"Why do you live in Whistler? What are you passionate about?"
I know I'm a little late getting to my Backyard Barbeque Brainstorm but it's been a busy summer. Besides, I'm certain my answers will be given as much weight as if I'd have done them a couple of weeks ago.
I live in Whistler because I can't imagine living anywhere else. I live here because it's stunning and because I don't bowl, which is one of the few things you can't do in this town. I live here because I can walk to the base of Whistler Mountain and enjoy some of the best skiing in the world, I can walk out my door and in minutes be lost in, well, if not wilderness, at least a wild place... on a trail system I could wander for days and never backtrack or find my way home. Because Whistler's a small town with a big buzz, small enough that I can make a difference.
I'm passionate about keeping it that way. Not encasing it in amber and enshrining the status quo but not letting it go down the road to fatuousness, not letting it become a playground catering exclusively to the lifestyles of the rich and annoying, keeping it a place where dirtbag ski bums can still feel at home without tripping over the more egregious excesses of the Whistler Standard, whatever that is.
"What makes Whistler a great place?"
It's the people, stupid! Always has been, always will until the question is rephrased, "What used to make Whistler a great place?" Think about it for a minute. Why are you here? Where did you come from? Why do you stay?
I've never lived in a town that was so young, so vibrant and so unshackled by the weight of history. Whistler's history - as opposed to Alta Lake's history - is contemporary for so many of us, barely 50 years old. We can still talk to many of the people who built this place.
With the exception of a couple of youngish adults, no one who lives here is from here. We all chose to come here. We all choose to live here... every day. We have to because it's just too hard to live here if you're not committed to it. It's expensive, jobs don't pay enough, and cracking the housing nut is daunting. Whistler is not for the faint of heart.
What does that mean? That means we live in a town full of enthusiastic, dedicated, energetic people. Yeah, I know. So where the heck are they? All around. Busy, active, carving out life in between carving turns. When we're able to tap into them and get them turned on, it's an awesome sight to behold. And when they're apathetic, it's world-class apathy.