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Maxed Out

A hitchhikers guide to our universe (Don’t Panic)

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By G.D. Maxwell

I’d like to take this opportunity to personally offer a warm welcome to each and every one of this year’s batch of fresh-faced suckers, er, workers. Welcome to Whistler. Got skis? Got boards? Good. Now put ‘em away until you really need ‘em and stop treating them like some bizarre pet or lover. Patience, Grasshopper.

You’ve probably heard by now this is an El Niño year. For those of you unfamiliar with Latin, El Niño loosely translates to "the Niño." You’ve probably heard the last El Niño year was a kickass affair with snow so deep we all started to grow snorkels out of our foreheads. That’s true. Some of us still have our proto-snorkels and are training them, without much luck, to be secondary sex organs. Not that I have any first-hand knowledge of this phenomenon.

You’ve probably heard – doubtless offered up as the sage ramblings of some ageless, wizened mountain man guru, Jacques Morel perhaps – the snowfall will be early and hard this year. Let’s hope so. During the last El Niño, snow in Whistler was as elusive as those great housing deals and high paying jobs you’ve been looking for. When the White Circus came to town in November, the only snow on the lower three-quarters of the mountain was a manmade boulevard of ice on the Dave Murray Downhill run. Everything else was decorated for the occasion in earth tones.

When it finally came, the snow fell in buckets. So much snow fell – and so many people were knocked unconscious by the buckets – they had to cancel the World Cup downhill race. All was not lost though. The whole town gathered at the Conference Centre and watched the most elite ski racers in the world play video games. That may be the only sentence on this page without at least one major fabrication in it. If you can find anyone who lives here with enough memory left to remember that far back – hint: don’t look for them at parties or in bars – ask ‘em about it; I’m just reading old columns to remind myself.

Which brings me to this penetrating analysis of just how good the last El Niño season really was:

"After all that buildup, what arrived at the door was a pathetic, asthmatic, 98 pound – 44 and a half kilogram – weakling. El Niño, El Schmiño. I’ve seen better storms on a Geo dealer’s lot. Snowfall for the season was... average. The number of clear days was... average. Number of bone-chilling, Regis-freezing days was... average. Number of rain-to-the-top days was... average. Name this season John Smith and check it into a tacky motel just outside of town with its secretary and a roll of quarters for the Magic Fingers machine."

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