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The Best of Whistler 2001

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Quintessential Whistler

Best place to spend your last $10

If the last few bucks of a pay cheque have to go somewhere, most people in Whistler would opt for them to go down their throats. Booze was rated the best way of drowning a bank account. The Liquor Store got the top votes in this category, with various bars also getting a mention.

Some of the hungrier respondents chose to spend their pennies on food, with IGA and Nesters coming high on the list.

One chronic voter said the best way to part with $10 was to buy a dime bag, which at least solves the problem of change.

Most extreme Whistler thing to do

Some things that most Canadians take for granted can be considered extreme in Whistler. Things like trying to save money, finding a place to rent, finding the funds to pay for that rent, doing laundry, sleeping and even simply surviving were voted some of the most extreme things to do here.

While a lot of sports activities also got a mention, especially heli-trips, Whistlerites do other extreme things without a mountain bike, skis, a snowmobile, snowboard or... clothes.

Doing things naked got a lot of votes as the most extreme thing to do – partying naked, celebrating Aussie Day naked, skiing down 7 th Heaven naked, partying at the Pimp and Ho naked, swimming in Green Lake naked. And while you don't have to necessarily be naked to do it, having sex in the gondola was also considered an extreme pastime.

Best use of public funds

Maybe it's because they spread the holiday glow but the Christmas lights in the village tied for first place here with Millennium Place. Tying for second place was the library and the skate park. After that, everyone had a different opinion about the best way to empty the public purse – votes went to Wave, snowplows, bear proofing the garbage cans and the public bathrooms around town, among many others.

Worst use of public funds

If people had various opinions about the good things that the muni did with its coin this year, you can bet they had a wide range of opinions about the worst things that they did, too.

For the most part, voters were not terribly impressed with the money that was spent on gates separating the neighbourhoods. In addition, more people saw Millennium Place as a bad way of emptying the public coffers rather than a good way. The river at the Brew House, the Olympic Bid and paving the day lots all got the thumbs down.

Parking cops – not too popular. The RCMP – not too popular either.

Worst Whistler trend

You might think you're trendy strutting around town in high heels, with diamonte sunglasses, a one piece ski suit, and an animal winter hat, but according to voters, these are considered some of Whistler's worst trends.

The survey shows we’re a fashion conscious town and other fashion faux pas on the list included; the mullet look, huge pants, designer wear, visors worn upside down, studded belts, wearing toques indoors, a goggle tan and anything in neon.

But the perpetual worst Whistler trends are the high winter rents, which tied for first place with oversized SUVs.

Party of 2001

The name itself suggests that it's going to be a good time regardless – the Extremely Canadian Pimp and Ho Party got top choice again this year. It was followed closely by Halloween, New Year's and the WSSF. And the Pemberton Barn dance also got a few votes, which goes to show that you can't judge a party based on its name alone.

New business

It's a cutthroat business town but if you've got the goods, they will come.

Three new businesses tied for first place this year, each one offering a different product or service: Shakespeare's to fill an empty tummy full of warm pies on the way home from the bars; Esquires to quench a coffee craving; and Consider It Done, which offers a plethora of concierge-style services.

The Great Glass Elevator came in a close runner-up.

Gift/present that most says ‘Whistler’

Some voters may have taken this category a little too literally. Then again, many people would be hard pressed to find a store in Whistler that doesn't carry merchandise with a Whistler logo emblazoned somewhere on it. Some of the presents that made it into this category were; a shot glass, fleece, T-shirt, magnet, bumper sticker, sweatshirt, baseball cap and a cheesy snowglobe.

But the hands down winner, the gift that everyone wants, the gift that says Whistler the most, without actually "saying" Whistler is, of course, a ski pass.

Place in Whistler least like Whistler

We like to play in this town and nothing illustrates that more than the fact that somebody actually voted "work" as the place least like Whistler.

And the place that dictates most of our lives in this town also got a vote – the Whistler-Blackcomb offices.

Strangely, the place that got the most votes is probably the place with the most locals on any given day. Even though it's the home of the ever handy Re-Use It Centre, – Function Junction rates as the top choice for the place in Whistler least like Whistler.

Mountain view

The debate continues – is this the best place from which to view a mountain OR the best mountain to view from? Rainbow Park got the most votes, followed by the top of the Peak Chair, the top of Whistler and Blueberry Hill. One voter who obviously just could not make up his/her mind wrote "every direction."

Best place for people watching

Sitting on Citta's patio is like taking the pulse of Whistler, according to this survey. The restaurant, located in the heart of the village, was voted the top place to check out who and what's going on in town. It was the hands down winner, with no other spot even giving it a run for its money, except maybe Moguls Coffee House, directly across Village Square from Citta’s. Other restaurants and coffee spots that also got a mention were Black's Pub, Blendz, La Brasserie and Splitz.

Favourite Whistlerite

He's done it again. Rabbit gets the most votes as the most popular local. Johnny Thrash and Crucial Mike of 'Ski Bums' fame also got a few mentions. Votes also went to some of the local famous athletes like Rob Boyd and Steve Podborski.

Best make out spot

Voted as the best place to wait out a blizzard, the gondolas also got the most votes for the best place to make out. (It might be the best way to pass the time while waiting out the blizzard.)

Other places that got the romantic juices flowing were the Meadow Park steam room, the nudy dock at Lost Lake, the old disc golf course and the side of any ski run.

Three of the less discerning voters wrote "anywhere," "everywhere" and "you pick the bar."

Best excuse for being late to work

All the typical answers apply here. People claim to be late for work in Whistler for the same reasons they claim to be late anywhere else in the country – traffic, accident on the highway, car got towed, the bus was late, road work, having sex, slept in, and hung over.

There were also many excuses that would only fly in Whistler. The top choice was, of course, the snow. Other excuses unique to Whistler were: getting stuck on the gondola, getting caught in an avalanche, the lift breaking down, the snowplow was blocking the driveway, getting stuck on the road behind a tourist, 7 th Heaven opening up and having Ozzie roommates.

Best neighbourhood

Well, everybody thinks that theirs is the best. Alpine Meadows gets the most votes here, with Alta Vista and Spruce Grove tying for second place, followed closely by Creekside in third. Most of the other neighbourhoods in town also got a mention.

Best lie to tell tourists

It's hard to imagine that some tourists would believe some of this stuff. Perhaps it’s the mountain air, perhaps the fresh powder, maybe it's because they're on holiday that makes them so gullible. Whatever the reason there's no excuse to be falling for some of these lines:

"We cut the top off Whistler to make it a bowl." "It's a different time zone on top of Whistler." "Oh, it's not hard skiing at the Peak." "The rooms in the village are quiet at night." "There's not enough snow to ski." "I love whale blubber." "Sorry, we don't take any U.S. $." "All residents live in igloos." and the ultimate lie: "We love tourists."

Best public place during a blizzard

Measly things like blizzards can't keep Whistlerites off the mountain. Believe it or not, most voters would prefer to be on the hill rather than in front of a cozy fire during a raging blizzard. There were even a couple of votes from people who think that hanging suspended in a gondola would be the best public place to wait out a blizzard.

Close runner-ups however, go to various local bars. When the weather turns bad most people choose to camp out in the Longhorn, Merlin’s, and Tapley's.

Food & Drink

Best restaurant

It may strike some as a little strange that in a mountain town the top two restaurants, as voted by locals, specialize in fish. Of course Sushi Village, which was the top vote getter, and the Rimrock Café are about more than fish but voters definitely have a taste for fish, as Sushi Ya and Monk McQueen’s also earned a number of votes. Uli’s Flipside finished third.

Best restaurant when someone else pays

No shortage of possibilities here, just a shortage of people willing to pay for your dinner at one of Whistler’s finer restaurants.

The fish trend continued in this category. The Rimrock, Bob Dawson and Rolf Gunther’s well-established, out-of-the-way Whistler Creekside original topped the list. The Rimrock had twice the number of votes of runner up La Rúa, Mario Enero’s fine upscale restaurant in Le Chamois. Right behind La Rúa was Andre St. Jacque’s Bearfoot Bistro.

Best value

If seafood seems to be Whistlerites’ preference, they gravitate toward pasta when they have to consider what their pocket books will bear. Uli’s Flipside, where you can get dinner late into the night, was the number one choice in this category. Pasta Lupino, the tiny shop next to the 7-Eleven where you can eat in or take it home, was runner up. The Old Spaghetti Factory was third. Caramba!, which serves pasta as well as a variety of other items, was fourth.

Best new restaurant

Voters seem to establish a trend in one category and it carries over to the next category. Pasta Lupino garnered the most votes, just edging out Shakespeare’s Pies. Joel Thibault’s Bavaria Restaurant, in the space formerly occupied by Fogata, was a very close third.

Also in the mix were Colin Pitt-Taylor’s Riverside Junction Café, at the new campground, and Earl’s.

Best wine list

Unlike other categories in the Food & Drink section where nearly every establishment got votes, Whistlerites have almost come to a consensus on which restaurants have the best wine lists. Not surprisingly, they are the restaurants which spend considerable time, effort and expense in assembling their wine cellars.

The Bearfoot Bistro, which features a spiral staircase in the middle of the restaurant leading down to its wine cellar, topped the list. Getting lost in Andre St. Jacques cellar with only a corkscrew to survive would be heaven for many.

Second place goes to Araxi Restaurant, Jack Evrensel’s lavish restaurant on Village Square, which celebrated its 20 th anniversary this fall.

La Rúa, which also has a fine cellar, was third.

Atmosphere

When it comes to atmosphere Whistler voters seemed to prefer something casual. Not that any restaurant in Whistler is considered formal by city standards, but voters this year were looking for mountain casual.

Citta’s topped the list, just edging out Uli’s Flipside. Sushi Village was just a vote behind Uli’s in third place and the Trattoria was only one vote behind Uli’s in fourth place.

Best Pizza

Unstoppable on the mountain and unstoppable in this category: Avalanche. Avalanche Pizza was the runaway-and-hide-and-don’t-even-look-for-anyone-else winner in this category. Not that there weren’t plenty of votes for the multitude of other pizza makers in town, but no one could stop, or top, Avalanche.

Runner up was Domino’s, and solidly in third place was new-comer and cross-street rival Busterino’s.

Best place for Scotch

Another category where the top three stood out from the rest of the crowd. Topping the list was the Mallard Lounge, the Chateau Whistler’s ultra-comfortable, classy living room, and one of the best places for locals and visitors to mingle.

Runner up was Black’s Pub, Lawrence Black’s fine establishment overlooking Skiers Plaza and the two village gondolas. Third place went to the Dubh Linn Gate, the authentic Irish pub which has a similar view to Black’s Pub.

Best place for cigars

A category that has declined a little in popularity since the cigar-mania of a few years ago, but still something some people care passionately about.

Again the Mallard was voted number one, ahead of the Bearfoot Bistro and third place finisher Castro’s.

Best steaks

Not everyone in Whistler is into fish, or if they are they’re also into beef – in a big way. Hy’s Steakhouse ran away with this category like a bull charging a red flag. Hy’s garnered more than twice as many votes as runner up The Keg, and 10 times as many votes as third place finisher Bearfoot Bistro.

Don’t get in the way of a beef-eater on his or her way to Hy’s.

Best burgers

The winner, undefeated since starting business, and why-don’t-we-just-retire-this-award-or-re-name-it-in-their-honour champion is, of course, Splitz Grill. No other winner in any category garnered as many votes as Splitz. Their popularity is also reflected in a move to new digs this year – next door to the original location on Main Street – which include a larger sit-down area.

Not that you shouldn’t try other restaurants’ burgers – Citta’s finished second in the voting, followed by the Brewhouse, Longhorn and Hoz’s Pub, which makes a great burger with green olives – but the people’s choice is, was, and may always be Splitz.

Best takeout

The Pita Pit took top honours in this category – kind of a battle of ethnic fast foods – edging out La Tortilleria. Splitz Grill was third.

Best breakfast/brunch

You could always get breakfast at a hotel in Whistler, but the selection of restaurants serving breakfast and brunch has only started to grow fairly recently.

Despite the new choices, the top pick is an old favourite. The Southside Deli is number one with voters. Where else can you get a Belch for breakfast?

A close second was La Brasserie, the little bistro on Village Stroll. Tied for third, right behind La Brass, were Milestone’s and the Junction Café in Function Junction.

Best latte

For those who like their coffee with a bunch of foam, the popular place to go is Starbucks. But a very close second place goes to Moguls coffee house. Second Cup came in third this time around. Blenz and Esquires tied for fourth down on Coffee Row, between the Tyndal Stone Lodge and Marketplace.

Best beer selection

The Dubh Linn Gate wins this category by a country mile. A selection of Irish and English ales and beers, as well as a bunch from the Continent and a few from the New World, lend an international influence to the Irish pub.

Black’s Pub, which boasts a fine selection of its own, finished second. The Brewhouse, the only brewer in town since Whistler Brewing moved out, was third.

Service

Did we mention Whistlerites’ affinity for "casual?" The Longhorn Saloon took top honours for service. They have to be good with 50,000 people streaming off the mountains at the end of a ski day.

Tied for second were Sushi Village and Citta’s.

Best chef

Chefs aren’t as celebrated as snowboarders or mountain bikers in Whistler, though among their peers they stand just as tall as champion athletes do among their peers. That may be behind some of the votes for restaurants, rather than chefs.

But the man at the top of this list, and rightly one of the most celebrated chefs in Whistler, is Chef Bernard Casavant. Chef Bernard’s good work is not limited to the kitchen; he’s helped many other young chefs get their start in the business and he’s also been one of the long-standing champions of B.C.’s food industry.

Scott Kidd, executive chef at Araxi’s, is runner up.

Best waiter

Again, waiters don’t hold the same status as snowboarders in Whistler, even though many are snowboarders. Consequently there were a lot of votes for restaurants rather than waiters, and a lot of votes that only gave first names of waiters at particular restaurants. The winner, then, is Ronnie at Trattoria. Just about everybody else who is a waiter got at least one vote.

Best sushi

Another category where there wasn’t much competition. Sushi Village was the hands down winner, with Sushi Ya a distant second.

Best martinis

Martinis being the in-vogue drink right now, everyone’s got a recipe. Consequently, everyone has a favourite, and there is wide discrepancy on what a martini is or should taste like.

Without getting into that debate the drinkers/voters of Whistler have declared Savage Beagle to have the best martinis, although it was a close decision. The Chateau’s Mallard Lounge and Earl’s(?) were tied for second spot.

Best seafood

This should be obvious if you’ve read who won the Best restaurant when someone else pays category. The Rimrock Café is the hands down winner, and would be a winner in any city.

The Crab Shack was second, but an ocean away from Rimrock in voting. Sushi Village was third.

Clubs

Best DJ

With top talent spinning a variety of genres from ambient to house music, voting Best DJ is tough pick of vinyl, but consistent mentions went to Matt the Alien, of various gigs and Tree Top film soundtracks. Stoli finished second and DJ Czech was third in voting for turntablists.

Best Bartender

Sometimes you serve Oban with such zest you change venues just to keep it fresh. Andy, formerly at Val d’Isere Restaurant and now with Il Caminetto di Umberto, makes the move from French to Italian entrees while mixing cocktails for appreciative patrons. Andy makes the best ‘grape kneehigh’ martini in town, according to voters. Dave Paul was runner up.

Best Place to Cut a Rug

Down and low is how you like to groove, with Moe Joe’s taking top spot for Best Place to Cut a Rug, followed by Garfinkel’s and its ever-popular locals’ night. Tiki Hut Tommy Africa’s took third, with its delicious blend of beats per theme night and go-go dancers on speaker-speakers. The double-level Savage Beagle was a close fourth. "Carpet factory" also got a vote from some wise-ass.

Best Place to See a Live Act

Hands together, pints raised, the best place to see a live act – by a country mile – is the Boot Pub. There’s loads of history in this bar at the Shoestring Lodge, where the emphasis is on live music every week, rather than lavish decor.

Garfinkel’s was next in line, followed by Buffalo Bill’s. Additional mentions went to GLC, the Shack, Dusty’s, and Moe Joe’s, with one winter keener listing ‘outdoors’ as the best place for any fundamental instumentals.

Coolest Staff

Serve it up! Consistent service with a smile goes to those at Moe Joe’s, who relentlessly pour cold pints for thirsty audiences. Second place went to the Longhorn, with the smooth service at Citta’s earning that establishment third place. The Boot and Garf’s followed close behind. One voter offered a tip of the hat to IGA, proving the purveyors of cool can be as close as the local grocery shop.

Apres Ski Bar

Changing up the order for best at the end of a ski or board day, the Longhorn was easily number one. It was followed by the GLC and Merlin’s, at the base of Blackcomb.

Best Patio

Patios apres-ski, Whistler’s unspoken top activity, goes to long-standing locals meeting place Citta’s, where the central village view makes people-watching ideal. The Longhorn was second, probably owing to loads of seating and the best view in the valley of riders coming off the mountains. With a European sidewalk café look and feel, the Brasserie des Artistes scored enough votes to wind up third. Dutch-flavoured neighbour Amsterdam Pub Café was fourth.

Place to Shoot Some Stick

Follow your cue to Whistler’s favourite place to shoot stick: the Longhorn. Second place went to the Brewhouse, followed by Citta’s and the Boot Pub.

Local hangout

Citta’s still takes kudos as top local hangout – a classic pit stop after a day of slow modems and tourist traffic. Close behind in voting was the Boot. Whistler Village’s original neighbourhood pub, Tapley’s, was third.

Media

Best Local Band or Musician

Guitar Doug Craig tops the voting this year, just ahead of last year’s winners Pete & Chad and the Whole Damn County. Doug’s solo gigs have earned him the "Daddy-O of the patio" title. His talents have earned him gigs with local band Big Up, but he’s most often heard with Grateful Greg Reamsbottom. Together as the Hairfarmers their folksy, psychedelic, bluegrass keeps apres ski crowds highly entertained.

Pete and Chad and the County were second, followed by Leanne and Kyla, regulars at the Dubh Linn Gate.

Best Local Artist

If art is life, then there’s a lot of life in this mountain town. So much that many readers couldn’t pick just one favourite artist.

Long-time local painter Isobel MacLaurin tops the list, followed closely by another long-time resident, potter Vincent Massey.

The artists who received votes range from abstract acrylic painter Gavin Livingstone to photographers Blake Jorgenson and Greg Griffiths, to Sonya at Blackcomb Barbers.

We’d like to add a couple votes for Pique artist Aaron Baggio, whose work can be seen most weeks on Pique Newsmagazine’s covers.

Best Local Writer

Words, words, words. Again this year it was G.D. Maxwell who garnered the best local writer award. Contacted for his thoughts on this prestigious award Maxwell’s first thought was: "Oh no, now I won’t be surprised on Friday." He quickly added, "but do I get my a free subscription?"

Honourable mentions included Grace Chadsey, Stephen Vogler, Mogul Monahan and the Pique’s own Andrew Mitchell.

Event of the Season

Go big or go home. The Big Air event is again Event of the Season for Whistlerites. The World Ski and Snowboard Festival, which includes the Big Air, was second in the voting. Opening day of the ski season wound up third.

Other events earning multiple votes included Cornucopia, the opening of Maurice Young Millennium Place, Nor-Am Races, the Turkey Sale, the Pemberton Barn Dance and Artrageous.

Local News Story You’re Most Sick Of

A mile wide but not an inch deep, this topic’s range of answers was more vast than the terrain at Brohm Ridge. However, "anything about the Olympics" was the clear number one.

A perennial favourite (not), the housing situation was runner up. Third place went to anything to do with Sept. 11.

Other votes went to the gates at Blueberry and Spruce Grove, dogs, the bed unit cap, snow, loss of tourists and one curmudgeon who was "sick of all of them."

Quote of the Year

Not a lot of consistency in this category, and some people chose ad slogans or commercial pitches as quotes of the year. Lame.

Some of the better entries included: "I’m so wasted…" "We live in an extreme town." "Osama you don’t let your women work and you don’t let them vote, so you’ll be getting all your sex from a mountain goat." "If it doesn’t kill me it will make me stronger."

The winner, as determined by a panel of judges, is: "That was soooo epic!" or variations on that theme.

Sports

You’d be hard pressed to find a town as obsessed with sports as Whistler. If we’re not out watching something, we’re out doing something, pushing the laws of gravity, metallurgy, kinetics, flexibility, hydration and human endurance. Pushing our luck, in other words, for an endorphine rush and shot of adrenaline.

Pick a sport, any sport – chances are that it’s going on in Whistler, and at a very high level. We have provincial, national, and world champions in this town. Everybody talks about bringing the Olympics to Whistler, but the fact is that some of the best athletes in the world are already here.

There have been a few setbacks – losing the UCI World Cup triple crown this summer to Grouse Mountain didn’t sit well with a lot of people, and the World Snowboard Championships is heading South.

Locals stepped up and organized mountain bike events to make up for the loss, and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival is going to replace the Snowboard Champions with another prestigious event.

A few of our oldest bike trails have been lost to developments, but construction is underway on replacements.

We didn’t get as much snow last winter as we would have liked, but the shinny was awesome, and the heavy spring snowfalls made up for the loss.

The municipality closed the old Unmarked Hazards Disc Golf course, but opened a brand new pro level course out by Spruce Grove.

It rained a lot in the spring and early summer.

The skatepark got bigger.

The trials park got bigger.

The mountain bike park got bigger.

The Whistler Health Care Centre got a new triage centre and Ultrasound machine, both of which came in handy what with all of the other upgrades.

Keep it up Whistler. In the words of the philosopher Phish (live version), "Set the gearshift for the high gears in the gearbox of your soul, you’ve got to run like an antelope, out of control."

Best Run on Whistler or Blackcomb

Pop quiz, hotshot… There’s 30 centimetres on the ground, the sun is shining and the chairlifts are turning, where do you go?

Most of us have a powder day checklist, which is probably why the fresh stuff gets shredded so methodically, and so thoroughly. While most of us jealously guarded our secrets in the past, there’s evidently no such thing as a secret anymore – just people who get up early, and people who don’t. You snooze, you lose.

That said, one of the rarest runs of the season – the snow has to be deep to the bottom, and the Peak chair has to be running unless you want to hike up Highway 86 – was voted number one: Peak to Creek. Technically this is out of bounds, but that rope isn’t holding anybody back.

The second best run for 2001, by one vote, was the Dave Murray Downhill, which proves that speed still counts for something. Incidentally, during the course of the Olympic bid, it’s come out that the Dave Murray is the third-best men’s downhill course in terms of its size, features, and level of difficulty.

It was a tie for third, with the same number of votes going to the Spanky’s Ladder bowls and Ridge Runner. Four runs tied for fourth place, including the Kyber Pass (which is really more of a bushwhack than a run), the Blackcomb Glacier and the Christmas Trees.

No fewer than 24 other runs, bushwhacks and zones received one or more votes. Some of the higher ranked losers are Franz’s, West Bowl, Fisheye, Zig Zag, and Ross’s Gold.

Not mentioned, which is telling of the kind of season we had last year, are the Couloir Extreme, Pakalolo, the Gun Barrels, Bagel Bowl, and Cockalorum.

Best Outdoor Sport (other than skiing or snowboarding)

Mountain biking is nearest and dearest in our hearts, both in the spiritual and financial sense – and we do mean dearest.

More voters picked mountain biking than any three other sports combined.

Hiking was our second favourite sport, while golf and skating were tied for third. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dirt biking, softball and Ultimate were next. Water sports, like canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing, also figured large, as did rock climbing.

Mushroom picking is not a sport, although pine mushroom season can get a little competitive. Sex got an obligatory mention, as did sun-bathing and "knobbing" – what the hell is knobbing?

Best Indoor Sport

Sex, as always, ran away with the lion’s share of the votes. It’s good cardio, sure, but can be hard on the back.

Number two on the list is swimming, which is only one vote ahead of hockey. Squash is right in the running.

The other indoor sports that received multiple votes, in no particular order, are ice skating, gymnastics, tennis, yoga, volleyball, watching sports on TV, and drinking – nobody specified whether drinking was a competitive sport, a race against the clock, or a striving for a personal best.

Best Snowmobile Tour

For all of us wannabe sledheads out there, Canadian Snowmobile Adventures was voted the top Snowmobile Tour for 2001. Cougar Mountain was runner up, and Blackcomb Snowmobiles was third.

Whistler Freeride Adventures, an extension of the Whistler Freeride Team, also got a handful of votes.

The people who own their own sleds picked the Brandywine Valley, Black Tusk and the Callaghan Valley. Rainbow Mountain, which is off limits because it provides the bulk of Whistler’s drinking water supplies, also got a mention.

Best Heli-Ski Run

For everybody who’s ever tired of the lift lines and coughed up for a heli-drop, our readers recommend the following runs.

Mount Currie was number one – the steepest mountain face in North America, with some of the deepest snow. Not for the feint of heart.

Rainbow Mountain was number two – the easiest in, and the easiest out, although you’ll need a car to pick you up from West Side Road.

Other runs mentions are Kicker’s Pass, Ipsoot, Maverick, and I wish!

Best Bike Trail

Whether you’re into old school grunts or new school stunts, Whistler bike trails offer a little bit of everything for the discerning mountain biker. Thanks to the trail building/maintenance/advocacy efforts of WORCA and a core of local trail builders, this place is Shangri-La in the summer months.

The best trail once again is A River Runs Through It. Thrill Me Kill Me tied with the Valley Trail for second-best, for some reason. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park was third, while Cut Yer Bars, Kyber Pass, Flank Trail, Gravitron, Ride Don’t Slide, Train Wreck, and Foreplay (formerly secret trail) each got a handful of votes.

Best Municipal Park

Whether you go there to swim, toss a frisbee, barbecue, people watch, people ogle, or just to take in the breathtaking view, Rainbow Park once again took the top honours in this category.

Lost Lake, that little known place that resembles Woodstock on a sunny summer weekend, was second. Alpha Lake Park was third, Meadow Park was fourth, Wayside fifth and Spruce Grove sixth.

Favourite Whistler Athlete

You can’t swing a cat in this town without taking out a famous athlete – active or retired. They all come to Whistler to live, work and play. A number of these athletes are starting to come from Whistler as well – Whistler Secondary is full of Canadian champions and Canadian team athletes, and its alumni are just as distinguished.

We’ve got national and world calibre skiers, boarders, mountain bikers, runners, gymnasts – a Whistler athlete was even named to the B.C. Hockey League’s Junior A all-star team.

Dozens of different athletes received votes, some more than others, but all are worthy of a mention.

Rob Boyd, the winner of a downhill World Cup in Whistler in 1989 and the captain of the Whistler Freeride Team, remains our favourite athlete.

Whistler’s John Ryan, a paraplegic who crossed the country by pedal bike to raise money for spinal cord research, was a second.

Ross Rebagliati, the first Olympic snowboard champion, was third.

Other names include Canadian junior downhill mountain bike champion Jeff Beatty; World Cup contenders Britt Janyk and Emily Brydon (who’s from Fernie); local mountain bike stars Chad Miles, Will Routley and Lisa Dickson; the late Crazy Canuck Dave Murray; Snowboarders Andy Cantelon, Kristy Yzerman, Tim Orr, Darren Chalmers, and Chris Dufficy; World Cup ski legend Nancy Greene, and long-distance runner and triathlete Mae Palm.

Health & Fitness

Staying fit and healthy isn’t easy in a town where the beer is always flowing, the nachos come in platters the size of hub caps, and a basket of fruit is more expensive than a cheese fondue. And if we’re not eating and drinking, we’re clipping into bindings and launching ourselves off cliffs.

It would be easy to surrender to the temptation, but on the whole we do a good job taking care of ourselves. For most of us, health and fitness are a big part of why we’re here in the first place.

Best Fitness Facility

We haven’t seen a landslide like this since the last provincial election – the Meadow Park Sports Centre is the number one fitness facility. The Whistler Creek Athletic Club, a.k.a. "the Pumphouse" was a distant second.

The Chateau Whistler facilities were third.

The great outdoors, Whistler Mountain, Peak Performance Physical Therapy, Bikrams Neoalpine Yoga, and Great Wall Underground also received votes.

Best Dentist

While there wasn’t a runaway winner in this category, it’s refreshing to see from the number of votes cast that we’re at least taking our dental health seriously, no matter how little we may actually floss, or how much we may be bleed.

Dr. John Roberts in Creekside got 19 votes, while Dr. James McKenzie got 18. Tami Bexton was third, and Dr. Michael Rivera and Bruce McAlpine also received votes.

Best Doctor

Whistler doctors are literally the glue that keeps this town together – sewers of stitches, wrappers of gauze, setters of casts, dispensers of creams, pills, and syrups. If we’re particularly accident or illness prone, we get to sample several doctors and to choose our favourites.

Dr. Karin Kausky got the most nods, followed by Dr. Lauren Shaw. Dr. Adam Kendall was a close third.

The other Whistler doctors each got a handful of votes each.

Best Physiotherapist

Doctor’s can heal the injury, but if you want to get back on the golf course, mountain, or saddle of your bike anytime soon, your physiotherapist can help you.

The staff at Peak Performance got the most votes, while Whistler Physiotherapy and Advanced Sports Therapy tied for second. Individual votes went to Peter Drysdale, Kim McMullen, Jackie Brusset, Susie Mortensen, Anita Samuels, Allison McLean, and Lisa Dickens – not all of these names were in the book, so you can blame the voters for any wrong spellings.

Best Health Trend

It was 1985; John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis sizzled on the silver screen in the movie Perfect – a revealing look into the world of aerobics that did for leg warmers what Saturday Night Fever did for disco and dry ice.

Since then, fitness has gone haywire. There’s step, spinning, Sweating To the Oldies one through four, Billy Blanks’ Tae-Bo, Madonna’s Power Yoga, Suzanne Sommers ThighMaster, and so on and so on. Now and then, however, there’s a trend with lasting power. I hope the same can be said for the Best Health Trend of 2001.

The number one trend is Bikrams Neoalpine Yoga. The room is superheated to body temperature, which allows you to stretch a little further and hold it a little longer.

Another trend that received a number of votes was quitting smoking. If the Workers’ Compensation Board wins over the Liberals before the spring of 2002, this might be easier, as smoking will once again be banned outright in bars and restaurants.

Quitting smoking was tied with Organic Foods for second best health trend. The growing number of local farms that have gone organic, combined with the burgeoning farmer’s market, genetically modified food worries, health benefits, and increased presence in local markets are making it easier to go the organic route.

Other trends that received votes were "Helmets for all sports," biking, hiking, snowshoeing, low-carbohydrate diets, kick boxing, blue-green algae, soy products and beer.

The one trend everyone missed was the increasing number of people taking part in long-distance races and triathlons – both Whistler and Squamish Triathlons had record turnouts, as did the Ironman in Penticton.

Best Spa

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler won this category with 25 votes. Revolution and Avello were tied for second, Esperanza was third and The Westin Resort and Spa was a close fourth.

Best Hairstylist/Salon

Although this is technically not a health or fitness topic, it’s all about looking good, right?

Stacy at Blackcomb Barbershop got the most votes, followed by Bruce Bereham, Sandra and Razzmatazz and Michelle at The Parlor Hair Salon.

Best Physiotherapist/Massage

Blue Highways won this category. The Avello Spa was tied for second with Christine Suter. Stress Less On-Site Massage and the team at the Fairmont Chateau were next, Catherine, Sarah, Mandy and Cindy each got a vote for Revolution. Jimmy at the Westin Resort got a vote as well.

Shops and Wares:

Best Place for Men's Clothing

The Gap won by a nose in this category. It's trendy togs beat out Eddie Bauer's country squire look by just one vote. Honourable mention has to go to Wild Willies, fleece and sandal capital of the valley. But look out, a few local men chose the Re-Use it Centre or the Lovenest as their number one shopping choice. Oooo, used thong underwear!

Best Place For Women's Clothing

The Gap won in this category too. In fact, if there were a children's clothing category The Gap would probably win that as well. Perhaps the next time the company is planning a new ad campaign they could just come to Whistler and film the locals enjoying life and wearing all their clothes. Honourable mention goes to Le Chateau, for the trendy young-at-heart and Wild Willies – yes, women wear fleece, too. They also like to feel good under their fleece so Inside Out boutique was a popular a choice. However, there was no break down on gender when it came to voting for our local lingerie store.

Best Ski Shop

Hey, no surprises here. Wild Willies was way out in front with almost twice as many votes as other stores. Long regarded as a place where the locals shop, its expanded store, Creekside show and new village location only make it better. Honourable mention goes to Can-Ski, which has convenient locations as well as a fabulous selection of everything thermal.

Best Snowboard Shop

Showcase shredded the competition. It's not clear if was because they sell peanut butter and Kraft dinner at warehouse prices or if it's because they provide a great one-stop shopping venue along with repairs. Honourable mention goes to Westbeach, also loved by the skate-boarder crowd in the summer. Hey, a tip for the stores: Check your attitude before you help customers. Attitude-free shopping available at Katmandu.

Best Bike Shop

Spoke folk voted for Evolution above all others when it came to this category. Good advice, honest service, and selection had to play a part here. Honourable mention goes to Wild Willies, with Katmandu and the Whistler Bike Company just a few votes behind.

Best Grocery Store

Almost unanimously it was Nesters. The dangling wires, uneven floors, tiny aisles, mystery food locations, and the parking wars with construction folk are all just a memory now. I guess the grand opening party and cheap salmon melted away summer construction memories just as sunshine melts the snow. Honourable mention goes to the IGA where locals can be spotted only in the mornings these days.

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