Whistler is awesome! proclaims an eponymous website and it surely is. Awesomeness, in fact, is the reason I moved here and the reason I'll be here far into the foreseeable future. I'm sure it's the same for many of you, and after a sweet summer of basking in these rays of aweshine, few would even notice if the skies cracked open tomorrow and it rained straight through until opening day (probably because that wouldn't be entirely bad).
Wherever one encounters such a palpable fount of yin from which to sip, however, there's a stagnant pool of yang just waiting to be stepped in. Whistler is no different. One of our least endearing quirks is the many individuals and businesses that happily occupy the Whistler Bubble—a state of paradisical bliss in which your in-the-moment life is so important it's hard to see or care what's happening in the rest of the world. Sometimes, even, to see or care what's happening in front of you. But when callousness and disinterest rule it ends up being bad for us all. And so in the interest of public service it's time to pay the piper, Whistler. Herein is a compilation of this summer's Top 4 Yang, a litany of awfulness culled from guests and citizens of our fair burgh whom I have either hosted, dined or conversed with, overheard on lifts, or read bewildered thoughts from in letters to various editors. Though these aren't proclaimed by me, but are ones I agree with, I'll make these statements on behalf of those who expressed them.
1. Food. It's truly a shame that none of Whistler's overabundant organs of information dissemination are in the business of reviewing establishments that we all, at one time or another, patronize, and which define us to the outside world. It's understandably difficult given their reliance on local advertising, but damn — someone has to call out this town's mediocre dining experiences and ongoing instances of too-awful-to-be-true service. Despite the many amazing dining offerings and superb value here, some places persist in having food, service or both so substandard that they would never survive if exposed to the type of critical selection that occurs in the real world. To wit: customers don't care that you have high turnover — it's a resort for godsakes and you need to deal. They don't care that you're short-staffed because unless everyone came down with Ebola or SARS, you should always be able to call someone in. They don't care that you have a new waitperson/chef/system/cash register to figure out (this is an excuse?). And they really don't care about the epidemic of brain-death or rough nights; when a server brings your lukewarm hamburger and asks if you'd like anything else and you say "Some mustard please?" and they answer "Sure!" and then never come back, they should get not one, but two little red stars in the three-strikes column next to their name.
2. Dogs. I love dogs but I don't care about your dog... at all. I don't care if it's a little excited today, frisky, distracted, too fond of squirrels or frisbees, driven insane by ice cream, loves to swim, or is scared of the spastic movements of little kids. If your mutt is off leash where it shouldn't be (and BTW, that is almost everywhere where you think it's OK to have it off leash—especially the Valley Trail) and it runs over my blanket, steals my food, knocks over a child, collides with my bike, bites a dog/person, pees or poos where it shouldn't, then you are an irresponsible owner unwilling either to acknowledge the unpredictability of animals or to put in the required training to obviate it. Since Whistler has more designated dog-friendly areas than anyplace in B.C. and clear signs on this everywhere, you deserve a fine not a warning.
3. Recreational substances. If you have a taste for these and can't be elegantly wasted in public — as Keith Richards aptly demonstrated for decades — stay home. Mirrored sunglasses aren't enough. If you can't have a couple drinks and a few hits without leaving the containers or smouldering remains on the disc golf course or floating down the River of Golden Dreams then you are a child who has no business consuming adult products.
4. Cycling. In Grade 2, policemen visit classrooms and talk to kids about safe cycling: how to signal properly and be part of traffic, and to make sure they know that because cycling is governed under the Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists do not have the rights of pedestrians. They can't legally ride on sidewalks and are required to dismount and walk their bikes through crosswalks. The shear number of horror stories and near misses around these issues this summer should be cause for concern by both police and the muni.
These are issues of concern, limited but ongoing in a way that should be addressed. But don't get bummed Whistler, just consider it an FYI from those who still think you're awesome!