The only constant in Whistler is change It may not be a pleasant thought to those who are still mentally prepared for summer, but winter is not far away. Some of the deciduous trees began to change colour this week, there was snow on the peaks of the higher mountains (when the clouds parted enough that they could be seen) and some mornings it was cold enough to wear gloves. The fall issues of ski magazines begin to arrive next week and season passes go on sale Labour Day. Down in Vancouver, some stores have had ski equipment on display for more than a week. Fall can be arguably the most glorious time of year in Whistler, when the sun comes out; it can also be the most miserable, when it doesn’t. Regardless of the weather, it is probably the busiest time of year — not for visitors, but for locals and businesses preparing for the American Thanksgiving and the start of the ski season. In the 11 weeks between Labour Day and the American Thanksgiving new buildings have to be finished, renovations have to be done, new stock inventoried and put in place, staff hired, accommodation found and general preparations for the winter finalized. This fall will see more frantic preparations than usual, as the dozens of new stores and restaurants in Village North scramble to be ready for the first ride up. Some established businesses will also be doing some scrambling, to prepare for the increased competition this winter. The exponential growth of Whistler Village, leapfrogging Village Gate Boulevard and turning the once pedestrian village into a retail marathon, has been anticipated and planned for years, but how it will affect the traffic patterns and spending habits of people remains to be seen. The only constant in Whistler is change. But all that lies in the weeks ahead. There may still be a few days of sunshine left in this summer.