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Whistler on the East Coast

Newfoundland writer pours her memories of a romantic season into story



Whistler left quite an impression on Newfoundland writer Carrie Ivardi. She wintered here in 1998-99, went on to live all over the country and build a family, but she never forgot the resort.

It's like her life in Whistler was kept in a snow globe and she took it out to shake out a story — her first published work as an author.

Now her short story "Rescue" is part of a new anthology of writing by Newfoundlanders called Racket.

"I haven't been back to Whistler for 15 years," she says in a phone interview from St. John's. "We haven't kept in touch with the people we knew then, but I have so many memories that I wanted to draw on."

"I wanted to write a story from the West Coast (for the anthology). I've lived in St. John's for five years... but I had to write about Whistler in order to tie things about my life together. I thought I'd settle in British Columbia, but you don't always know," she says.

"Rescue" is the tale of two young lovers, their ambiguous, transient relationship and an on-the-mountain rescue near Harmony Bowl on Whistler Mountain.

It's a taste of serious fiction with locales like Tommy Africa's thrown in for flavour.

"The story is a lot about the transience. When I lived there, it was something I was passing through. But to realize there was an elementary school and high school, people have a life in Whistler," Ivardi says.

The Whistler lifestyle is on show in "Rescue," from the super-responsible community builders to those who won't compromise on the sort of lives they want to live.

"I knew a lot of ski patrollers, and one thing that fascinated me about it is that it is such an intense job, life and death, and when you get called out to that it is scary. The training they do and the confidence is almost casual," Ivardi says.

"When I started writing fiction full time, I found I was writing about that time of my life. I did the whole nomad thing. I travelled a lot and it took a while to settle down. It was all about that coming-of-age stage."

Now 41, she was a reporter in Prince George and Sudbury, and worked in corporate communications in Ontario.

Ivardi is currently working on her first novel, as part of a program at Memorial University. She has left full-time work to concentrate on writing.

The romance of her memories of B.C. also feed into her story.

"It is such a magical place and everything is extreme," Ivardi says.

"I followed my boyfriend, then-husband, elsewhere, but there is something lasting about the resort," she says.

The first print run of the anthology is already sold out. The second one should be available shortly on www.amazon.ca.