Opinion » Maxed Out

The season that was...



The flipside of runners' high is a melancholy fatigue, a numbness of body and soul that necessarily settles in if one is to regress to one's mean, which, by definition, one must. How can there be an up without a down? And vice-versa.

This is the morning after the night before and the night before was a prolonged runners' high. It began late last November. It climaxed with the sleeplessness and intensity of the 18th World Ski and Snowboard Festival. It was underscored by Whistler's last day of operations. It simultaneously closed, for me, chapters of skiing, working and partying, skiing and working for another season, partying until, well, later today, assuming there's something in the cupboard to bolster my strength and energy. Where's that can of spinach?

There is possibly no sight on earth that will kickstart melancholia more quickly than seeing Whistler Bowl, closed and abandoned, silently silhouetted against a perfectly clear, deep blue, spring sky. Look hard, squint a little and you'll see... nothing. No lifts moving, no little specks of pepper people wending their way through the fields of moguls, no visible signs of life, no paroxysms of joy as skiers and boarders let gravity and incline work their magic. Just the sight of Whistler peak, impassively, impressively, silently, melting in the April sunshine.

I could be wrong about this. I have not conducted a scientific survey, nor randomly sampled the local populace. My margin of error may far exceed ±3 per cent 19 times out of 20. But I don't think so. In a town where functioning adults cling stubbornly to adolescence, where we still live our lives out on rhythms learned when we were short and the world was tall, where the "year" starts for many of us in autumn and ends in spring as it did for the oh, so endless years we passed time in neat rows, looking at the backs of other children's heads, the last day of the season shares the excitement and letdown of the last day of school. The rhythm of life just missed a beat. The band inexplicably slipped a slow number into a raucous set.

Except, of course, on the other side of the pass where the beat goes on, slightly slower and lower in volume. Blackcomb is the public school doppelganger to Whistler's private school schedule. They're still hard at it while their unemployed counterparts are facing mornings of infinite, albeit unstructured, possibilities. Many of them — I won't be drawn into the argument about slow learners versus highly-motivated overachievers — are already gearing up for summer session, a continuation of the experience, variations on a theme. By the time they face their own morning-after-the-season-before experience, summer will be squealing its tires in a mad dash to get out of town before the rains of the shoulder season replace its hot/cold, on a whim, sometimes all in the same day fickleness.