by G.D. Maxwell
In a year when I gave serious thought to packing my bags and leaving my happy mountain home for someplace less expensive, less exploitative, less amped and more, well, if not more normal then at least nearer the far suburbs of wherever that mythical place is, it took a lot of reflection to pull me back to the brink of the abyss. But here I am. Youre not going to get rid of me that easily. Summers in the Cariboo ought to salve my savaged winter soul enough to keep doing this another year... or ten.
But thinking long and hard about leaving led me to dwell on what Id really miss. So if this years installment of the famed and inflamed Maxie Awards seems kinder and gentler, please understand.
Mountain Kulture Division Awards
Best On-Mountain Innovation : Whistler-Blackcombs faux opening of the 2001-02 ski season. Proving what strippers have know since the dawn of time that it aint necessarily the nekkid bod, its the anticipation of seeing the naughty bits that keeps em coming back the brain trust of W-B was kind enough to show us the slow peel, despite having near record snow. By opening a couple of lifts, cooking in a few restaurants, grooming shall we say selectively and generally making us slaver on the edge of the catwalk, our appreciation of what a great place this is and excitement at finally getting to enjoy the good parts doubtless grew to a frenzied pitch. Funny though, seems all their T-shirt shops opened right on time.
Practice Makes Perfect : Almost unnoticed in the summers news was W-Bs finetuning the timing of their hiring. Instead of making the young and anxious trek to Whistler well before the season to apply for jobs, then wait in despair to start working, the whole seasonal hiring thing has been pushed closer to the mountains opening. Happier employees and a less depleted food bank, a win-win improvement.
Art in Public Places : After years of a successful policy of benign neglect and a mañana attitude worthy of a banana republic, the reborn Creekside was officially given the Bird. The installation of two works of sculpture may be seen as a symbolic coming of age for Whistlers oldest base. Im not sure I like them, but I sure like the idea of having them there. Arts good for the soul. Now something capturing the spirit of the place would be perfect.
Its the People, Stupid : To John Zaritsky and the boys and girls who blurred the line between work and play to make Ski Bums . If the film gets wide distribution well be up to our elbows in wannabes next season. The Maxie for cinematography to Christian Begin who somehow captured both the grandeur and magic of mountains on film. Either that or I was having some incredible flashbacks. Please donate a copy of the video to the library so I can hear the dialogue that got absorbed at the conference centre during the premiere.