I am writing to express my disgust at last week’s Maxed Out column. To publish a column in a local paper, in which G.D. Maxwell graphically gives us his interpretation of various scenarios of dying in an avalanche, on the eve of Steve Clark’s memorial is not only insensitive and inappropriate, it is offensive.
The two men who lost their lives last week did so in areas marked as ski area boundary, because of the early season conditions. They were not in avalanche closures or closed areas. Effectively, even though the areas they were skiing are usually inbounds, they were skiing in the backcountry. As such, they were responsible for their actions. They both paid the ultimate price for those actions. To disrespect them by insinuating they were just too arrogant to think they could get caught in an avalanche, is just wrong. The snowpack we have right now, depending on what source you choose, is the worst in 15-30 years. It has caught out some of the best in the business, not just the two latest victims.
I sincerely hope this column never finds its way to the town of
Sparwood and other family and friends of avalanche victims. Reading it would be
like rubbing salt in an open wound. The only reason I finished the column was
because I kept thinking there must be a point. Apparently, there was not.
Maxwell even calls the phrase, “He died doing what he loved,” inane,
followed by another graphic description. Many of us in Whistler engage in
activities that inherently have varying degrees of risk. Choosing these
activities, whatever they may be, means we have accepted the associated risks.
We lose good people every year in Whistler, way before their time. This last
year has been particularly hard to take. I am sure I am not the only one in
town who does find comfort knowing that for many of the people we have lost,
were doing what they loved.
Of course Maxwell is entitled to his opinion. His column was titled “Timing is everything.” The day before a memorial, when family and friends are still in shock from their loss is most certainly NOT the time.
A Nordic adventure
Congratulations to the new Callaghan Valley Nordic Centre operators for creating a wonderland of Nordic skiing opportunities, staffed by eager, helpful people.
But I am astounded that there is so little recognition of their success in offering skiers the excitement of ongoing bafflement and mystery. No sign at the highway turnoff! No sign saying how far from the highway cutoff to the parking lot! No readable sign at the first parking lot (is this where we park?)! No sign at the second parking lot (maybe here)! No sign on any of the buildings indicating what they are! No sign saying where to buy tickets! No sign posting prices and closing times! Are there really 5 p.m. afternoon closings and 6 p.m. evening openings? A rental gear try-on area blocking the main passageway coming in the door! Wrong scale on the map!