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The show must go on

In my lucky life I've had the pleasure of being involved (even if only a spectator) at six Olympic Games, countless World Cup events in all disciplines, and cultural spectacles ranging from Sundance to Lollapalooza. I'm old enough to remember when the Grateful Dead was a new band and young enough gawk at the dancers at the Big Air Contest.

And in all this, I can tell you that I have never had more fun than at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. The events and your town still have the exuberance, spirit, and vibe that is only history in so many other places.

The first reason for this letter is to express my appreciation to everyone in the community, from school kids to painted-and-pierced youth to grey-haired rockers, for your contribution to "Whistler Energy." It's a feeling you won't fully appreciate until you don't have it any more.

The most important message I have is as a grateful outsider looking in at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. I speak to you individually as well as to business, civic, and governmental institutions. My advice is from experience as well as the heart.

Treasure what you have, don't take it for granted, and never lose your edge.

Other communities, resorts and interested parties have taken notice of WSSF. Don't think for a moment that they are content to sit back and let Whistler dominate the spring and events that are truly qualified to carry the title "World Festival." There's a hundred executives across North America who have every intention of poaching your ideas, your spirit, and any event that's been Whistler's own.

Given the mix of on-snow events, music, and the photo/video programs that make up the WSSF, Whistler is poised to "own the spring" and solitify its rightful place on a list that includes Sundance, Cannes, Daytona, Woodstock, and the other places that had the ingenuity, willpower, and luck to permanently establish themselves as the undisputed, premier location for a particular event genre. It's not enough to have big mountains, deep snow, and prominent corporations.

The question is, "Will the people and businesses of Whistler, nurture and protect what you have started? Will you carve your name in stone at the top of the list?"

For both selfish as well as altruistic reasons, I hope so. You have my respect, my heart, and my envy.

Jack Turner

Commissioner - WSSF Photography Events

Durango, CO

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