How to tell who’s who in Whistler – A guide to people watching in the Summer

So you’ve come up to Whistler and there are literally thousands of people strolling about the village on a sunny summer day.  Wanna have some fun and play, ‘guess where they are from?’.  Grab a table on one of the many village patios, and order a tall cool one.  Here’s what you can expect to see.

Whistler Local   – (latin:  ski bummus messus)

All ages.  The easiest way to spot a local is to look for the worst dressed person.  Someone with no matching clothes, flip flops and even wearing a beanie in the summer.  Local girls like to wear long flowing sixties type dresses and loose blouses.  Think San Francisco during the late 60’s.  Also look for a lack of shaving and long hair…both sexes.   Most often found anywhere in Creekside, the Beacon, Crystal, Stinky’s or Talpey’s.

The Wanna-Be Local – (latin: ego sum whistlerite)

Ages 40 up.  This person probably has a second home here, or more closer to reality, their parents have a place that was bought back in the 80’s.  They come up every chance they can, and while in winter they can be easily spotted by their new Spyder outfits, summer is tougher.  Mostly from the greater Vancouver and greater Seattle areas, look for the tell-tale brand new flip flops, usually made from leather without a scuff mark to be seen.  Guys will have creased Bermuda shorts and golf shirts with withr a Nick North or Fairmont logo.  Extra point to a Big Sky logo. Girls will dress in their best summer dresses, have designer sunglasses, Hamilton watches and carry handbags that should have been left in Yaletown.   Most often found at the Vodka Room at Bearfoot, Rim Rock, Araxi or Hy’s.

The weekend Warrior – (Latin:  partius onus garthus)

Ages 30 to 40.  Typified by groups of young men and women strolling together, eating together, drinking together and generally being loud.  An energetic set, they are here to see and be seen.  Most are from the lower mainland, with the exception of President’s Day weekend, when the age average drops to 19 years from Washington colleges.  That’s a whole segment in itself.  Guys will dress in loud shirts and jeans, while girls will wear lulu lemon pants with heels.  The weekend warrior should be left alone to have fun, and should you go out at night, watch your drinks.  Most often found underground (clubbing), Sushi Village, Longhorn, Amsterdam or shouting from a patio above the stroll.

The Family – (Latin:  helpus nowum)

The family visitor during the summer is probably headed by a “Wanna-Be Local” except that this weekend they brought the family instead of foodie’s friends.  They look confused because the Village never looked this busy before they had kids,  and are wondering if they need a second mortgage after looking at menu prices.  They will look at you with a desperate gaze that says ‘save me!’.  Most often found Duhb linn, Spaghetti Factory, Earls, Dusty’s or El Furny.

Squamish – Development boom

Looks like the recent boom in the population of Squamish isn’t stopping anytime soon. Looking at the planned developments, the population could double by 2025, and the Sea-To-Sky will become a gridlock unless transit such as trains isn’t introduced.

Waterfront Landing

A master-planned community on 53 acres adjacent to Highway 99 on the former Interfor mill site, Waterfront Landing will feature about 900 townhomes and apartments, as well as a waterfront park, a public plaza with a range of amenities, shops and cafés. A 4.3-acre park is slated to include waterfront walkways, about a kilometre of pathways, a bike skills course, a community playground and beach access.

 Newport Beach Squamish

Intended to eventually accommodate 6,500 people, and featuring 21 acres of parks, public space and community facilities, Newport Beach is a monumental redevelopment on Squamish’s oceanfront by developers Squamish Cornerstone Developments, a partnership between Matthews Southwest and the Squamish Nation.

 Cheekye Neighbourhood

Another partnership between the Squamish Nation and private developers, the Cheekeye Neighbourhood is to include 537 small and medium single-family lots, zoning for a “tiny home” village, 678 multifamily units in midrise apartments and townhomes, a neighbourhood centre and parks, public spaces and trail corridors, as well as a 50-acre Brackendale Farmers Institute Park.

 Sirocco

Redeveloping the Mamquam Blind Channel waterfront will be this 138-apartment development with commercial space in three, six-storey buildings, adjacent to 27 float homes and four floating commercial units.

GRAPEFRUIT ALE is back!!!

This summer fave is back again this year.    Made by Whistler Brewing Company, it’s a summer blonde with a twist – literally. They begin with a malty blonde ale, then add grapefruit zest, a little coriander and two types of hops to finish it off. The result is a refreshing grapefruit aromatic, lightly hopped, with a clean citrus finish. It’s the perfect patio beer.

TECHNICAL SPECS

ABV 5% | IBU 14 | GRAVITY 12.8 | HOPS Cluster & Nugget
AVAILABLE Spring & Summer SIZING 6 x 355mL Cans | 6 x 330mL Bottles

See more

Cheakamus Lake Road opening soon.

The Cheakamus Lake Road is closed to the public to facilitate a fuel-reduction project. Supported by BC Parks and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the road will remain closed until this spring.

The fuel-thinning project is being carried out within approximately 100 metres of both sides of the road, from the 3.5-kilometre mark of the road to the Cheakamus Lake parking lot.

It is funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), and revenue generated from the harvesting of select trees.

The RMOW and Cheakamus Community Forest are working together to complete the wildfire fuel thinning project along the road. The road will be graded later this week and trucks will be hauling the wood debris out over the next couple of weeks including the slash under the power lines. The snow at the entrance to Loggers Lake road will be cleared when the road is graded. The aim is to have the road reopened by May 1st.

A memo to Dave Brownlie, President of Revelstoke Mountain Resort By G. D. Maxwell

Just wanted to say, Dave, I miss you. Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be. I’m sure this comes as something of a surprise to you. After all, back in the day when we both worked for Blackcomb and then Whistler Blackcomb, we had our disagreements. But, as they say, let bygones be bygones. The fact is, as much as I used to argue with you about … well, let’s not get into all the things we used to disagree about. That’s not what this memo is about.

I probably never told you this story but shortly after I went to work selling tickets at Blackcomb, Whistler installed the Harmony chairlift. I was pretty keen to ride it, having more than once made the long trek from Peak Chair back into Harmony Bowl, but since I was only working part time I only had a Blackcomb pass. So I jumped at the chance to volunteer as a gatekeeper for the Peak to Valley race on Whistler that winter. My two days of frozen toes got me lift tickets on Whistler for both days and another Whistler ticket to use another day.

I was stoked to finally ride Harmony. Wow! Talk about easy access: Little Whistler, the Horseshoes, Boomer, it was all there, laid out and easy-peasy to get to.

I was blathering on about how cool it was a few days later at a party at a friend’s house when a guy I’d just met, a long time Whistler patroller, rolled his eyes and started lecturing me about how THAT chair was, in his humble opinion, the end of REAL skiing on Whistler Mountain. He honestly believed only pussies and dilettantes needed a chairlift to get to the terrain it opened up. Real skiers would hike out to get their turns.

Not sure what he would have thought about Symphony when it was built but that’s neither here nor there.

I couldn’t figure it out but over the next couple of decades I met a few more crusty old-timers who shared his views. I always wondered whether they were as pissed off when Whistler—the village, not the mountain—got stores and services that meant they didn’t have to go down to Squamish to get almost anything they needed anymore.

And I promised myself I’d never get like that.

Oh, I know I was flabbergasted when you guys announced the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, but that was an admittedly selfish reaction to spending so much money for a lift that opened up zero extra terrain. And I’m willing to admit it’s become a good way to get from one mountain to the other, although not as good as a rippin’ ski down to the village and up again.

But I digress.

I guess why I miss you, Dave, is this— no matter how penurious you were about, for example, sending workerbees home to save a few bucks when things slowed down during the day, notwithstanding you’d get all that money back at the bars, retail stores and on the mountains, you understood that first and foremost, a ski resort lived and died on good operations and customer service. I’m guessing that was, at least in part, a lesson learned from years working with Hugh Smythe but regardless you got it.

I’m not so sure our current owners do.

Fact is, operations have been—what’s the nicest way to phrase this—challenging (?) this season. Getting lifts opened and keeping them running has seemed to be a harder task than ever before … and that includes the first few months of the Symphony lift. I’m still scared to ride the new Breakdown Gondola and only rode it partway up yesterday to keep a two-year-old from melting down. We made it. I went out and bought a lottery ticket afterwards.

Grooming has seemed to be another challenge. I heard a funny story about how current management decided not to call the groomers to work until there was enough terrain to groom to make it worthwhile. I know the mountain used to have ’em working right away because you knew they’d be around when you needed them the most. I hear a number of them decided it might be a good idea to get other jobs. So when the snow came, with a vengeance, the mountain was left with a number of vehicle-maintenance folks to drive groomers. Normally, I don’t put much stock in stories like that. But this one was told by one of those vehicle-maintenance folks so …

The long and short of it is there are about a dozen rookie groomers this year. Wow. I remember when grooming was a lifelong job and someone had to die before there was an opening.

Anyway, we both know grooming isn’t as easy as it looks. The learning curve is long, not steep. And it is getting better. The grooming on Tokum the other day was textbook perfect. But what used to be Harmony Piste seems to have been reduced to a single swath, much like Crystal Traverse was a few weeks ago. Normally I wouldn’t care but so far this season I’ve been skiing a lot of groomers, rehabbing an ankle. What an eye-opener.

As you well know, Dave, big, splashy capital improvements might lure people to come. But operations and service keep them coming back. You can only ohh-ahh at a fancy new gondola when it runs, not when you’re standing at the bottom for two hours waiting for it to start running. A Sixer on Green can move as many people as possible but if they’re falling ass over teakettle because of blade digs and grooming ridges, they’re going to be way less impressed.

Now I know you’re pretty busy with the grow-op and taking Revy to the next level and all, but maybe there’s a little consulting gig opportunity for you. After all, I’m a bit skeptical the touted “reimagining” the guest experience by making it easier to get their overpriced tickets Vail Resorts announced recently is really the kind of thing that’s going to gloss over the other current deficits. And Emma is … never mind.

Don’t get me wrong, Dave, I’m still a big cheerleader for this place. We survived Pirate and Fortress and we’ll survive this. Vail Resorts will get its act together. And as I’ve often written, I’ll be happy to skin up and ski these mountains if it comes to that. And this season … well, let’s just say I’ve been packing skins in my knapsack pretty regularly. And that’s just to ski in-bounds!

In closing, Dave, I’ll say it again—I miss you. No, really. Seriously.

Gearing up

So it’s been a year since I registered this website and I finally have some time to write some articles.