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Maxed Out: It’s time for the 2021 Maxie Awards

MAX dec 30
From new lifts announced for Whistler Blackcomb to lack of staff, this year had it all, as the infamous Maxie Awards reveal.

After a year’s COVID hiatus, back with no popular demand at all, the annual Maxie Awards once again offer a highly selective view of things requiring, well, notice, if not notoriety, that transpired over the past very weird year. As usual, but perhaps with added emphasis this year, subjectivity is the byword, there being only a judging panel of one—me. So without further ado, the envelopes please.

MOUNTAIN CULTURE AWARDS

Best On-Mountain Development: They’re open. The mountains. Sort of. For now. Yeah, the grooming is eclectic. Which lifts are operating is a crapshoot. Safety is the No. (?) priority. And the smart money isn’t on spring skiing again this year. But live for the moment, eh?

Least Best On-Mountain Development: Wow, we have a tie. Vail Resorts’ announcement to spend oodles of money on a new Creekside Gondola and Red Chair six-pack only seem like a good idea until you compare it to the company’s silence about a long-promised, 240-bed addition to staff housing. Hard to imagine how new lifts trump staff to run them but then, that incident Monday at the Creek gondy may shed a different light on this outcome. Garnering far more votes but far less response, was the mulish decision to ignore the thousands of people who have besieged the Broomfieldians to make riding gondolas at least as safe as eating Epic burgers by adopting a vaccine requirement. 

Give Us More: Staff. Having built a juggernaut of a resort, Whistler’s Achilles heel has the town finally limping... badly. The machine doesn’t run without the workerbees to run it and, like almost everywhere else in the world, they’re staying away in droves.

Give Us Less: Another tie? Really? Yes, it’s a toss-up. The thing(s) Whistlerites would most like to see leave town forever are, in no particular order: COVID; and Vail Resorts. 

GOVERNMENT IN ACTION AWARDS

Déja vu All Over Again: What do you get to celebrate a needless federal election? More or less the same Parliament you had before the election. Oh well, at least the S-to-S, et al., riding avoided the potential zombie apocalypse and returned our sitting MP... like most of the rest of the country.

Surf’s Up: On the heels of his election victory (?) Justin Trudeau celebrates the first national Truth and Recreation Day by going surfing in Tofino instead of making a token appearance at Kamloops’ remembrance of Indigenous children plowed into unmarked graves. Oh, was that another apology, JT? 

Logic Schmogic—Just Do What I Say: Working hand in hand, the provincial Ministry of Health and the Public Health Officer magically make Whistler Vancouver’s local ski hill, leading inevitably to Whistler becoming Canada’s Italy in terms of a COVID outbreak. And the logic of the province’s vaccine passport—encouraging reluctant people to get vaccinated—ends at the doors of resort gondolas. There’s either science or a pony under here somewhere.

Time for a New Crystal Ball: In April, the BC Wildfire Service announced it was anticipating a “normal” fire season for the coming summer. The one that became the third worst on record, wiped Lytton off the map and choked much of the province... until the unprecedented floods of autumn drowned everything. 

Ready, Aim...: In response to a ransomware attack that shut down the RMOW—oh, you didn’t notice?—the muni sues Pique for reporting what is widely known. 

You Take the High Road: After imploring both the provincial government and Vail Resorts to institute a vaccine mandate for mountain access, the RMOW finally decides to implement one for its own employees... next March... maybe.

Watch My Right Hand: Changes to the Local Government Act empowered municipalities to, among other things, enact bans on plastics without provincial approval. The RMOW announces it is planning to ban plastic bags and other items early in 2023. Meanwhile, in its left hand, it rolls out the Climate Action BIG MOVES Strategies... none of which make a dent in things until 2030.

Stop Picking On Us: OK, it’s not all bad. The Resort Municipality of Whistler rolled out pay parking at four of the town’s popular parks this summer. It finally announced a cannabis strategy. Suggested it might start dealing with the tacky sandwich signs polluting the Village Stroll and had harsh words for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for making Highway 99 impassable much of the summer by scheduling all roadwork during the busiest times of day. All those were good things.

OH, THE HUMANITY AWARDS

The Five Rings of Hell: It’s baaaaack. Provincial and municipal leaders, joined or spurred on by a number of Indigenous nations, are making serious noises about bringing the Olympic™ Games back to Vancouver/Whistler in 2030. Fool me once, shame on you...

A Hero Ain’t Just a Sandwich: The rescue of the year goes to the Whistler firefighters who, defying all medical odds, managed to fish a local senior out of Alta Lake when his skinny-ski adventure turned into watersports early last January. One firefighter jumped into the freezing water to help pull the potential personsicle out before his core temperature dipped below, yer kidding, 30 C! Inspiring.

Chill Out; Or Go Home: To those visitors, locals and zombies who feel compelled to take out their self-righteousness and/or racist rants on hard-working locals because they can’t get a table, reservation, food, or other stuff quickly enough or at all, just do everyone a favour and go away. We’re all working as hard as we can and there simply aren’t enough of us. 

LIFE IN OUR BUBBLE AWARDS

Does This Make Me Look Fat?: How do you handle a hungry bear? If you’re a privileged, ignorant Kadenwood resident, you buy bushels of carrots and apples and feed them. And be sure to save enough to pay the $60,000 fine when your neighbours turn you in.

Taking One, er, 40 For the Team: Dog, Big Rich and Stinky spent two years eating their way through all the burgers in town to prove Dog’s hypothesis that Caramba made the best burger in town, maybe the world. That’s the kind of dedication that made Whistler great.

Wow. Just Wow: Michael, Yoshi, the Audain Museum and Foundation gifted Whistler the Watchman totem, created by James Hart, Xwalacktun and Levi Nelson. You can’t, and shouldn’t miss it; it’s the biggest thing on Blackcomb Way.

Big Hearts, Deep Pockets: Whistler has ‘em; Whistler showed ‘em all year long with donations to Whistler Community Services Society, Whistler Community Foundation, Whistler Health Care Foundation and other groups in town who do good deeds. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Changing of the Guard: There’ll be a new name after the title Editor in next week’s Pique. After a long run as only the second editor ever, Clare Ogilvie is retiring to embark on new ways to make Tiny Town an even better place to live. Best wishes.