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Words for snow sought for public art project

RMOW and library looking for Whistler’s winter lingo

There’s the elegant (see "Champagne powder") and the not so elegant (see "elephant jism").

Any way you shovel it, Whistler has a language for snow that rivals that of the famed Inuit of Greenland.

This season’s words for snow (or lack thereof) tend to be accompanied by those of the four-letter variety. But that hasn’t stopped the Resort Municipality of Whistler from partnering with the Whistler Public Library to launch a public art project tapping into Whistler’s unique lexicon for its winter raison d’être.

Project organizers are currently seeking words for snow – including definitions – from the community, to be laser cut and acid-etched onto a series of metal panels. The panels will then be used to beautify existing "utilitarian" structures.

A prototype with Whistler snow lingo, meteorological jargon and words for snow in other languages has already been installed on a hydrant barrel near the Ted Nebbeling Bridge in the north-east part of the village.

RMOW Parks Planner Kevin McFarland described the Words for Snow project, which was in fact inspired by the adage about the Inuit’s extensive vocabulary, as part of an initiative to create "background pieces" around the village for both long-time residents and visitors to discover.

The panels will be created and installed in stages.

The library is also intending to compile the words and definitions into a local snow dictionary.

A deadline has been set for March 11, but McFarland said late submissions will still be welcome. Words and definitions can be e-mailed to the library at or to RMOW Parks and Recreation at

For more information call 604-935-8185.

Knowles to start carving in April

The RMOW is hosting renowned Haida carver Lawrence Knowles beginning in early April.

The Queen Charlotte Islands-based aboriginal artist will set up in the picnic shelter area in Rebagliati Park and work on a basalt column. When completed, the column will be installed along the Valley Trail as part of the Parks and Recreation’s Valley Trail Neighbourhood Project, which aims to take public art outside Whistler Village.

The project is also aiming to install, in April, a piece designed by Whistler artist Penny Martyn’s clad with tiles painted by community members.