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I've always found people in Whistler were good about introducing friends to other friends, creating a degree of separation that even Kevin Bacon would be jealous of. Doesn't it make you feel all warm and cosy bumping into people you know? But, in order to go from acquaintance to friend, you need to put the time in and actually get to know a person. The good thing here is a lot of our Lively Locals are cool with just going out for drinks, nothing too serious please!
Our famed Long Time Locals can be tough nuts to crack. Don't expect to be invited into this persons' inner sanctum (in this case a close group of friends they've known for 10 years) quickly; it will take time to develop a friendship.
"I'm not looking for a bar buddy or someone to skate with, what I look for in a friend is someone who has a vested interest in keeping Whistler great," is what Andy told me. He's originally from Terrace, B.C. (but according to him it doesn't count because he's been here so long!). He wants to be sure new friends are worth the investment.
The Long Time Locals have lost so much to those who have left our fair town and a piece of them gets taken with each goodbye. But meet the right one and this fiercely loyal bunch have a lot to offer. Most of them have connections all over the place, which can make finding a job, starting a business or just plain getting involved in Whistler a lot easier.
The best places to meet these folks are normal, everyday haunts.
"I met a great couple this past summer at the dog beach at Rainbow. I saw them a few times then one day while our dogs played I struck up a conversation. After a few more bump-ins my husband and I were graciously invited over for a barbecue. We proved to them that we were the real deal, certainly no bar stars, just a nice couple looking to expand our friendship base," said Lauri, who has lived in Whistler for six years.
Christina from Ontario told me that Toonie Rides and Women's Wednesdays in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park are good ways to meet the long timers. The key is consistency. "The more you go, the more you show them that you are worth getting to know. It may sound harsh but these people see themselves as the modern day founders of Whistler and you need to prove that you aren't just some here-today-gone-tomorrow-temporary-local". It took time for Christina to learn this but after her fifth ride people really started warming up to her.