As one former chamber of commerce president used to say, the best thing about the World Cup is how it brings the community together. But regardless of whether this year’s races come off or not — and it would be foolish to bet against the people determined to pull it off — this year’s efforts have reached a whole new level. Consider: o Snowmaking crews have spent a solid month -— no days off — turning 14 million gallons of water into snow on the course. o Because of the lack of snow beside the race course, organizers were told last week they needed more safety fences or B systems. The specially made poles that hold the systems up cost $26 each; another 1,000 were ordered from New York and air-freighted to Vancouver over the weekend so they could be installed Tuesday. o Normally those poles are stuck in the snow, but since there isn’t much of that hydraulic hammer drills, powered by compressors mounted on the back of snowcats, were used to drill holes in the mountain itself. Both sides of the 3 km course are double or triple lined with safety systems. o Because the snow doesn’t go below the Timing Flats workers have to be driven from the bottom of the mountain to the course. Interfor is providing the crummies to transport workers. o Until Wednesday, no skis had touched the course, meaning all the work up to that point had been done by people walking up and down the course. o It may be difficult to find a wooden pallet in the valley, as most of them are now covering creeks and hollows in the downhill course. Blackcomb Helicopters flew most of the pallets, caches of safety equipment and port-a-potties (once up the mountain, workers couldn’t come down until the end of the day) into place on the mountain. o Black Tusk Helicopters of Garibaldi Highlands is on standby to bring in its big logging helicopter to patch the course with snow, if needed. The chopper is capable of carrying six tons of snow from a glacier at one time. What is emerging from this list is the profile of a community — and that includes the entire corridor — that won’t be denied. Despite the fact there is almost no natural snow, the most fundamental element for a ski race, despite the logistics of preparing the course when there’s no snow, and despite those who have questioned the entire festival, the people of Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish and Vancouver are making it happen. The effort going into this event, which includes all the festival activities and hosting the media, as well as the race itself, defines who we are. It brings together full-time Whistler residents, seasonal employees from around the world, professionals, forest industry people and staff from Whistler Mountain. If there is a challenge before this community, it responds. If there’s a new standard of excellence to be met, it exceeds it. This event is about Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.