What is Whistler's greatest icon?
Well, you'll have some say this Sunday at the 5 th Annual Icon Gone. The event is essentially a well-organized, well-attended argument between eight outspoken townsfolk about what they believe to be Whistler's greatest icon.
Past winners have included Pique staff writer and sports editor Andrew Mitchell in 2010, who argued in favour of the mountain bike; Bob Brett in 2009, who argued for beavers; Dave Steers in 2008, who championed long skis; and Stephen Vogler in 2007, who argued that a force of nature - gravity- ensured our success as a ski resort.
Vogler will sit on the judge's panel this year, along with Question editor Jennifer Miller. The judges, in combination with the audience-judged format of past years, will determine the winner. Eight competitors will appear on stage to argue on behalf of a potential icon and the judges will whittle the contenders down to the finalists. A winner will be based upon an audience applause meter.
"Don't be afraid to go for cheap laughs," Mitchell advises.
Trust him. He knows. To secure last year's win, Mitchell pulled the "Hitler card" during his rebuttal to defend mountain bikes by stating, "Hitler never rode a mountain bike." He admits it was a cheap shot but it secured him the 2010 championship.
Icon Gone was started in 2007 as a fundraiser for the Whistler Museum. The response was so positive from that initial event that the museum has brought it back annually.
Jeff Slack, the museum's programming coordinator, says the success of the event is due to Whistler's contentious history - in this setting, locals can sort out what kind of shared history it does have, if any at all. Is this a place rife with icons or is it a soulless mega-mall?
Icon Gone is a way for people to feel this concept out in an involved and entertaining way.
"A central aspect of the event is that by having this event, it helps contribute to a shared sense of community," Slack says. "It helps bring it out into the open and raises awareness and gets people speaking about it. Whether you think Whistler doesn't have a history, this is helping kind of create it."
This year's contenders include four municipal election hopefuls: Chris Quinlan, Jack Crompton and Hi Brooks for Whistler council and Jessica Turner for Pemberton council. Other debaters include Jamie Bond, Angie Nolan, Kevin Damaskie and Stephanie Sloan
Advance tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Whistler Museum. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $15.