Is enough being done to warn of the dangers of illicit drugs?
On Sept. 2, 2017, it will be three years since our son, Martin Janson, 19, died in Whistler, from a combined drug toxicity overdose of cocaine and sleeping tablets.
We struggle as a family here in Australia on a daily basis to come to terms with his loss.
Pique Newsmagazine has covered Martin's story previously (Marty's Story, Pique, Jan. 22, 2015) and we are grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness about illicit drug use in Whistler and the possibly fatal consequences.
However, we wonder what has been done to help the young ones who continue to come and work in Whistler on a seasonal basis and view the opportunity to use illicit drugs so willingly.
As a family we have held public education forums here in our Australian community about illicit drug use, the possible side effects, and learning about keeping safe and looking out for your friends.
We have also contributed to raising awareness with Vancouver Coastal Health and Global News in Canada.
Our one hope is that Martin's death has not been for nothing and that further death or adverse consequences are prevented.
Last month, I received messages from a concerned Canadian mother whose daughter had travelled to Whistler to visit her friend who is working there.
The daughter was very distressed by the level of open, illicit drug use her friend was engaging in, and the change in his personality as he became addicted to illicit substances.
The concerned Canadian mother had contacted me after reading an article about Martin. The mother was reaching out for advice on whether she should contact the young man's family.
My response was yes, as then at least the family can assist their son and get professional help for his addiction.
And not have the risk of their son dying.
The mother did contact the family, who were very grateful they had been notified about their son, and they were flying from the East Coast of Canada to Whistler to see him and get help.
We wish we had been informed about Martin's illicit drug use, or that he had been arrested for drug use. Perhaps the outcome would have been different.
Does this mean there has been no impact in Whistler from Martin's death, and that the dark, insidious side of Whistler continues to exist?
That investigations of dealers and suppliers of illicit drugs is minimal?
That there is little education in the clubs and bars of Whistler about consequences of drug use?
As we said when Martin died, and we continue to say to young ones: "Don't do anything that risks your family waking up tomorrow without you."
East Kurrajong, Australia
Positive lessons from a harrowing experience
Now that the dust has settled, it's time to thank all those who helped Heather Hall and myself out of Comfortably Numb after Heather experienced a nasty fall just as we were hitting the downhill reward!
What started out as a regular fun ride that we all do on our days off in Whistler unfortunately ended when Heather broke her femur and it was clear we were going to need help getting out. We couldn't have wished for more amazing people to come upon us — or for more professional people who flew in and delivered Heather to the Whistler Health Care Centre (WHCC) and further medical care.
Firstly, a huge thanks to Darlene Douglas, Fairlie Fraser and Janet Ouchterlony, who were the first people to come upon us — three amazing women who offered continuous encouragement and guidance and help for the next four hours. These ladies gave up their ride, their family commitments they had later that day, and stayed with us till the bitter end, and I cannot thank them enough. It would have been a very different day if they had not been there.
With jackets and bike tubes to keep Heather stabilized, we moved her off the trail and then started the many calls that eventually led to Toby from Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) riding his e-bike up with radios and support to our "camp." After many calls with Rob from WSAR we heard the familiar sounds of a helicopter along with the arrival of much-needed drugs delivered by Dr. Renata Lewis, who was long-lined in along with Tony Del Bosco.
Tony, Toby and Renata quickly gave us positions, and we packaged Heather up and took her to where Steve Gray, the Blackcomb Helicopter pilot, carefully long-lined Heather to the heliport.
I learned a lot that day: I learned the value of cell phones and GPS coordinates. I learned the value of friendship, as three truly amazing women stayed with us, shared advice, shared stories and kept things light while we waited. I will never forget just how much I appreciated their selfless acts of help and support.
I learned that WSAR is truly incredible. That people willingly give up their own time and safety to help others in trouble is one thing, but that they do it with so much professionalism and with such an amazing and calming attitude is something I will remember for a long time.
I learned that this community of Whistler is filled with people that truly make a difference and go out of their way to help others, and as a result we are all blessed.
To nurse Tim at the WHCC, who called me as we waited for WSAR to have an update on Heather, all the admitting, nursing and X-ray staff who I work with daily at ER and helped Heather out, the ambulance paramedics, and of course Dr. Ron Stanley: Thank you. To be on the "other side" of where we work is a humbling experience. You guys all rock!
And lastly, my riding buddy Heather. She was so strong and so calm and as Janet said so well, "If I'm even as half as rad and strong in my lifetime as the woman who was hurt I'd consider myself lucky. She was an absolute rockstar throughout this whole process."
You were so strong and I know — we will ride again!
Again, a huge thanks to all who helped us. The strength and calibre of people in our community is amazing, and I am just sad it was such an unfortunate situation that reminded me of this.
Big fun in Function Junction
Last Sunday, Aug. 27, the business community of Function Junction put on an event to remember. This year's Block Party was not only well attended by guests, but with over 70 local businesses participating, 10 amazing bands for its five stages all volunteering for the cause, a team of hard-working volunteers, and a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign intended to cover production expenses (no grant money or corporate or resort stakeholder sponsorship — it all came from you!) the community also showed up BIG to this production in so many extraordinary ways! I send my sincerest thanks to all who contributed to this initiative. The vibe of the day was undeniably uplifting and creative. I can't wait to work with them again next year!
Activities galore, entertainment aplenty, good beats and sweet treats, this was a full sensory affair! The road closure allowed attendees to roam freely across the street to check out all that was going on, the traffic control kept traffic moving and pedestrians safe, and with a sprinkler and water stations with reusable water bottles to keep, this was a pretty safe, responsible, and all around feel good day.
Function is growing up fast and its community bonds are getting stronger. This is just the beginning of something better for the people who work hard to keep up with servicing Whistler. Thanks for supporting our vision and investing in our future.
FUNction Block Party Producer
Function Junction Association Chair
True leadership needed now more than ever, Vol. 2
Dear Bruce Kay (Letters to the Editor, Pique Aug. 24), and all those "liberals" out there who believe the world is currently plagued by insurgents of white male conservative Christian Nazis who watch Rebel Media religiously: huh?!
Currently, in Canada at least, the only thing we as a nation are plagued with is the rising tide of the alt-left and its threat to freedom, security and democracy. I have never been a racist in my life, but I believe in secure borders, capitalism over communism, freedom of speech, and a shared Canadian national identity — does that make me a Nazi now according to the mainstream media and our current political class? If so, please, come meet your friendly local Nazi and engage me in a conversation anytime I'm in the village. I always have my Make America Great Again hat on and my crucifix necklace.
You can't miss me. I'm the big guy with tattoos who is smiling. Or you could always choose to attack me physically, the way the current incarnations of "independent" journalists seem to be encouraging. But if you do that, you may miss out on the opportunity to hear a genuine opinion, which was not created within the globalist echo chamber.
True leadership, Vol. 3
Being someone that likes conservative ideology and is in constant research for the truth, I find Bruce Kay's letter (Pique, Aug. 24) full of emotion and very little facts.
Whistler Blackcomb did not, on their own, pull ads from the Rebel Media — they were bullied by an anonymous, trolling U.S.-based group called Sleeping Giants. Anonymously, they have been attacking businesses and media outlets that they differ with politically. Who are Sleeping Giants you may ask? Well we will never know — they are in hiding after all. Let's not assume they are the good guys. And I guarantee that no one at Whistler Blackcomb has researched the Rebel Media. If they did, they would only find rhetoric and innuendos demonizing them by their competitors.
Andrew Scheer has been on the job a matter of months as Conservative Party leader. Already you're referring to a dedicated family man with five children as a "sleazy rat." What gives you the knowledge on this man to label him a vile human being? Who is spewing hate at whom?
I have some news for you, Mr. Kay. Half of the people in North America are conservative. And guess what — we love mountain life, too. How arrogant you are to think you can have it all to yourself.
A big thanks from WASP
As a member of the Board of Directors of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program, I would like to thank the following generous businesses that donated items for our summer celebration party.
We invited all volunteers, staff, parents and family who participated in summer programs as well as friends. A good time was had by all.
Thanks to Creekbread for hosting the event and generously giving our program a percentage of pizza sales.
Thanks to Tim Hortons Creekside, Brewhouse, Longhorn, Alpine Cafe, Stonesedge, Blenz Coffee, Starbucks (Crystal Lodge), Beacon Pub and Eatery, McCoos, Coastal Culture, Grimm's Deli in Pemberton, Lululemon, Whistler Sailing, and Nesters Market for donating items to celebrate our wonderful volunteers.
As a charitable organization, we depend on our community, friends and generous donors to be able to offer such a wide range of programs to many people.
Thank you to all who continue to help the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program continue its tremendous work.
More on the Varsity Outdoor Club
Excellent article on the Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC) — good work (Pique, Aug. 24).
One fascinating point of interest: The VOC membership was of course also heavily involved with other mountain clubs such as the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and the BC Mountaineering Club. My own parents and most of their friends were members of them all.
Karl Ricker was well known for contributing a great deal of study on local glacier recession, often published in the annual Canadian Alpine Journal (CAJ). In the '90s, the ACC made an editorial decision to move away from publishing these scientific studies as they were considered too boring and not attractive to the more athletic oriented younger generation of alpinists, rock climbers and skiers. To this day, the CAJ continues with this narrow infatuation with athleticism, with this year's journal removing from its pages anything not to do with the "epic" or "stoke" of the past year, typically annotated with assorted corporate sponsorships, as if they actually had anything to do with it.
Looking back, this trend is emblematic of our general infatuation with the selfie, at the expense of the more philosophical, not to mention our moral obligation to future generations.
I have to admit being part of the problem, at the time welcoming the removal of Karl Ricker's glaciology work so that I could obsess about the things more salient to me. What a mistake that was!
I hope the VOC, a university-based organization, does not fall in the same navel-gazing trap, knowing what we now know about the true importance of Karl Ricker's work.
Ride responsibly, please
We all cycle for different reasons — and that's great! What's not good is ignoring the rules of the road. Every time I road ride between Function Junction and Whistler, I meet cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. On a recent ride, I encountered five cyclists: as I turned from Nordic Drive onto the highway, I immediately met two mountain bikers riding abreast. Shortly after, another rider, and then another, and, while stopped at the light at Blackcomb Way and Lorimer Road, a cyclist actually squeezed between my bike and the curb to head west in the eastbound lane.
Cyclists need to ride responsibly for their own personal safety and the safety of all. I'm not sure the situation can improve without police enforcement — and that would be a shame.
Vail committed to acting on environmental sustainability
On July 25, Vail Resorts proudly announced our Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint, which outlines our company's environmental commitment to achieve a net zero operating footprint. Specifically, we pledged to achieve zero net emissions, zero waste to landfills and zero net operating impact to the forests and habitats we operate in — all by 2030. Everything we do at Vail Resorts is driven by the spectacular natural environments where our employees, guests and communities live, work and play. The environment is our business, and we have a special obligation to protect it.
We're also proud that our promise to the environment earned our acceptance as the first travel and tourism company into RE100, a collaborative initiative uniting 102 global, influential businesses all committed to 100-per-cent renewable electricity. RE100's membership is a who's who of the most respected companies in the world including sustainability and energy champions like Apple, IKEA, Google, Facebook, Nike and Starbucks. Collectively, we are working to vastly increase the demand for and availability of renewable energy.
And so are you. Whistler Blackcomb and the entire Whistler community has worked toward sustainable goals for many years — the resort had set a zero operating footprint goal that helped inspire our enterprise-wide commitment. In fact, the passion for the environment in the Sea to Sky corridor is impressive. Many of our other partner resort communities also believe climate change is an issue both locally and globally. We believe our environmental commitment is aligned with and supports our communities and we look forward to working with you to address these challenges. We can help each other reach our important goals.
This is a complicated and polarizing time, and we are working towards our sustainability goals by keeping lines of communication open to everyone. We remain committed to reducing our operational impact by doing what we can with what we have. Working to reduce waste by being more efficient with all the resources we use, especially becoming more energy efficient, and managing the health and resilience of our forests is sound, long-term planning for our mountain environments and critically important watersheds that we all rely upon.
By thinking globally and acting locally, we can reduce our waste, limit what goes to landfills, and become influential ambassadors for environmental stewardship that guests to our resort and community will model when they return home.
We're proud to make our commitment to the environment and know it will require the efforts of more than the 30,000 Vail Resorts employees and partnerships with the communities in which we operate to achieve it. We want to acknowledge all of the work that Whistler has done to move towards a sustainable future and ask that you continue to inspire and work alongside us as we move in the same direction.
As we can maximize our positive impact for the planet by working together, we encourage you to learn more about our Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint online at www.epicpromise.com/footprint.
CEO Vail Resorts, Inc.
Successful sailing in Whistler
Whistler was sanctioned to host championship sailing events by the BC Sailing Association five years ago. Since then, participation has doubled and our Whistler Village and Alta Lake weather and winds have never let the competitors down.
This year over 70 athletes from the ages of five to 50-plus launched their Opti's, Lasers, and Pirates to compete in 12 races last Saturday and Sunday.
The logistics are complex when entire families move boats, kids, trailers and all their gear from Victoria, Kelowna (16 boats), Nanaimo, and Vancouver. Yacht clubs such as Royal Vancouver, Rocky Point, West Vancouver, Burrard and Whistler groom their teams in qualifying races all summer to be ready for the BC Championships in Whistler.
A sanctioned event requires an independent adjudicator to determine the course, settle protests, and maintain good spirits when the winds are late arriving, as was the case on Sunday. Well done, Rob Woodbury!
Thirty volunteers worked to register participants, share rules of the road, advise nearby neighbours, serve nutritional snacks to athletes, and to prepare dinner for 150 on Saturday night. Volunteer team leaders such as Barbara Walker, Mick Gannon and Alan Siderov coordinated the 300 volunteer hours of weekend work. Special thanks to Helly Hansen for great prizes, the RMOW for venue support, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, American Friends of Whistler and BC Gaming for funding the new dock and staging areas. We are proud to host this prestigious event and thank the community for coming out in the hundreds to cheer on our sailors. Thank you, Whistler!
Whistler Sailing Association