Staying and playing safe
In the spirit of making the pursuit of the backcountry safer here's a few things that came to light over 40 years for me.
• Before committing to a trip (I look at ) what area presents the most acceptable level of risk?
• Where I want to go, and where I should go, is a critical decision made at home.
• Treat every trip as if there is a hazard regardless of the rating.
• From the trailhead, to the high point and the descent constantly access the snow. Do I like what I see?
• (Be able to) self rescue.
• Confident and swift use of the transceiver is essential.
• Learn to ski the trees.
Two final thoughts — I always chose partners who could really use the transceiver. It was something we constantly practiced. High performance results (come) from committed practice.
Lastly, always keep a fresh doggy treat in your pack!
Angels and drivers
I've been thinking a lot about angels lately. I don't really know why.
Maybe it's because the world can seem like such a dark place sometimes when I open up this newsmagazine and read about another senseless death.
Again, I don't really know why.
But as of last night I've got a brand new obsession: drivers! In particular, drivers who don't adjust their speed to the rapidly changing weather conditions that we experience in the Sea to Sky area.
Just after dinner on the drive home to Pemberton from Whistler with my wife it began to rain, which quickly froze on the highway just past Soo River Road.
My wife adjusted our speed accordingly and kept to the right, while the cars behind us accelerated into the passing lane and passed us, except for one. That car ended up spinning out and completely flipping over into the ditch.
We stopped, and as my wife called 911, I ran to the vehicle.
I helped the guy out and up the hill, and it was a miracle, I'm telling you, a miracle he wasn't killed or seriously injured.
He had an angel watching over him for sure on this one!
But what of all the others who aren't so lucky? I don't know. Angels and drivers, man. Angels and drivers.
Trophy hunting versus subsistence hunting
Your readers may not be aware that the provincial Wildlife Harvest Allocation Policy was changed on Dec. 10, 2014 by the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. This decision was covered by the major media outlets, but to date I have not seen any mention of it in the local newspapers.
In situations where wildlife is abundant, the Allocation Policy governs the portion of the annual allowable harvest of wildlife — after conservation and First Nations' needs — which the two other user groups are allowed.
Resident hunters were shocked to learn that the minister had decided to award the guide outfitters of the province a greater share of the harvest.
Stating that the viability of the guide-outfitting business was at stake, the minister chose to reduce resident-hunting opportunities in order to allow more non-resident (guided) opportunities.
This has generated an outcry from the BC Wildlife Federation, and many others (including myself) who believe that resident subsistence hunters should not have their opportunities reduced in favour of non-resident trophy hunters.
Hidden between the lines in the debate is a greater issue. Wildlife populations in many parts of the province are suffering due to the competing interests on the land base. Intense industrial development, rampant recreation and climate change are all part of the equation.
In my opinion, the province must do a better job of managing all of these factors in order to conserve our priceless wildlife populations.
Those readers who are interested in more information about the Allocation Policy will find it on the BCWF website. Comments on the Allocations Policy should go directly to your MLA.
Zero Ceiling thanks
On Dec. 18, Basecamp Fitness (formerly Innovative Fitness) held its annual "Trash the Trainer" fundraiser at its Nita Lake Lodge fitness studio. The idea of this event is that once a year, Basecamp Fitness sells out five-minute blocks of their coaches training time over a period of two hours to raise funds for a charity of their choice.
This year, Basecamp Fitness wanted its efforts to go to a local charity that aligns with their core values of challenge, empowerment, community and inspiration.
The charity it chose was Zero Ceiling, an organization that supports at-risk and homeless youth to change their lives by moving to Whistler to live, work and experience a healthier lifestyle.
As an innocent bystander, I was very impressed by the energy and excitement in the room. The trainers were great sports and up for the many challenges that their fun, vengeful and generous clients had in store for them.
Their clients were well prepared and arrived with props, lesson plans and music — you could tell they had been looking forward to this night all year long!
On behalf of Zero Ceiling, I want to say a huge thank you to Mark Coates, JP Fok, Rebecca Warren, Alana Sampson, and Jennifer Demard of Basecamp Fitness and to their fantastic clients!
All of your efforts raised a whopping $5,115, which will help support Zero Ceiling's Work 2 Live program!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping our youth go from streets to peaks!
time to address des system
The District Energy System, or DES, is a good example of the resort municipality's lack of good judgment. Not only is business, and the business decision making process flawed, it has not been more environmentally friendly, and has an increased monetarily cost. It is more costly then regular baseboard heat and a fireplace, and not environmentally sustainable with repair men driving from Squamish to repair boilers or systems that keep freezing up and breaking. The whole process incites a re-evaluation of our decision making standards.
As for business people, or our elected leaders who manage debt, costs, and monetary issues, poor judgment was exercised in these systems. They have also been unwilling to cite any true substance regarding the system or design.
I need not get into greater details about the heating arrangements in Cheakamus Crossings Whitewater, other than what was promised was an environmentally efficient and low cost system. I have since moved to Alpine where we are burning lots of wood at a much lower cost, as well as environmental impact.
As for the Whistler business people and elected partisans that manage hundreds of millions of dollars every year, we need not mention that someone needs to step it up, and this is an excellent opportunity for the community and newly elected town council(ers). Here is a hint. For good certifiable wood fireplaces, they start at about $900. Much of our village and surrounding communities were, and still are, heated this way.
Cheakamus Crossing left behind a decent Olympic legacy. So did Calgary, Bragg Creek and Salt Lake. We all should be honoured to have the building projects complete, sports facility housing, and an increase in developable land and real estate.
on the way to service excellence
By the time you read this the Whistler Chamber of Commerce will have trained over 4,000 members of the local workforce in customer service – and we could not have done it without you.
We would like to thank Whistler businesses, Chamber members, our sponsors and resort partners for a successful "Year One" of the newly named "Whistler Experience" service solution. Almost 18 months ago you told us it was time to rebuild the Spirit Program. You requested that the new program deliver three things: Inspiring speakers and facilitators, world-class content backed up by research, and tools you can take back to your businesses to bring the content to life.
The newly renamed "Whistler Experience" found a world-class partner in the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business and the UVic workshops in December – featuring the "8 Moments of Power" and "Be a Coach" – were sold out.
Thank you to the Resort Municipality of Whistler for its annual fee for service funding of $110,000 to support the program. Thank you to Whistler Blackcomb for giving program participants access to the Spirit Pass. Thank you to Tourism Whistler for helping us raise awareness of the program – and thank you to all three resort partners for sending your teams to the workshops and supporting the program by internalizing it in your organizations.
We are also sending out a special thanks to Gibbons Life for stepping up as the presenting partner and for supporting a community-wide program that recognizes that if we are to elevate our resort – we first have to elevate our people. Thank you to Taxback, The Grocery Store and our 18 benefit providers for offering outstanding incentives and value for all program participants.
As a community, we hope you will stay engaged with this program and training. The Whistler Chamber's vision is for Whistler to one day be known as the No. 1 resort in the world for service – and a community that makes university-level training available to teams at an affordable price.
Our commitment is to offer the same core program next year and layer on the next piece of the service solution. We look forward to a successful year for the resort and creating memorable Whistler experiences for our guests!
Whistler Chamber CEO