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Pique n your interest

The curse

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Whistler is blessed with beautiful mountains, forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rivers, and streams. The snow falls in the winter and the sun can be counted on to shine for at least part of the summer.

The weather makes this place, but it could just as easily break it. Imagine what would happen if the snow decided to stay away one year, or the rain didn’t let up enough one summer to allow for even one round of golf. What would happen to the hotels, stores and restaurants if people stayed away? What would happen to the residents who depend on those businesses for their livelihood?

It’s a chilling idea, but really nothing to make you reach for the Pepto Bismol. It would be a freak meteorological oddity for an entire season to be ruined by bad weather.

When it comes to weekends and special events, however, it’s a different story.

The weather has wreaked havoc in the past on everything from World Cup skiing to skateboarding competitions. It’s such a common phenomenon in town that I’ve heard of it referred to as "The Whistler Curse." The bigger the event, the more severe the weather system.

The International Federation of Skiing took away Whistler’s World Cup downhill event after it was cancelled three years in a row due to the weather.

The SkateSpace BMX, skateboard and In-line skating contest and expo had rain four days out of five last summer, cancelling the vert ramp events and delaying just about everything else.

This winter the weather hampered the World Cup snowboarding events in December, the World Cup freestyle events in January, the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships for alpine skiing in March, and the Whistler Cup international juvenile ski races in April. It also affected a number of smaller events in between.

On a personal scale, the unpredictable weather has no doubt ruined days for all of us. I had friends come to visit from Ontario who didn’t see one shred of blue sky for the entire visit, and probably left Whistler wondering what I see in this place.

For me the snow and rain have ruined hikes, bike rides, picnics, snowboarding, or just about any outdoor activity you could name.

There is always snow during the annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, but this year the weather created some of the worst conditions I’ve seen in my three seasons skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb.

It rained during the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational big air event, and while that didn’t stop thousands of people from converging in Mountain Square, it made more than a few photographers and videographers grumble.

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