It's not always as it seems
Sunday January 4, 19:40 hours.
Just in from the drive down from Whistler to Squamish after my shift working as a mountain host — the day of the big snowfall and chaos on the road.
First thing you need to know: I made a driving mistake. It could have put others at risk. It was unintentional. I am sorry.
Single-lane traffic, which had been at a virtual standstill for a couple hours, had started moving south very, very slowly but steadily at the point I erred.
I was not in a hurry. Fed, watered, listening to a great audiotape and intermittently reflecting on the kindness of my coworkers and the friendly guests I had met during the day. I was relaxed.
At a certain point I was aware of a car passing me on the left, it was followed by another, then three others in quick succession. I glanced over and wondered if we were in a part of the highway with a plowed passing lane southbound. There was no traffic northbound.
More cars passed. I mentally gauged if the northbound lane was actually in the shadow of trees on the left and behind the low ridge of snow left by the snow plow.
I rationalized it was, given the number of cars passing on my left. My little red Mini had demonstrated good traction and I felt it was reasonable to move out into this passing lane.
I realized my mistake within a couple car lengths. The northbound lane was not on the other side of the plowed snow to the left and there was not enough room for two lanes southbound.
This is where it got ugly.
No one would let me back in. All I saw was a line of faces set hard and index fingers pointed skyward. Vehicles jockeyed nose to tailpipe to ensure there would be no opportunity to merge. People mouthed obscenities, made faces and rolled down their windows and chastised me.
It took an otherwise lovely day and turned it upside down.
Recognizing the danger to others coming northbound, I resorted to getting out of the car and attempting to explain to someone in those cars my mistake. Several cars passed, windows remaining tightly sealed, faces averted. One driver was kind enough to listen and the two gentlemen inside allowed me to merge. I thank them.
The remainder of the drive down I wondered if I would have behaved similarly if I had recognized (believed) that the cars passing on the left were all bullies trying to get home faster at the expense of others. It's entirely possible.
I wondered if those people who would not let me in ever allow for alternative possibilities when they pass judgment in other aspects of their personal and working life. Do I?
I wondered if those people with their hard faces and ugly gestures are themselves mistake free.
For me, the cathartic letter is written, the wine poured, a lesson learned, the event placed in context and now behind me.
I hope all the others I met on the road that night fared equally well.
I'd like to thank all the people who stopped Dec. 24 on West Side Road to ensure I was alright — thank you very much!
I was incredibly touched by the concern you all had for me and that I was OK, and that I had a phone to call for a tow truck.
I'd also like to thank Ruff from PayLess who got my car and I out of the ditch so quickly.
The greatest gift of all — the gift of life
Our family Christmas had a more sombre tone this year with the diagnosis of MDS (bone marrow cancer) in a loved one, just prior to Christmas.
When I lived in Vancouver, I was a regular blood donor, but since I moved up to Pemberton four years ago, I haven't given blood. Of course the family situation brought this to mind, as the treatment for MDS includes blood transfusions and eventually a bone marrow transplant if a match can be found.
So, while in the city for family festivities, my husband and I gave blood. I figure that an hour of my time is worth saving a life. As well as cancer patients, blood is also needed for car accident victims and transplant patients, and the need is always there.
I know that there are many charities and events worthy of your time and money, but may I suggest that the next time you plan a trip to the city, perhaps ponder giving the gift of life... after all, it is free, other than your time.
There is the main clinic near 28th and Oak Street, and mobile clinics all over the city, including the North Shore. Check the website www.blood.ca, or call 1-888-2donate, or look on social media for information on clinic dates and locations and to book an appointment.
Meanwhile, I am going to look into getting the bloodmobile up to Whistler, and if successful will let you all know.
Thank you, and best of health to you and yours for 2015.
Get home safe
Getting around safely in the winter in Whistler can be difficult with dark nights and mornings, not to mention icy roads and paths.
To combat these challenges the community has introduced some great initiatives including educational campaigns, and flashlight and reflector giveaways. On Saturday, Dec. 20 the pilot project for the Free #7 Bus shuttle started — these free shuttles run from 5:45 a.m. to 8 a.m., and again from 9 p.m. to 2:43 a.m. and will be available until March 31.
This bus route services over 1,000 residents, many of whom live at Whistler Blackcomb and Fairmont Glacier Staff Housing. The $2.50 fare was a major deterrent to taking the bus for some people, and they would choose to walk up and down the ski trail or road — both of which are dangerous options in the wintertime.
With safety top of mind, we met with Emma Del Santo at the municipality who helped us create the pilot project with BC Transit and Whistler Transit. As most people know, free does not really mean free, someone had to pay for it. It didn't take very long to gather the funds from Whistler Blackcomb, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Moe Joe's and Gibbons Life to cover the cost for the project.
Our hope is everyone chooses a safe way to travel this winter and hopefully this pilot project will help people get home safely.
House manager, employee experience Whistler Blackcomb
Neighbours to the rescue
On Dec. 10 our world was turned upside down when the Crabapple Creek burst its banks and tore through our home. Thanks to the quick actions of our tenant, we were able to immediately contact the emergency services.
On that day we learned how lucky we are to live in such an amazing, quick acting, caring community. The responses of the Whistler fire department and the ancillary emergency services were second to none. The outpouring of support from our neighbours and friends was unprecedented; the unexpected fundraising activities of Lee, Jen, and those at Myrtle Philip School also left us speechless and appreciative.
In saying all this, we extend our gratitude to the following: the Whistler fire department, which arrived within minutes of our call, Erin at Emergency Support Services who stayed with us until we were eventually evacuated from our home; all the anonymous volunteers who persevered through the darkness and torrential rain to fill up the sand bags to stem the relentless flow of water; and our fellow flood victims and neighbours Bridie and John who helped us in the midst of their own distress.
In the immediate aftermath, we owe a huge debt to all those people who came in gumboots and work gloves to help us demolish and clear out the wreckage and debris from the basement: Dan, Dagmar, Lee, Mike, Emmet. We thank the wonderful Jodie and Todd for putting a roof over our heads during the crisis until we were able to move back into our home again, and Paul and Marika for giving us power to keep our freezer running!
Huge thanks, of course, to Jen and Lee who immediately organized an amazing fundraising drive, whilst also helping with the small details of making school lunches and icing for the school gingerbread houses.
We would like to thank all of those most generous donors, known and unknown, who had the kindness and empathy at Christmas time to support our family through this crisis. Thank you also to Bonnie for her support and advice.
And (Pique reporter) Braden Dupuis for taking an interest in our story.
How about snowmaking for Lost Lake
Today (Jan 30) I walked by the Lost Lake entrance near White Gold.
I saw that the Cross Country Connection was open for business (with) a very limited amount of trails open. Yay!
I have skied on those trails as a passholder since the program started and even before.
What irks me is the fact that the municipality has snowmaking going on in the Olympic Plaza, so some playful snow fun can take place in our snow-challenged winter wonderland, (so) why has no consideration been given to putting this equipment on the trail at Lost Lake?
I know I am not alone in this desire. I know there will be some excuse that the infrastructure is not there and it takes time to set up.
You have the reservoir of Lost Lake and the creek to pump from. I am pretty sure that with a little thinking and planning it could be done.
PS — While digging for the new lighting system this coming summer, stick a few pipes in the ground for some snowmaking — just a thought.
What's in a name?
You've probably got lots of correction/omissions on this article ("What's in a Name," Pique Dec. 18), but I would like to throw this one in there as I have seen it misquoted in other publications.
DOA is not the acronym for Dead on Arrival. From the top of the windroll on Blackcomb Glacier you have to go Down the glacier a bit, Over the rocks and Around Blackcomb peak. Down Over and Around — DOA.
It was an obvious line from the Roundhouse on Whistler, and at my suggestion, it wasn't hard to convince Trevor Peterson that we would be able to get there by going down, over and around. I think it was 1985 or 86. Caawww.
(Editor's note: Pique would love any input on the names on the ski and bike trail names in and around Whistler. If we have erred in the genesis of a name let us know. So far this is the only letter received. Thanks!)
Thanks to Santa's helpers
On behalf of Whistler Community Services Society I would like to thank all businesses, organizations, individuals and families who donated and sponsored the Santa's Hamper Program.
This program is very unique, as it anonymously connects local families in need with dedicated sponsors who work hard to create customized hampers filled with food, warm clothes, toys and gift certificates.
As a result of these generous donations, many families woke up Christmas morning to new toys, warm clothes, outdoor gear and festive food in their bellies. Over 35 families were sponsored by this program, which included over 60 children ranging in ages from one month to 17 years of age.
This is the highest number of recipients in the history of this program. Even as late as Christmas Eve, with your support, we were able to provide last-minute hampers to families who required help.
At WCSS, our team of "elves" sees firsthand, the parent's reaction to their hampers. Many are overwhelmed and speechless, but most of all they are very thankful.
I have received several emails and voicemails from families and they have expressed that the gifts and food received helped reduce the stress and brought a smile to their faces over the holiday season.
I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you all the best for 2015.
Jackie Dickinson, Outreach Worker
Whistler Community Services Society
Veterans Affairs Minister just didn't get it
After the failed experiment and failed leadership of Minister Julian Fantino — for the sake of our veterans in crisis, let's hope that the new minister, Erin O'Toole, can bring Veterans Affairs into line with what the Canadian public demands and our veterans so decidedly deserve.
For the RecordIn last week's Pique we misnamed the eatery that took third place in the best-chef category of the "Best of Whistler" feature. The correct name is Stonesedge. We regret the error.