Day in, day out, long weekend or not, frontline workers in Whistler make sure the resort wheels keep turning so visitors and residents alike can have a good time.
They help you find those just-right shorts for a lost day at Lost Lake; they can point out every hiking trail when Uncle Dave and Aunt Germaine visit; they run your eggs benedict to the table when the servers are overwhelmed. And they do it all with a genuine smile.
To salute these front-line workers, I asked a few of them to describe their idea of "fun," "food" and "summer" when they finally get off work and want to relax and chill out after dishing out our fun. Here are their stories.
From the boat method of barbecue to hangin' out at the lake
"I love summer barbecues," says Barb McLean, with a big emphasis on "love." Safe to say, she's speaking for a heck of a lot of people.
When Barb's not working as a full-time guest relations host at Whistler Blackcomb's gondola barn, there's a good chance you'll find her or her husband, Harry, on their deck barbecuing. Their kids, Ali and Liam, love it, too.
"Whether it's for friends or family, it's easy and a nice way to enjoy a nice evening outside," says Barb, who's called Whistler home for 20 years. "When I get off work, I can toss a salad together and everything else that goes along with it."
"It" could be fresh salmon or halibut, done up as simply as possible with maybe a marinade of soy sauce, ginger and maple syrup for the salmon, or a bit of butter for the halibut.
Barb's specialty: little barbecue boats made out of aluminum foil. Just make a boat-shape by folding up the sides and pinching the two ends. It's easy for veggies or fish (cook it until it's just tender to the touch; no turning needed), plus it holds the juices.
Add a fresh baguette, fresh asparagus with butter also done in a boat, some new baby potatoes or maybe corn on the cob - "that unbelievable summer fare" - and you've got it made in the shade, or sun.
It's also barbecue all the way for Kristi McMiken, an Ontario native who's lived for years in Australia and is spending her first summer at Whistler.
Kristi works at the Whistler Visitor Centre at Gateway Loop in the village. When she's done answering myriad questions and ensuring tourists don't get lost on their way to Harmony Meadows, it's all about grabbing a veggie burger or salad and heading over to a friend's place - anyone who has a big deck - or meeting up at Lakeside Park for a picnic and a swim.