"Itll be at least a two hour wait and we dont take reservations."
"Sorry, weve run out of nachos tonight."
"Youre drinks are coming soon, I promise."
I heard them all and more this holiday season.
It would seem that the reports of the pitiful snowfall early in the season did nothing to deter Whistler-bound travellers from strapping skis onto their roof racks and coming to visit over the holiday season.
I was wholly unprepared for the hordes; sometimes you just forget that you live in a resort town.
You somehow get used to ambling through village without having to jostle through the crowds and you grow accustomed to getting prime seats on patios for apres.
Thinking back I should have been ready for the deluge. I vividly remember strolling from restaurant to restaurant last year around the Christmas holidays with no luck. The stroll soon turned into a frantic rush around town, the rumbling in our bellies getting louder by the minute. There was no room for us anywhere.
As a last resort we jumped in the car and tried our luck in Creekside and ever since Hozs has been one of my favourite pubs in Whistler a place where you can generally always get a beer and a burger no matter what the season.
That memory must have faded over the two slow shoulder seasons since.
Or maybe I had just convinced myself that Whistler would be ours (by "ours" I mean those of us that live here year-round and endure the rainy shoulder seasons) for the whole winter. I thought those nasty reports about this being the worst start to the season since 76 would have kept all the tourists at bay. It was not to be.
Now, dont get me wrong. Its not that I dont like the tourists. Lets face it, Whistler wouldnt be Whistler without them.
It just takes a little while to get back into the swing of the busy winter season, for all of us. Things like the wall-to-wall cars in the Marketplace parking lot vying for spots, the lineups halfway down the aisles just to buy a piece of gum or a carton of milk in the grocery store, the sold out movie theatres, the hordes of people in the lift lines and of course the interminably long waits to get a table at any local restaurant.
I should have been expecting all these things. Instead, they caught me completely by surprise.
The village and all its amenities are primarily for the tourists during the busy season, as they should be, and I should have stayed clear for the past three weeks while they were here. Instead, I decided to try my luck going out for dinner a few times. Each time it was a mistake and reports from a few friends point to the same experience.