History may associate 2008 with terms like “economic meltdown,”
“financial crisis,” “bailout” and even “prorogue,” but there were still some
good things about the year just ending.
There were a number of openings in Whistler this year,
including the library, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, the Peak 2 Peak
Gondola, several new businesses, a compost facility and the first (one hopes
annual) Pemberton Festival. These and other events were remembered by readers
when they voted for the Best of Whistler 2008.
“Shhh, don’t let anyone here know,” said Tom Thomson, a twinkle
in his eye, after finding out he was voted Favourite Whistlerite.
“What an outstanding community I live in that people could even
begin to consider someone like myself.
“I don’t know what I have done to earn it. There is a community
of like-minded people out there who deserve the same honour, because they all
You have probably seen Thomson’s white beard or heard his deep,
gruff voice around town.
Not only did he get more votes than anyone else running for
council in this year’s municipal election, his first time as a candidate, but
the community man continues his involvement with Crankworx, WORCA, The Ken Quon
Memorial, the village host program, the lodge host program on Blackcomb, and
the local art scene (following in the footsteps of his namesake, he jokes).
Oh, and Thomson has also been the local Santa Claus for a
number of years.
“Don’t write that though, because then the kids will know,” he
says as another smile lights up his face.
Thomson first came to Whistler in 1968 and slept on a floor
most of the winter season. He was hooked. Even though he had a teaching career
in Vancouver, Thomson found ways to still be involved in the Whistler community.
And when he retired, he knew exactly where he was going: into the Whistler home
he built in the 1980s.
Most extreme thing to do
In an adrenaline-fueled town, situated underneath two
jaw-dropping mountains, finding something extreme to do is easy. If you
actually have the guts to do it… Well, that is the hard part.
But whether via helicopter, in the backcountry, off a cliff,
down a chute, through a bowl, blindfolded, naked, backwards or with a broken
ankle, the majority of 2008 voters agree that the best way to push your limits
is skiing and riding through some nice white stuff.