One of the most notorious cases in recent Whistler history has come to a close.
On Monday, Nov. 24, a North Vancouver provincial court judge sentenced Kathleen Adams, the local woman who pled guilty for her role in a brazen BASE jump from the Peak 2 Peak Gondola last winter, to 18 months probation pursuant to a conditional discharge and a $200 victim surcharge. The maximum penalty for mischief to property over $5,000 is 10 years in prison.
As part of her conditions, Adams must undergo 30 hours of community service in addition to the 90 already completed and write letters of apology to the RCMP and Whistler Blackcomb. Adams wrote a letter of apology to the community in May, published in Pique. She is also barred from any business or lands owned by the ski resort during her probation. The offence will not appear on her criminal record if the probation order is followed.
"She was very pleased that she won’t have a criminal record and that all the work she has done leading up to the sentencing was taken into consideration," said Adams' lawyer, Greg Diamond. "She’s very relieved to put this behind her."
According to Diamond, the judge noted in his decision that Adams played no role in the planning of the stunt, that the media firestorm surrounding the incident was punitive in nature, and that the Whistler resident felt "genuinely remorseful" over her actions. The 24-year-old Ontario native has also provided financial restitution to Whistler Blackcomb.
Adams accompanied a man who allegedly BASE jumped from the Peak 2 Peak while it was travelling over Fitzsimmons Creek in February, causing up to $14,000 in damage after he pried open the cabin doors. An arrest warrant was issued for the male suspect, former B.C. resident Graham Dickinson, who was never apprehended and is believed to have fled the country.
The stunt, an apparent tribute to late skier and daredevil Shane McConkey, garnered national media attention after a video shot from the jumper’s helmet camera was posted to YouTube. Adams, who could be clearly seen in the clip and is referred to as “Kat” by the male suspect, initially told investigators she did not know Dickinson and played no role in the stunt.
"I was stupidly swept up in the moment and agreed to help capture the event on film," Adams wrote in her apology. "I didn't take a second to think my actions through, or think of the repercussions I might face. I was assured that there would be no harm done and I believed it. I became involved in this incident because I trust people too easily."
“I am still approached by the question ‘Are you the gondola girl?’” the letter continued. “I want to be known as Kathleen: a kind, caring, considerate person, but I have to accept what I have done. I can only learn and grow from this experience, and my hope is that, in writing this, I can prevent anyone else from getting involved in a situation similar to mine, and repair some of the damage I have caused to our wonderful community.”