In a year when the ever inward-looking Canadian press declared the 2010 Olympics story of the year - and admittedly, it may well be right up there with the Deepwater Horizon and the crumbling global economy to complete a hat trick of disasters - who am I to argue? But for the denizens of Tiny Town, the five-ring circus was only one of the gaggle of 500-pound gorillas in the room this year. With so few words, so many achievements to honour, let's open the envelopes and pique into the Maxies for 2010.
Best On-Mountain Improvement: Goodbye Fortress. Goodbye Intrawest. No longer a cog in the machine, Whistler Blackcomb is its own machine... kind of. The future's unknown and unknowable but at least there are fewer pirates running the ship.
Best Skiing Experience: Thank the Olympic aversion, but skiing in January and February was a lonesome, wonderful, Twilight Zone-like experience. There were times I thought I'd missed the "Closed Area" sign.
Power to Da People: The Fitz IPP managed to get built without hurting fish, pissing off kayakers or raising the ire of almost anyone. But if Hydro rates are going up for WB, won't income from the IPP go up too?
Is it Safe: Let's see, for One Billion Tax Dollars we got cops busted for shoplifting, sent home for sneaking hookers into their cruise ship quarters, pullin' down $90K a year to... raise and lower the flags at medals ceremonies, fully 13 at the intersection of 99 and Lake Placid to make sure I crossed on the green, pigloos, soldiers in the backcountry, tempnazis making sure we didn't smuggle tweezers into the plaza, and an overall oppressive atmosphere. But hey, the terrorists stayed home.
Is it Green: The roads were clear; the parking lots were clear; we all took transit... so a fleet of SUVs could have the highway to themselves to shuttle delicately important people to and from events, often deadheading one way.
Is it Here: Adding a comic human touch to the proceedings, ever-helpful Whistlerites pitched in to direct hopelessly lost, out-of-town bus drivers in the early days of their job. "No, dude, Function's the other way."
Best Olympic Moment: The closing ceremonies. Self-deprecating Canadian humour at its apex. From the first mime electrician to the arena-size table hockey game, to Captain Kirk to Hedley, it was the campiest, most entertaining Olympic ceremony I've ever seen.
The Agony and the Ecstasy: It began with the horrific death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili and ended with the five gold medals of paralympian, Lauren Woolstencroft. In between we soared with Alexandre Bilodeau, hometown girls Ashleigh and Maëlle, honourary Whistlerite Jon Montgomery and the other Canadian athletes who made us almost as nationalistic and proud as the Americans. Red-mitten applause to you all.