Blasting through around 50 centimetres of 7th Heaven powder on Friday, sunlight sparkling off the knolls I hadn't shredded yet, I felt a little guilty. Not because I was missing work, which I was — but I have a few hours banked for these kinds of snow emergencies. And not because I ate three fatty granola bars for breakfast that morning, because I know that trail running and mountain biking seasons are around the corner, and with them the opportunity to jiggle off a few of these winter pounds.
The truth is, I was feeling guilty because lately I've started to think badly about this place I've called home the past 13 winters. In a moment of frustration I actually considered leaving.
It's no secret that living in Whistler is tough if you don't have a trust fund or two bigger-than-average incomes. Add a child to the mix and suddenly the lower middle class feels like poverty; and all the things that you moved to Whistler to do don't get done nearly as much as they used to.
Life inevitably becomes a series of obligations — work, kids, mortgage — and real-world, grown-up responsibilities that many of us moved here to avoid. Turns out it's the same anywhere you live.
I have other issues, but the thing that set me off recently was the weather. I was hoping for an early spring like everywhere else in Canada (29 C in Toronto, 26 C in Montreal last week) but instead it was dumping to the valley once again — thick wet snow I wouldn't have the opportunity to enjoy because of all those obligations I mentioned earlier.
It's a bit of sour grapes on my part — what use is snow that I can't use? — but it's also a fact that it's been almost three years since many of us have had a real summer.
Summer of 2009 was the best I've seen since I moved here. It started early, was hot and sunny almost every day and it lingered a little past the Labour Day long weekend. The forest fires north of the Pemberton and the risk locally made things a little dicey, but then again we had forest fire warnings last year and for the most part it was cold and wet.
Summer 2010 was no great shakes — cold until the end of June, sunny for July and part of August, and then cold and rainy again until the snow arrived. That was followed by the second-snowiest winter on record, which lasted well into following May. Summer of 2011 was pretty much the worst summer on record in this part of the world. It was cold and grey most of the time and what little sunshine we had in late August went away too quickly. Many days never broke 20 degrees, and we never once broke the 30-degree mark during the entire summer. It's starting to feel a little like Groundhog Day; "I'll give you a winter prediction; it's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."