Opinion » Alta States

Steve Andrews – Young Man On A Mission



"Most of us are not real eager to grow. We try to be happy by staying in the status quo. But if we're not willing to be honest with ourselves about what we feel, we don't evolve."

- Actress Olympia Dukakis

He's another Northshore import. Grew up with the mountains virtually in his backyard. Riding, cycling, hiking, exploring the wild. As a kid, he spent many a winter weekend at Whistler, listening to his dad spin stories about the wild old days here. And something about that freewheeling Alta Lake ski culture remains with him — even today in 2013. He's a post-modern romantic. A millennial Dharma Bum trying to fit his round life-peg in a mountain-resort town fast becoming square.

And he looks the part. Stringy locks hang to his shoulders. A sparse beardlet clings to his chin. Saggy-butted pants and oversized jacket. Glance his way quickly and that's all you might see — just another nouveau hipster. Yawn. The town's full of 'em.

But look again and you might be lucky enough to catch one of his all-embracing grins. There's absolutely no attitude in the smile. No sense of entitlement. No condescension. It's open. Guileless... "Hey – happy to meet you," it says. "What are you all about?" And you can't really help yourself. You have to grin in return.

There hasn't been a really good battle of the generations, let me see... hmm, probably since the boomers announced to their (mostly) law-abiding parents that they were "turning on and tuning out" in the mid-1960s. Half a century ago. Ironic isn't it, that the current generational donnybrook pits frustrated millennials against their limelight-hogging parents? The very same who shoved aside their own...

But that's a whole other story. We were talking about Steve Andrews. Social entrepreneur, journalist, poet, tennis coach. You know, the kid who had the stones to run for Whistler council last year? The one who wasn't afraid to (politely) poke at the community's sacred cows during his campaign? Who'd (politely again) pose the uncomfortable questions, who'd make some of the local power brokers harrumph: "Naïve kid. No experience of the real world. Totally out of his league."

Which begs the question — how the heck do you ever get to raise your political game if you're immediately dismissed for being inexperienced?

"I learned so much by running for council," say the soon-to-be thirty year old. "I had a goal, you know. In trying to start a new business at Whistler I ran into so many road-blocks — I soon discovered that the way the muni functioned here, it really wasn't on the side of small businessmen like me." He stops. Shrugs. Smiles self-consciously. "Anyway — that's why I ran. The needs of the resort always seemed to supersede the needs of the community." He sighs. "What those in charge don't realize is that the development of a vibrant, unique, healthy community will attract visitors in spades... way more than the latest marketing trends!"

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