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Surviving the shoulder season

Seven steps to fighting the doldrums and courting chaos



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But there are other things to do besides hole up and study the secondary characters of Star Wars (remember Admiral Akbar?) so that you can trounce your friends at the George Lucas edition of Trivial Pursuit... though, come to think of it, it's not a bad idea, and occasionally copies surface down at the Re-Use It Centre, conveniently located down in Function Junction's recycle and garbage depot. This time of year, the Centre is chock-full of end-of-season rejects, including the occasional neon Bogner one-piece that will have you perfectly attired for Gaper Day on Blackcomb, as well as hundreds of VHS tapes, which.... oh hell, nobody has a VHS player anymore.

So let's face it: you're bored.

Step Two: Becoming a Tourist in Your Own Town

It's time to take the strategy to what philosophers call the ontological level: you need to change your state of being to fight off the boredom. Luckily this overdeveloped valley is packed with alternative activities, many with an ecotourism focus, and they've all been engineered to entertain you whatever the weather. Heck, the bike park opens May 18. But until then, options abound, from Cougar Mountain's Wildplay Zoom ziplines and Monkido courses — where you climb around above the ground like a monkey through suspended obstacle courses — to getting out on foot and exploring the melting snows of Garibaldi Park.

No one has lived well in Whistler until they've stripped themselves down to their skivvies and flung themselves off a bridge with Whistler Bungee — an experience that I can proudly attest to as absolutely terrifying. Leaping headlong toward the cold river below makes an ideal first date for the newbie you've just picked up at the Longhorn Saloon. Or, if your date appears a tad more sedate (think Buffalo Bill's), grab that proof of local coolness (i.e., you gotta live here) and claim that 20 per cent discount at Ziptrek.

Ziptrek is like some elvish fantasy for you Lord of the Rings fans, or a slightly more perverse furry dream for those of you who dig Ewok battlescenes. Even getting to the ziplines puts some perspective on the size of the hemlocks and other Really Big Trees in this coastal temperate rainforest—ecological concepts that I actually learnt thanks to the edutaining dialogue from Dan, one of two guides for the escapade.* With platforms and bridges suspended a good fifty feet or more among lichen-draped canopies, the sheer strength of the rainforest is as impressive as what you're about to do, which boils down to clipping your corps(e) to a coiled steel zipline and hurtling through open air, wind whipping at your face, as you squeal with delight, the river rushing below.