Maxed Out 

A Whistler state of mind

By G.D. Maxwell

In a week when I’ve frozen in minus 20 degree sunshine, been pelted by snow falling so hard and so fast it inflicted body blows on anyone unfortunate enough to have to walk thorough it, basked in heat of such ozone-challenged intensity I could actually hear pallid, winter skin start to sizzle like bacon on a griddle, skied freshies and spring sandpaper crud on the same run, been rained on, blown on, snowed on and shone on, I can’t help being amused when someone walks into where I work and innocently asks, "What’s the weather going to be like for the next few days?"

I’m certain they wonder why I have to think about that question so long before answering.

"Biblical," comes immediately to mind. And a plague of locusts or a flood would pretty neatly round out that picture.

"Variable," though a comfortable old standby just doesn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what someone from, say, Mexico City who’s experiencing snow for the first time must be going through.

"Does it really matter?" is probably too smartass. But for someone who has travelled several thousand miles and dropped a couple of weeks’ wages to come slide here, it undoubtedly comes closer to capturing their reality.

"Sunny and cold," is a favourite lie. Makes the customers feel good and who can blame me if the weatherpeople screwed up again. Of course, some people don’t believe me when it’s raining outside and I say that so I fiddle with my computer and feign calling the weather line then smile at them and say, "Yep, sunny and cold," with even more authority in my voice.

"The weather is a sinister and unknowable plot controlled by military-industrial terrorists. If I told you what it was going to be like, I’d have to kill you," seems too delusional even though it captures the spirit of these troubled times.

Breaking into the song from Annie about the sun shining tomorrow just plain scares people. I think it’s my voice. They get that look on their faces; you know the one. The look you see when a crazed street person won’t stop following someone.

What can a poor boy do? The only real answer is "Beats me. Whatever it is, enjoy it."

’Cuz you see, regardless of what the calendar says, regardless of the telltale metallic warble of Varied Thrushes, regardless of the Easter pilgrims, regardless of the throngs of Spring Break revellers, spring in Whistler is a state of mind, not exactly a time of year.

As a state of mind, spring works in explicable and profound ways on those who ski and board. It is the Silly Season.


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