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Naked history

Exposing Whistler’s unclothed past and present

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Page 7 of 9

"I don't want to brag about it," he says today about his Moulin Rouge-esque throwdowns. "I felt I threw a good party. People were always asking me what I was going to do the next year. There was a sense of excitement."

In 2007, though, the risqué parties were shut down when the liquor licensing department and Tourism Whistler kicked up a fuss about what was going down inside the doors of Bear Foot Bistro.

"I was told that I could do it in a format that would be completely regressing," Andre says. "I could have a tea party. And I was not having a tea party so I opted not to do it. You just can't go backwards."

But Andre hasn't totally turned his back on MasquerRave and its naked, glamourous, envelope-pushing agenda, saying: "I would love to do it again, but it would have to be with the blessing of the municipality, with whoever is looking after Cornucopia, and Tourism Whistler."

PARTY NAKED AT MERLIN'S

While Andre was playing out glitz at the Bear Foot Bistro, the man managing Merlin's was also testing Whistler's boundaries.

"When I was brand new to Whistler my boss at the time said to me, 'We want you to push the limit,'" says Mike Varrin, now manager of the GLC. "He said, 'If people aren't in my office angry at what you are doing at least once a week then you are not doing a good job.'"

And so how did Mike scandalize après sessions? He threw a hot tub party on Merlin's deck: Splash Nash, the hot tub guy, had just moved to town, and he helped Varrin thrown his "Drop Your Gear for a Beer" party.

"Well, the whole patio was naked with people screaming for beer," laughs Varrin. "It was an overwhelming experience. We had to stop doing it because we couldn't afford to give out that much free beer."

From there, Mike brought in Naked Limbo - a contest to see who would go the furthest the lowest, along with several other naked get-togethers. 

But perhaps his most legendary events were his Pimp and Ho parties, done in conjunction with Extremely Canadian in the late '90s and early '00s. The focus of the parties was "What is the most extreme thing you would do for something?" - starting out with a pair of skis and moving up to a Heli Trip.