Locals, newcomers reminded to Walk Safe this winter 

WB to run free, late-night shuttle; Whistler RCMP hands out free reflectors

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO - SAFETY FIRST  Locals and newcomers alike are being reminded to walk safe this winter season.
  • shutterstock Photo
  • SAFETY FIRST Locals and newcomers alike are being reminded to walk safe this winter season.

Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. Don't dress all in black. Use the Valley Trail whenever possible.

And make sure you get your hands on one of those free reflectors.

These are the basic tenets of Walk Safe — one of the most important lessons for Whistlerites to grasp.

So far this season there have been no reported incidents involving pedestrians — a good sign for Whistler's RCMP.

The No. 1 piece of advice from local police? Wear a reflector.

"It's amazing what it can do to make you be seen," said Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair, of the Whistler RCMP.

"We're going to be handing out the reflectors at our front counter (located at 4315 Blackcomb Way)," LeClair said.

Local police will also be stopping people walking on the highway.

"Our members will have (the reflectors) in the vehicle, so when they see somebody walking on the road they're going to be able to stop and give them one and tell them how to use it," he added.

There won't be a poster campaign to go along with WalkSafe this year, but if problems arise it could be brought in later in the season, LeClair said.

What will be making a comeback, however, is Whistler Blackcomb's (WB) free, late-night shuttle up to staff housing.

This year the shuttle will run from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. throughout the winter season.

With the shuttle driving a 300-per-cent increase in late-night ridership on the line during its pilot project last year, WB — and the project's sponsors — were anxious to see it return.

"We really didn't see any hesitation at all from our partners from last year — so Gibbons, Moe Joe's and the Fairmont," said Joel Chevalier, WB's VP of employee experience.

"They were onboard as quickly this year as they were last year, which is great... I think it's a great reflection of a strong community, a community that's got strong values around safety."

Kokanee has also come onboard to sponsor the shuttle this year, enabling it to run an additional hour each night.

Depending on how well used the shuttle is — and what kind of sponsorship opportunities arise in coming years — the free shuttle could eventually expand even further.

"We have lots of opportunities," said WB's housing manager Nicole Desjardins.

"We could run it for the early season and late season and through the day as well. I think at this point we're just waiting to see if we can have more sponsors come onboard, and the more sponsors we have onboard the longer we can run the free bus through the winter season or through the day."

But however you choose to spend your winter, safety should be your No. 1 priority, Chevalier said.

"It's a long season, and there are 200 days of skiing and riding that we're going to see this winter," Chevalier said.

"People should go out and have fun, but make decisions that are going to allow them to enjoy all 200 days, whether that means being safe while you're skiing or riding, or safe at one or two o' clock in the morning to get home."

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