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Insider’s Guide to Whistler

Museum collaborators reveal favourite local haunts



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"There was a line from the song Hotel California that goes, ‘Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye,’" Smith explained. "That's the way us kids in our 20s saw it back then. We figured once the developers and promoters succeeded, and we were certain they would eventually, that this place would become something very different from what we had at the time. Pioneer towns don't stay pioneer towns; they either grow up or die.

"For Whistler, though, the verdict may still be out. You can't really say it's grown up yet, and one big landslide on Highway 99 or two or three years of warm, wet winters and cool, wet summers and it's back to Myrtle Philip's era."

The Tim Smith tour :

A hike up to Joffre Lakes – "It’s probably the shortest hike you can do right up to the tree line and it’s very spectacular. The chairlift assisted stuff is OK, but I work up there, so I’m not really motivated to go up there on my days off.…" – followed by a feed at Pasta Lupino. "It’s locally owned, it’s really good food and it’s reasonably priced."

Brian Finestone

The original plan for Whistler-Blackcomb Safety Officer, Brian Finestone, when he first arrived in Whistler in 1991, was to work for one winter, as a lifty. Thirteen years later, his family is still here, living in a basement suite and juggling day and night shifts to save on the cost of child care.

"We’d sampled other ski towns in B.C. and Europe and we always came back here because we liked it best."

For Finestone, becoming a local happens when you’ve been here long enough that you start to give back to the community. Having a child also contributes to that feeling of rootedness.

Finestone is embarking on a new adventure as the co-author of a guidebook of ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb, which goes to press mid-September. Capitalizing on his intimate knowledge of the mountain within the ski area boundary, garnered from 11 years of hands-on (or boards-on) research, as a patroller, Finestone has compiled a comprehensive guide that includes more than 120 runs that aren’t on the trail maps. He’s lifting up the skirts of Whistler-Blackcomb and giving everyone a peek.

"A lot of people will be frustrated that we’re giving away the goods. But I’ve skied here long enough to know that there are no secret spots."

Finestone’s local’s tour of Whistler, though, won’t reveal any secret or semi-secret spots. If you want the dope on the mountain, he says, you’ll have to buy the book. Off the hill, he doesn’t spend much time in secret places. "I do what everyone else in Whistler does."