A storyteller for our times 

Award-winning writer Michel Beaudry has been following Whistler’s story since the early 1970s. Author of Whistler: Against All Odds , host of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Words and Stories, and a consultant and confidant to many in the mountain resort industry, Beaudry will examine Whistler from many perspectives in a weekly column in Pique Newsmagazine that debuts next week.

"We either tell our own stories, or others will tell them for us," Beaudry says. And that is what his column, Alta States, will attempt to be – a forum for many people’s thoughts and ideas on Whistler and the celebration of mountain culture.

As a prelude to this new column, this week we are presenting a piece of Michel Beaudry’s creative writing, How Eagle saved the Snow-Eaters.

— Bob Barnett, editor

How Eagle saved the Snow-Eaters

"When we dream alone, it is only a dream. When we dream together, it is no longer a dream but the beginning of reality."

— A Brazilian Proverb

Once upon a time – in a northern land far, far away – lived a tribe of people who loved to play outside in the snow in wintertime. They called themselves the Snow-Eaters. When the weather turned cold and the winter blizzards hit, most other tribes would hide deep inside their shelters and pine for spring. But not the Snow-Eaters. For them, playing outdoors in all seasons was fundamental to their character.

And though the cold didn’t scare them, and the wind didn’t intimidate them, they still couldn’t figure out how to move over the snow efficiently when storms hit and the ground cover got too deep.

One day, while a group of Snow-Eaters was painfully breaking trail through a particularly deep drift of snow, one of their numbers spotted Eagle flying high overhead. "Oh – if only we could fly over the snow like Eagle," he said forlornly. "What a great life that would be." The others in his party laughed, "Don’t be a fool," one of them said. "We’re not birds. Stop day dreaming and help us break through this drift."

Now Raven was sitting on a nearby branch, and overheard the Snow-Eaters talking. As everyone knows, the great trickster Raven has always been a little jealous of Eagle’s high-flying prowess. After all, among the First Animals, Eagle is considered majestic while Raven is but the jester prince. Still, Raven knew just how vain Eagle was about his mastery over gravity. Wouldn’t that just tick his old friend off, Raven mused, if he could teach these lumbering humans to fly….

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