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I won't soon forget the classic Thanksgiving dinners at the Bag cooked for the whole gang by Al and Max and Rabbit, nor the extensive classic rock record collection that a wannabee hippie flipped through in wonder many times. I never lived at the Bag, but I woke up hungover there a few mornings. I think my clothes still smell like smoke!
Alphonse loved his pints and his Canucks and his Keno. Of course that made Tapley's his second home, where in summers he could be found on the patio catching the last rays of the sun, resplendent in his Hawaiian shirts. His new bike from two summers ago proudly parked out front.
The best thing I heard about Al was that he had 37 season's passes! I took a few runs with him over the years and laughed when someone reminded me that I sold him his first pair of fat skis in the late '90s. Al wasn't exactly an early adopter of new technology so I had to bring those skis to Tapley's and make him take them home. He bought me a beer.
There aren't many greater ambassadors for our town than Al Kolb. How many tourists and weekend warriors and residents alike got in his taxi in the last 25 years? How many people shared a pint with him at the Boot or Tapley's or Dusty's? How many roommates did he have at the Bag? For all that, he represents not only a connection to the glory years of our fading youth, but also the under-appreciated local that makes this town tick and is a fount of history and wisdom. In a crucial but unrecognized way guys like Alphonse built this town, and Whistler owes him a debt of gratitude.
Part of that debt was paid by everyone who came out to raise a glass and share a story last Friday. I can't think of a lousier reason to have a party, but credit to Al for bringing everyone together one last time.
From decompressing after a night shift in the Keg Lot, to epic parties in the backyard of the Dirtbag, to the dock at Lost Lake, to cruising 7th Heaven. From Birken to the Boot to Brisas Del Mar. Thanks Alphonse, for sharing your town with me. Whistler is a sadder place today.
10-Zowie buddy. Flag away.
Dave The Wave
Mountains demand respect
I second Michael Gigliotti's view on the proposed Spearhead Traverse huts (A dissenting view, Pique letters March 15). Wilderness is so precious to me that I sincerely feel it should be left alone. A tall electrified fence should be erected forthwith and only the few that can demonstrate their physical and emotional fitness should be allowed in. Needless to say the misguided people behind the Squamish gondola project should be forced to climb the Chief on their hands and knees until they see the error of their ways.