The presence of Australian travellers is no where more visible than here in Whistler. The throngs of Aussies that converge here every year to help you onto the ski lifts or serve you a beer at the bar has not left everyone with a sweet lamington taste in their mouth. But come Australia Day, Jan. 26, young Aussies will be lining up at the Longhorn to celebrate the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney in 1788, although the atrocious conditions faced by the convicts may not be the most discussed topic of the day.
Three Aussies who decided many years ago to make their home here shared their thoughts on Whistler today and what it may be like in years to come.
Denise Brown of Windermere Real Estate came here from Sydney in 1991, planning to work just a few months before heading to the U.K. When asked what made her stay Brown spoke for many: "We chose Whistler because it was a place where all our family, lifestyle and career goals could be met."
The growth of the community, both physically and culturally, has been the greatest change Brown has witnessed.
"There are many people who arrived at the same time that we did that are now raising a family and enjoying all that Whistler has to offer," she says.
Paul "Bones" Skelton is mountain manager for Whistler-Blackcomb. He came here from Australia more than 20 years ago and will be spending this Australia Day enjoying a nice bottle of Australian red wine with his dad after having a laugh at the antics that will sure to happen at the Longhorn.
The opportunity for adventure and the people are the main reasons Bones now calls British Columbia home. "From having quiet mountains to now sharing them with people from all over the world and watching young kids grow up to then come and work on the mountains," has been one of the greatest changes in Bones' time at Whistler.
Andy Flynn, Owner of the popular nightclub Moe Joes's, arrived here in the summer of 1989 as a traveller. He has stayed to raise his family in Whistler.
Flynn agreed with Brown and Bones that the 2010 Olympics will be one of Whistler's finest hours.
"Having the world in your backyard is a great thing. It will put Whistler on the map, making it world renowned, much like Chamonix and Val d'Isere," Flynn says.
Bones, who witnessed the buzz and the excitement of the Sydney Olympics, believes the 2010 Games will bring the community together.
"We see the Olympics all our lives and to have it here will be phenomenal," he says.