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"The Pimp and Ho parties involved a lot of people getting naked," says Mike with a laugh.
In fact, he says, the discussion of what is okay in public got pushed to a new level in 1999 when the Pimp and Ho party gave away tickets for Heli skiing. As Mike tells it, a girl jumped on stage with her boyfriend, ripped down his pants, and went down on him.
"Some people were shocked with it, but you've got to put it in perspective; her response was, "Are you kidding me! I do this for free all the time,'" says Mike. "It shocked so many people, but she was okay with it and he was good with it, and they got to go Heli skiing for free. Depending on how you look at it, it was one of the most shocking things or most normal things that happened."
Today, Merlin's has moved away from the naked parties and become more family friendly. They've dropped their old tag line - "Party naked at Merlin's" - along with the Pimp and Ho parties. But Mike says they still don't shy away from a free apres session.
"If someone takes their shirt off and gets on the table, we'll let them go for a while before we tell them to cover up."
TIME TO PASS THE TORCH?
It's been thirty years since the Toad Hall photo, 20 years since Barely Naked started and 10 years since Johnny Thrash rode the gryo sphere, but Whistler's naked torch is still burning bright. In fact, a man commonly called The Bone was probably the last person to carry it as he expressed his "freedom flag."
"There were too many rules, and I just wanted to get silly and remind people not to take things too seriously," says The Bone about why he started getting naked in public. "Everyone is so worried about style and imagination. I say, 'Drop your pants, and let's party.'"
The first time The Bone dropped his pants was in 1995. He was sitting at the bar drinking and thought it would it was funny because he was just normally conversing with people even though he didn't have any pants on.
"Things just snowballed from there," he says.
One of The Bone's first full-on streaks was after Canada won the gold in ice hockey during the 2002 Olympics. He started at Buffalo Bills and did a lap around the village. He's also done weddings, naked ski days, film festivals and more.
"It has become very calculated now," says The Bone. "In the beginning, it was kind of sloppy. Now, my escape is always planned out. I am much more methodical about it now."