Compared to, say, 1789, the year the French found everything so revolting, 2011 probably wasn't monumental. Compared to every other year I've lived in Whistler though, it was a doozy. Name a subject, topic or event and it was probably highly contentious 'round Tiny Town this year. Parking, asphalt, muni salaries, free concerts, transit, sustainability and weather were all things likely to start a bar fight this year.
The underlying pool of bubbling pique culminated in an historic election. With voter turnout and voter temper running higher than in virtually any other community in Lotusland, baby, bathwater and the whole darned plumbing system was thrown out. "Former Whistler councilor/mayor," suddenly popped up on resumes floating around town more frequently than "taxi driver."
Personally, I don't think the unrest had anything to do with the issues. It was the math. Not the math of rapidly escalating municipal expenditures, the math of prime numbers. 2011 is not only a prime number; it is — in the words of marketing hype — a super-prime number. It is the sum of eleven consecutive prime numbers beginning with 157. Mathwise, this is kinda like having the planets line up in a cosmic convergence. The poor incumbents didn't have a chance. They were dealing with powers beyond mortal comprehension.
Nonetheless, 2011 was a year worthy of awards, however meaningless. And what could be more meaningless than a Maxi? Don't know but here we go....
Around Town Division
Best Mountain Improvement: It's either a sad commentary on mankind or an acknowledgement of Whistler Blackcomb's maturity, resortwise, but the Whistler Blackcomb Live app for smartphones gets the nod. Don't see the fascination personally but I defer to the masses.
Best Mountain Improvement If We Ever Have Capital to Spend Again: Harmony in the Crystal Zone. Someday ol' Pokey will be replaced by the Harmony chair and Harmony will get a new six-pack. Until then, we'll settle for Crystal Chair just being open a bit more often.
Best New Restaurant (Resurrection, Village Division): Flipside. Uli's back; go eat pasta so he never leaves again.
Best New Restaurant (Resurrection, Function Division): Burnt Stew Café. Colin's back. Well, he never really left but it's great to have him back in the kitchen and/or roaming the tables.
Best New Restaurant, Bar, Whatever: Doc Branigan's. Will Crazy Dave and the crew finally succeed where so many have failed? Will they get the license they deserve? Stay tuned, but in the meantime, check 'em out.
Best Use of a Clearcut: Love it or hate it, it'll be around long after you're gone. Whistler Olympic Plaza will forever change the way people experience and use the village. Just pray the RMI money doesn't run out.