Best of Whistler 2012: Quintessential Whistler 

Best of Whistler 2012 - Quintessential Whistler

Best of Whistler 2012 - Quintessential Whistler

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As one reader so aptly points out: "You're never late when you're on Whistler time." Ain't it the truth? Meetings and events tend to start five or 10 minutes later in our mountain town — in other words, right on Whistler time. Still, it's best to have a backup excuse handy for work or play. You never know when someone's clock is on "real world" time. In Whistler, Pique readers feel it's best to blame it on the bus . And you may just get away with it these days! Hit hard with budget cuts, and increased service to new neighbourhoods, Whistler's transit system has had its share of recent woes. With less service hours to go around, the buses are fewer and farther between these days. Throw in a hydrogen bus malfunction or two, and it turns out that using the bus as a late excuse may just fly.


Perhaps it's the hotbed of local political power that puts Alpine Meadows  in the top spot time and time again for best Whistler neighbourhood. Current Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden calls it home, former mayor Ken Melamed lives there too. We asked the mayor about the connection: "Maybe there's some weird political channeling thing going on there as it was Drew Meredith (former mayor, turned realtor) who sold us our property in Alpine years ago," she mused.

Just think of the conversations going on behind the walls in Alpine Meadows — the political plotting, the scheming, and the intrigue. Then again, perhaps we just wish we were living in a Jeffrey Archer novel set in the snow-capped mountains?


If you haven't heard of  El Furniture Warehouse , sit down and take note. Since opening its doors this summer, locals and guests alike have been flocking there to see if it's really true — that there really is a menu where everything is $4.95. It is, and it's delicious. And SPOILER ALERT!!! El Furniture Warehouse is also Whistler's Best New Restaurant. But more on that later.

Pique asked owner/operators Anthony Leffelaar and Dom Boucher what the past few months have been like, opening up and getting voted the best by Pique readers.

"We grew up reading the Pique and always looked forward to the "BEST OF" issue, so it makes winning that much more special," they said in a joint statement. "It is a real honour to be voted Best New Business and Best New Restaurant by the residents of Whistler and we look forward to many, many years contributing the vibrancy of the village... The support from customers has been outstanding and far exceeded our expectations. We love making new friends and creating regulars, so if you haven't come down yet, DO IT!"

There you have it folks — El Furniture Warehouse.

Honourable mentions for second and third place for Best New Business go to The Mexican Corner and the Royal Taste of India respectively. How's that to tempt your taste buds?


Home sweet home . In front of a roaring fire. You just can't beat it, although if you are going to venture out of doors, readers picked Dusty's and the GLC as the second and third choice. Still, it would seem they don't come close to the comforts of home, at least in the minds of our voters. Whether that's "with wine," or "with a few good movies," or "with scotch" or "with treats from Purebread," Whistler wants to wait out the storm at home obviously counting down the minutes before they can hit the slopes.


The muni gets props here with Meadow Park Sports Centre . It's the runaway winner for the best thing to do on a rainy day. And we have our share of them here, rainy days that is. This is why MPSC wins: where else can you skate, swim, lounge in the sauna, play squash, work out with weights or on the cardio machines in one clean, friendly facility? It's $8 per adult, $5 per youth, $4.25 per child and $16 per family. Meadow Park is well worth the trip to Alpine, rain or shine.


He's got one more moniker to add to his long list of impressive creds — Favourite Whistlerite. It's somewhere behind dad, husband, godfather of freeskiing, driving force behind the creation of the first twin-tip skis, visionary for his film company Switchback Entertainment, and local legend.

Mike Douglas is both honoured... and a little embarrassed at the news.

"One of the things that I like about Whistler is there's a lot of what I would consider to be quite extraordinary people in this town and I think in general we don't make too big a deal about it," said Douglas who has called Whistler home for the past 24 years.

He finds himself in good company on the Favourite Whistlerite list that over the years has included Whistler visionaries like Ken Melamed, legends like John 'Rabbit' Hare, and gold medal Olympian Ashleigh McIvor, who claimed the spot last year,

The future is looking bright for this father of two having just signed on with Whistler Blackcomb to do a whole new batch of Wonder videos next year, continuing to work with Salomon Freeski TV and concentrating on a feature documentary due out in 2014.

"Aside from that, I'm just excited to hopefully have lots of great days on the hill with my family and make the best of it and try and find a way to achieve happiness."

We second that Mike!


Ah, the toque . Need we say more? We do. Because you did, dear readers. Toques all year round, toques and boots, toques and hoodies, toques and Lululemon, toques and puffies, toques over bedhead. Whistler — this is your best style. Though toques took the category, our favourite suggestion for best Whistler style goes to: "Old people skiing harder than people in their '20s." Now that's style.


It's called "sagging" — "a manner of wearing trousers below the waist, revealing much of the underwear." That's according to the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia. What did we do before Wikipedia? But, we digress.

 Sagging pants  in all their forms, from where the crotch hangs down to the knees to the ones that go below the butt, once again take the cake for worst Whistler style. Wikipedia says that "sagging" was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited. "It has since become a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society." For crying out loud, Whistler youth, find a Che Guevara T-Shirt, put it on, and pull up your pants already.


Do your friends or relatives ever question why you live in Whistler? Why you work long resort hours for non-city pay?

Why you live in a smaller house? Why you choose a place where job opportunities are limited? Silence the critics. Take them on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola . They'll never wonder again.

The Peak 2 Peak is the jaw-dropping gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. "We are thrilled to hear Whistler Blackcomb's Peak 2 Peak Gondola won this accolade from the readers of Pique Newsmagazine," said Michelle Leroux, WB's communications manager. "We agree, whether you are showing the best pow stashes on both mountains to visiting friends or playing tour guide for family in town, the P2P journey is unforgettable no matter the season or the weather."

Give your friend or relative the whole Whistler package though — dinner at the second best spot, the Rim Rock, and relaxation at the third best spot, the Scandinave Spa.


If ever there was a window into the collective Whistler psyche, here it is. Anything goes, even little white lies, when it comes to getting more powder, more turns, more sweet, sweet snow. Take these generally accepted fibs: "the mountain is too busy Christmas day", or "the mountains are only good on weekends", or "the lift opens at 10 a.m. on powder day as they have to make the mountain safe from avalanches", or "Khyber sucks." They're lies, to be sure, but we have no troubles getting to sleep at night, dreaming of that sweet, flawless, floating ride down the mountains, not a soul in sight to poach your line. Your secrets are safe with us, dear readers. See you early Christmas morning. Shhhhhh.


Break out those  hiking  boots and get out there — the beautiful backcountry is beckoning. And, best of all, it's free!!! It's free to walk to the shores of Cheakamus Lake. It's free to climb to the top of Rainbow Mountain. It's free to get to Black Tusk. It's free to discover Lost Lake, a little closer to home. The feeling of being out there, however, is priceless. Second spot goes to disc golf and the third pace goes to the Valley Trail/biking trails.


It's true Whistler was built on the dump, it gets its name from the whistling marmots and it was once a fishing resort before it was a ski resort — but there are lots of other interesting little tidbits to tempt our trivial pursuit of local knowledge as well.

Did you know: Whistler Blackcomb's lifts are powered by a hydro station on Fitzsimmons Creek (note: a run-of-river power project on the creek produces roughly the same amount of hydro used by WB). Or, that the town's first bank, housed in a trailer, was towed away in the middle of the night. Or, that "apparently the (pieces of) sports equipment on the yellow sculpture are actually Lumpy' skis, Ross' snowboard etc." That last one piqued our interest. We verified the facts. We are a newspaper, after all. Here's what the muni told us.

"The Village Square sculpture, known as rec-line, features castings of Rob Boyd's skis, Ross Rebagliati's Nagano snowboard, a Titanium mountain Bike, a paddle, a fishing rod (that was broken off) and a quote from Steven Vogler. The castings were made from the sports equipment, they don't include the equipment. The artists were Crosland Doak and Illarion Gallant." So, now you know!


 The library . The Mushroom House. The Hemloft. First, second and third place. That rundown of Whistler architecture sums it up right there — multi-million dollar post and beam aesthetic to an eclectic egg hanging in a tree.

A $12 million library built of prefabricated wood roof panels, locally quarried basalt and a large sloping green roof, all designed to a LEED gold standard and packaged together in an award-winning civic facility. Indeed, Whistler's library is the first LEED Gold certified library in Canada, designed by Vancouver-based Hughes Condon Marler Architects. It's true; the library has had its share of news coverage over the years from the ever-increasing construction costs to the design kinks upon completion. Despite those, the library has become a hometown favourite, a quiet sanctuary of peace in the heart of the busy village. Just not on Sunday's. And once again, it wins for best example of Whistler architecture. The Mushroom House is a private residence in Emerald shaped like... a mushroom and the Hemloft is a secret egg-shaped treehouse.

Pique asked well-known local architect Brent Murdoch about the choices.

"(The library) is the building in Whistler's history that's probably been in the news the most," he said. "It's the one everyone knows most about historically-wise, process-wise and may not have actually been inside but probably have most recollection of.

"...I think the other two are excellent choices. They are representative of a different part of the community and equally representative of what Whistler is all about... A large dose of fun andwhimsy, a high degree of craftsmanship, totally responsive to the setting and environment... They represent Whistler not just in how they look in a physical sense, but also represent the essence of what it's like to live up here on the edge of the coastal rainforest. If the library represents the overly wrought, scholarly approach to how you might build in Whistler, the other two represent the organic, natural, grassroots approach and equally representative of the culture of Whistler (locals vs. weekend warriors!)."


In a town known for its parties, it's always interesting to find out which one takes the top spot — the one that partied harder than the rest, shook up the town better than the rest, left us woeful and wanting more when it was all said and done. 2012 belongs to... Crankworx . In its ninth year, Crankworx took it to new heights with some amazing record-breaking stats: the GLC had its best day EVER during the 10-day festival, there was the biggest jump EVER in a slopestyle competition at 60 feet, the number of unique viewers to see live webcasts and replays were higher than EVER, and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park beat the 10-day visit record.

But record-breaking stats aside, mark your calendars for Aug. 9 to18, 2013 — the 10th annual. It's sure to knock your socks off.


This could make you never want to après again. Then again...

"Did you go up today? Are you ready to go down?"

"That one piece ski suit would look great on my bedroom floor."

"Have you ever had an Aussie kiss? It's like a French kiss but Down Under."

"You know what they say about guys with fat powder skis..."

"The snow report says there is 6 inches out there, but come with me and I'll show you 12."

"I have the recipe for a Dusty's Caesar back at my place..."

"I'm a pro skier..."

"Looks like they have been doing avalanche control around here, because I just found me a bombshell."

"I have an ava-lung, which means I don't have to come up for air."

And our personal fave:

"Do you work for the hill? Cause you're giving me a liftie."

The success rate on these has not been proven. Go forth and test them Whistler. Let us know if they work for you. We take absolutely no responsibility if you get slapped in the face.


 Public naming and shaming  are the punishment of choice for thieves caught with skis, or snowboards or bikes that don't belong to them. A wide variety of physical punishments took second place while a lifetime ban of Whistler and the mountains took third. Better think twice when you get itchy fingers in Whistler. Our black magic markers and white poster boards are at the ready. Don't be an idiot.


 Don't drink. Don't party. Don't go to the bars.  Sigh. Oh, and make your own lunch. Let's think about this in the New Year.


Can we say LANDSLIDE? There's no question here about how the people feel. When presented with the options: Free Parking in Lots 4 & 5, taking a stance against the Enbridge Pipeline, backing the UBCM motion to decriminalize marijuana or bringing back council committee meetings that are open to the public, it was a no brainer. Free parking.  Free parking. Free parking.


If free parking was the BEST decision by council, implementing  PAY parking  was the WORST. It was seen as a compromise. Some pay parking to have some free parking. Whistlerites were not to be deceived. Pay parking takes the top spot as the worst council decision, by a long shot, way above not appealing the judge's asphalt plant decision entrenching the industrial use in Cheakamus, delaying the decision on the university proposal, or delaying approval of the Mons industrial rezoning.


Going out and   blowing it on booze  was the top vote getter. But that's when it comes to your own money. When it comes to the worst use of public money there were several candidates: pay parking, paving the parking lots, concerts in the plaza, and the Whistler Sliding Centre.


Allow booze at the beach, approve the university, appeal the asphalt decision, build a casino, build a new swimming pool, decriminalize marijuana, declare a resort minimum wage of $13/hour, have night skiing, lower property taxes. Everyone's an armchair quarterback in Whistler. But as four-year-old Owen told Nancy Wilhelm-Morden on the chairlift one day, after she told him she was mayor: "You get to do whatever you want!"

"I wish!" she told the Pique. "It's been fun though."


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