Fifteen's tough. It's one of those unusual odd numbers that seems kind of even and round, owing to its triad grouping of fives, and therefore worthy of celebration. Yet, 15 isn't really an age most of us celebrate to any great extent.
Fifteen's the nether region between childhood and adulthood, a time given over to adolescence, pimples, a raging - and quite possibly guilt-producing - curiosity about all things sexual and any number of things to make us feel self-conscious: awkward growth, cracking voices, responsibility without authority, pubic hair, lack thereof, group showers, first dates, an unnatural obsession with the exact definition of cool and the woeful realization we fall far short of achieving it.
On the other hand, 15 really is cool if you're talking about the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Just having survived to the 15 th edition of anything in a town like Whistler, with its transient population and short attention span, is something to celebrate. And having found enough enthusiastic volunteers not suffering Olympic burnout to pull it off this year is both noteworthy and, well, reason enough to celebrate.
So Whistler, let's get down. This is your town party.
If you want to channel some spirit, feel some community pride or any of the other emotions being batted about as reasons(sic) for squandering tax dollars on the single summer celebration that needs it least - Canada Day - all you have to do is wander the village any afternoon during the Festival. What you'll see is turned-on Whistleratics groovin' to free music, checkin' out the art at the conference centre, catchin' the latest generational films, watching athletes that matter to them doing things they like to do, soaking up generous amounts of patio time and generally creating the cultural vibe that makes this place unique in a sea of cookie-cutter ski towns.
What you won't see, for the most part, are the folks who think that other, contrived party makes sense. For reasons best left to prolonged psychoanalysis, they're channeling some palpable negativity towards WSSF. Some say it's personal, I just think it's an age thing. Not necessarily a chronological age thing. It's just that they've gotten too serious to be frivolous enough to take their clothes off and dance nekkid... metaphorically, thankfully, not literally, even more thankfully.
Oh well, their loss.
On the celebration of its 15 th birthday, let's reminisce. Just a little. Let's remember, for example, what a ridiculous idea holding an, at the time, sporting event in a ski town in April was back in 1995.