggest fundraiser was also one of the smallest. Nathan Lee, nine, had been cultivating a thick Afro for 19 months in anticipation of this year's event.
According to his mother, his goal was to raise $5,000. Lee Lee said she was worried he'd be disappointed if he didn't raise that amount so she bumped the goal down to $2,500. But when the adjusted goal was achieved she bumped it back up to $5,000.
Nathan and two of his friends, Felix and Kai Schnurr, were becoming pretty fearless about asking for donations once they hit the $2,500 mark. Lee explained that on the day of the event Nathan's tally was at $4,500 so they decided to stroll through the village before the event to collect more money on event day.
"The boys made some signs and we put on some fake Halloween Afros and banged our drums," said Lee. "We started at Marketplace, (went) through the park, all the way down the village to the GLC and we filled up the cup with another two or three hundred (dollars)."
Once the entourage arrived at the GLC they canvassed the patio and collected another $650.
Lee said the team adopted the slogan "The 'fros gonna go" and offered to allow strangers to touch Nathan's hair for five bucks. "They did not really take no for an answer, they were pretty persistent," said Lee.
Organizer Dave Clark confirmed that Nathan raised at least $5,500.
Balding regular Dean Fyfe was first to have his hair shorn, raising more than $500 this year. Leslie Weir took the second sitting, then Rob Phillips, and so it went through the afternoon.
Clark said Matt Soper from Mountain FM was on fire when, out of nowhere, two young fellows at the GLC came forward with one saying he wanted to have his hair shaved.
"It was down to about his shoulders," said Clark. "His buddy was standing with him and he had these really long locks that went down to between his shoulder blades. It was beautiful long, straight, blonde hair – like full rock star."
Clark said the guy with the rock star hair said he'd do it if $200 could be raised for his hair. Soper took to the microphone and started working the crowd to generate the required amount.
"They had the 200 bucks in, I swear, 20 seconds," said Clark. "There were women everywhere. I don't know where they all were before that but it was like a feeding frenzy. Soper couldn't get the money out of their hands fast enough. It was like a rock concert."
Clark estimated the two young guys generated about $600 in three minutes.
He added that something like that happens every year to put the fundraiser over the top. Last year it was the Hairfarmers offering up their beards.
Leslie Weir wasn't the only woman to lose her hair on Sunday. Four women from Mount Currie put on a number of fundraising initiatives before the event. Clark said the Pierre sisters led the effort with their daughter and a niece to bring in more than $1,000.
Clark said two boys under the age of seven also took part. Sam Baker, six, and Tannen Devrisay, five, both had their hair lopped off.