Competition part of the Whistler Way 

Spot The Councillor; Function Junction Coffee Bike relay part of Commuter Challenge

The second annual Whistler Way Commuter Challenge is gaining momentum, with everyone from municipal councillors to schools to Function Junction businesses getting involved.

The Commuter Challenge gets underway on Sept. 17 and runs until Sept. 30. During that time, participants are challenged to leave their cars at home and take alternative methods of transportation to work and home again. Cycling, walking, inline skating, carpooling and taking public transportation are all recommended.

Individual participants that earn enough points for taking alternative transit will be eligible to win a season’s pass for Whistler-Blackcomb, a year-long family pass for Meadow Park Sport Centre, or a year of free transit on Whistler and Valley Express.

Companies can also earn recognition based on the percentage of employees taking part in the Commuter Challenge, and the total points earned by those employees.

Most of Whistler’s largest employers are already involved with little side bets of their own. For example, the local hotels are competing for the use of a local park for a staff party.

With less than a week to go before the launch of this year’s Commuter Challenge, the competition has gotten a lot more interesting.

For the duration of the contest, the mayor and all six councillors will take turns setting an example for other Commuter Challenge participants, taking alternative means of travel to work.

If you spot a councillor in transit on their assigned day, you can call or e-mail The Whistler Way to let them know where you saw that person. Every time you call in, you will be put in a draw to win a dinner for two at Zeuski’s and other prizes.

Kristi Wells will kick things off on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Gordon McKeever is Thursday, Marianne Wade on Friday, Ken Melamed on Saturday, Nick Davies on Sunday, Mayor Hugh O’Reilly on Monday and Caroline Lamont on Tuesday.

In Function Junction, Slope Side Supply is challenging other businesses to a relay race around the area using the coffee bikes they supplied to different businesses.

The Coffee Bike Program was launched in the spring, with several Function Junction businesses receiving old bikes that were fixed up by employees at Slope Side Supply. The bikes are to be used by companies to make coffee runs and do other errands in Function Junction, reducing the number of cars on the road.

Although they hope to expand the program, Slope Side already has a dozen bikes in action in Function.

"We’re hoping to get 10 to 12 businesses involved in the race, and kind of push the coffee bike program and the Commuter Challenge, and get people excited for the event," said Tony Horn, a co-owner and operator of Slope Side Supply.

According to Kristina Swerhun, the traffic demand management workplace co-ordinator for the RMOW and the co-ordinator of the Commuter Challenge, the municipality will close roads in Function Junction for the rally, which is expected to take less than half an hour. Millar Creek Café and the Wildwood Café will donate prizes to the top teams.

The event gets underway at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Any Function Junction businesses wanting to participate should contact Tony Horn at 604-938-1680.

Mountain FM, 102.1 is also getting involved with a Commuter Quiz every morning at 8:10 a.m., and reporters out on the streets from Sept. 17 to 19. Prize packs, which include eight points towards your Commuter Challenge score, will be given out every day for 10 days.

The students at Myrtle Philip Community School and Whistler Secondary School have also gotten involved in the Commuter Challenge, drawing pictures and writing compositions on the issues behind the Commuter Challenge.

Whistler is the only community in B.C. to hold a two-week Commuter Challenge, although day-long events are happening across Canada. The organizers of the Commuter Challenge decided to host a longer event because people needed more than a day to break their car habits and embrace more environmentally sound transport alternatives.

The deadline for participants who wish to participate in an early bird draw for 500 seven day bus passes is 5 p.m. on Sept. 15.

The Commuter Challenge kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 17 with a free pancake breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club and sponsored by Nesters Market and Hot Box at the Town Plaza Gazebo, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome, although non-participating visitors will be charged $2 to go towards sustainable initiatives like Bike Smarts.

You can register as a business or individually for the Commuter Challenge at You can also pick up kits at the Resort Municipality of Whistler, or by contacting the organizers at 604-905-8204 or There’s no cost to enter the Commuter Challenge.


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