When Seppo Makinen passed away last November Whistler lost another of its great characters, one of the pioneers who helped lay the foundation for what has become perhaps the most successful mountain resort in North America, and one of the most desirable places to live.
Seppo, like Franz Wilhelmsen, Walter Zebrowski, Dave Murray, Glen McPherson, Dave Mathews and others who have passed away in recent years, took with him his stories and memories of Whistler’s formative years as a ski town. That slice of Whistler’s history, from the early ’60s when a few adventurous Vancouver businessmen decided to put lifts on Whistler Mountain, to the emergence of Whistler as an international resort destination in the early ’90s, is what we are celebrating in a series of stories beginning this week and continuing over the next several months. The collected series will be republished in a book in September, when the Resort Municipality of Whistler celebrates its 25th anniversary.
History can be recorded in many ways; our intention with this series is to tell Whistler’s story through the people who were here when most of the world had no idea what or where Whistler was. Whistler’s modern history — its culture — is the people who have operated snowcats, built houses, waited tables and lived in squatter shacks, just as much as it is the businessmen and visionaries who foresaw Whistler becoming an international resort. That evolution is filled with tales of adventure and misadventure that will be remembered and celebrated in April this year at Reunion 2000, and on these pages from now until September.