Opinion » Alta States

Mike Douglas – A most favourite Whistlerite


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."

- Dalai Lama

This is a Whistler story," he says. And I can't help but smile. For he's certainly got that right. His story is so intertwined with Whistler's that it's nearly impossible to tell where one starts and the other ends.

And it's kind of eerie too. Like other iconic Whistler athletes — Dave Murray, Rob Boyd, Eric Pehota and Trevor Peterson come to mind — the guy is so friendly and approachable that most people don't realize just how vital a role he's played in the ski business these last 20 years.

It bears reminding. Ever since Mike Douglas convinced Salomon to create the world's first twin-tipped ski back in the mid-1990s, the 40-something father of two has been riding one of the wildest roller-coasters in the snowsliding universe. But it's more than that. Douglas, you see, is a bit of a workaholic. He can't help himself, he tells me. He just keeps coming up with all these new ideas that need implementing.

And he definitely likes to stay busy. Founding member of the New Canadian Air Force, product innovator, pro skier, film star, TV host, motivational speaker, Whistler ambassador — and now award — winning filmmaker — the guy with the squeaky kid's voice and boy-next-door mien (he still doesn't look a day over 30!) continues to push the envelope when it comes to his professional development.

And unlike so many of his peers, his public persona is impeccable. Recognized around the world as the "Godfather of New School," Douglas eschewed many of the eccentricities espoused by his colleagues in the freeskiing/freestyle community. In other words, he is no Tanner Hall. It's not that he doesn't like to have a good time. Au contraire. It's just that Mike knows when to turn it on... and when to turn it off.

Mostly, though, it's about self-control. And Douglas has that in spades. Laugh if you will, but I believe that his clean image and disciplined style have convinced countless moms and dads around the world to allow their sons — and daughters — to get involved with freeskiing.

But enough of my words. Let's check in with the man himself.

"Whistler definitely helped to shape me as a person," he says. "In addition to its unique physical endowments, it has a well-earned reputation for attracting forward-thinking people...." He pauses in mid-sentence. Smiles. "I've lived in this community for 24 years now. And yet I still find inspiration from Whistler residents — every day! Whether it's Binty Massey or Eric Berger, Paul Morrison or Rob Boyd — the balanced lifestyle of most long-time locals still touches me deeply." He stops again. Laughs. "It's definitely something to aspire to..."