"I realized I was only truly happy when I was in the mountains. That's when I decided I had to find a way to create a life there."
- Jayson Faulkner
He thought that getting involved in local politics was all about giving back. But he didn't mind that. He really thought he could give something back to the community. "It seemed at the time," he explains, "that the social contract at Whistler had broken down. The conflict between council and muni staff had spread throughout the whole community. And that really disturbed me."
He sighs. Shrugs. "I'm a current events junkie... I follow a lot of politics. And I've come to understand that our system falters when people stop participating in the political process." He laughs. "So that's why I decided to run for Whistler council in 2011. It really came down to: If not me, then who?"
More laughter. "Back then, I didn't realize that so many good people had also decided to run for office. You know, people like Roger (McCarthy) and Duane (Jackson) and John Grills. If I'd known about them, then maybe..."
Before we go on, I need to make one thing perfectly clear. Jayson Faulkner has zero regrets about his decision to throw his hat in the political ring. A year into his term, the 53-year old has nothing but good things to say about the process. "It's been an amazing learning experience," says the co-founder and former owner of Whistler's venerable The Escape Route. "I really like what it's been teaching me."
Indeed. Faulkner came into the election thinking more about giving than learning. "I'm a total outdoors guy," he explains. "I come to it from a very clear mountain passion." He takes a breath. Continues. "And my business background reflects that fact. As you know, I've spent my entire career working in the outdoors industry.
"It's who I am! I'm the guy with the outdoor store and the guide's bureau and... in my opinion it's a point-of-view that wasn't being heard enough when decisions about Whistler's future were being made. That's another big reason why I ran."
Although he still thinks his perspective and experience are both important assets in his role as council member, one of Faulkner's biggest surprises is just how much the job is teaching him about his own community. "And I already thought I knew it well," he says. And laughs. But his point is important. "You know, being a member of Whistler Council is not at all what I expected..." A long pause. "Really," he insists. "You get back so much more than what you're giving!"
Faulkner's the real thing. Born and raised in B.C., Jayson spent his early years in Kamloops and cut his skiing teeth on the hoary slopes of Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks). One of his first instructors there was a guy called Jim McConkey...