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Letters to the editor


Re: Whistler-Blackcomb response to Giselle Portenier’s letter.

I have been working as a snowboard instructor on Whistler Mountain for the last eight years and have noticed a trend by certain instructors to abuse their lift line privileges. When I was first hired here, the rule for line priority on the Peak chair stated that private lessons with only one or two people in the group could use the ski-school line, and any other types of lessons used the regular line. This was out of respect for the people that waited patiently for their turn at the untracked powder.

These days the powder doesn’t seem to last as long due to the high-speed quads and the number of skiers that it can move to the top, so naturally people get more anxious to get there – especially if they have been waiting for an hour or more for the lift to open.

The current rules for instructors allow any type of lesson to use the ski school line on the Peak chair. However, myself and many other snowboard instructors realize the importance of respecting the people who have been waiting for the chair to open – simple common courtesy. There have been four instances this year where my students wanted to wait in line for one of the alpine chairs to open, and we lined up with the rest of the public.

The main purpose for the ski-school line is to keep lessons moving, since people are paying by the hour for a lesson, therefore waiting for a chair to open in the ski school line displays disregard for its intended purpose.

It is unfortunate that someone had a bad experience due to a ski instructor’s poor judgement call on that unwritten rule, and was the target of some disgruntled locals who have paid in one way or another to be in that line as well. It is also unfortunate that a visitor has been disenchanted with Whistler, but I have a hard time sympathizing with them as many locals’ bubbles have been burst by skyrocketing property taxes and costs of living.

The increase in poor behaviour by a minority probably has something to do with the increase in numbers of visitors (2 million +) and the increase in the number of slow zones.

Last year I was told to slow down while going down the Dave Murray Downhill. For me the magic of Whistler is slipping fast – into someone else’s fantasyland.

Rob Neilson


Re: Whistler magic lost forever (Pique letters April 18)

I was there the day your group was pelted with "snow rockets." I think I even know which person you were since you described being at the back of the group.