Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

They’re already here

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“Imagine the day when there will be one lift queue at W/B for members of ‘the club’ and another for non-members.” Yo, Beaudry, the future is the past, dude.

There are few things in life I enjoy more than a sunny patio, a refreshing beverage and a marathon rant with Michel Beaudry, Pique’s Alta States columnist. I can’t keep up with Michel on skis and, truth be told, can’t keep up with him on a rantpage but if two-man, tag-team ranting ever becomes an Olympic sport — c’mon, is that any more absurd than solo synchronized swimming? — I think he and I would be contendahs for gold medals, assuming the draconian anti-doping rules don’t extend to residual traces of alcohol and hops.

And as a professional courtesy, a one big happy family sort of rule, I don’t generally comment on what other Pique columnists toss out in the court of public opinion when I feel they’re either off the mark or, more likely, haven’t gone far enough… which is to say too far. But I believe Michel gunned for small game last week when he took aim at the proposed Whistler-Blackcomb Rich Peoples’ Club (RPC) and completely missed the elephant in the parlour. Forgive me, Michel; I’ll buy the next rounds.

The rich are just like you and me — okay, you — only different. And the Very Rich are different still from the simply rich, the difference being more than just capitalization of the non-monetary variety. With ownership of Intrawest having moved from the simply rich, Joe “I’m Canadian dammit” Houssian, to the Very — and quite possibly Filthy — Rich principals of Fortress, it’s only natural evolution that Whistler-Blackcomb would cast an envious eye toward Rich People of all modifying adjectives as a potential source of new revenue. After all, Very and Filthy Rich guys have pretty much sucked all the wealth and life out of working stiffs, government, middle management and po’ folk so who’s left to mine in the neverending quest for More?

But whether WB can line up enough insecure rich folks suffering from low self-esteem and an acute desire to remove themselves from all the impoverished ragamuffins who come here to ski and form a RPC is really beside the point. Ditto the Crown Land argument. The fact is, they’ve been doing it for years and there is truly a much more elitist “private” club(s) that have been chipping away at my skiing pleasure for years.

But before revealing the real scoundrels, let’s pause while our waiter refreshes our drinks and brings us a reality cheque. Skiing, and I don’t think this is revealing a trade secret, is pretty much all about catering to rich people. Okay, relatively rich people. Not polo rich but way richer than pickup basketball rich. And catering to rich, richer, richest has a long and glorious tradition in Tiny Town. Consider the following.

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