“Whistler, huh? You guys have got a lot of strategies going
on up there. Are you getting anything done?”
He’s not the only one to ask that question, but the man who posed it immediately following an introduction last month may have summed up Whistler for 2006.
His tone suggested he was at least a little dubious about the path Whistler — as he understood it — was following, but that wasn’t to say that Whistler has got it all wrong. It was more of a shot across the bow; a verbal warning that there needs to be more action than formulation of strategies in 2007. And he is right.
That doesn’t mean that 2006 was a lost year. Indeed, by 2005’s standards the year just ending was a veritable Manhattan project. But 2005 was not a hard act to follow. It was a hard act to clean up after, but not hard to follow. So, in the dieing days of 2006, a little reflection on what the last 12 months have meant to Whistler.
To start with, in a mountain resort where snow goes a long way toward determining the success of the winter season and sunshine is key to summer, 2006 has been a banner year for weather. Not only was there snow in the winter months, at both ends of the year, and sunshine in the summer, but potential disasters such as forest fires and avalanches were mercifully avoided. Whistler was truly blessed by Ullr, Apollo and the absence of whoever is in charge of natural disasters in 2006, and it made us all look good.
And while it may be tempting fate to mention it, eastern North America and Europe have had little to no snow so far this winter, which should lead to more business coming Whistler’s way.
Globally, weather and climate are likely to become even bigger stories in 2007. The fact that ski racers and cycling teams are now among the concerned groups buying carbon credits and planting trees to offset the greenhouse gases they produce is further indication that climate change may finally be reaching the tipping point where meaningful action will be taken by senior levels of government.
Whistler Mountain’s new Symphony chairlift is another example. Its location was at least partially determined by fears that climate change may mean less snow at lower elevations.
But from a shorter-term perspective, the new $9.5 million lift is another positive outcome of 2006 that helped create a bit of a buzz to start the ski season and will enhance the skiing experience for years to come.