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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Cancelling ski school for little kids the wrong decision

Vail Resorts should be ashamed of [itself]! [It has] stripped our children of such an amazing opportunity, and life-changing memories.
File photo by Andrew Strain/Whistler Blackcomb

Vail Resorts should be ashamed of [itself]! [It has] stripped our children of such an amazing opportunity, and life-changing memories. [It] didn’t give us a single reason as to why the young ones aren’t able to participate in ski school this year, and then proceeded to tell us to take advantage of daily and private lessons ... (nice up-sell attempt, Vail Resorts).

Oh, but wait!!!! Your three- or four-year-old cannot have a group private lesson even if it were with friends, it has to be a one-on-one, for an hour only as young kids can’t ski for very long (I’m sorry, but my four-year-old skis for hours and cries when I tell him it’s time to call it a day and I’m sure most Whistler parents can agree with me on that!). 

And how is it completely OK for them to go in daily lessons with different kids coming up from the city and on holiday any day of the week, yet it’s not OK for them to be in the same group of four kids all season long, making memories, skiing their hearts out, playing and having fun in the snow, eating that crappy mountain food we all know is so bad for them but they love it?

This [is] a [rite] of passage for Whistler kids and we deserve some answers here! 

Our children have been safely going to awesome summer camps since the middle of June, daycares have been open, there has been zero COVID-19 issues [as far as we know]. 

So why, Vail Resorts? Why are you not running this program? Why are you not giving an explanation? Why are you treating us like tourists and telling us to pay even more money for daily lessons? Don’t forget whom the heart of this ski resort is, who [it is that] keeps this mountain alive, it’s us! 

A super pissed-off mom! 

Robyne Walker // Whistler

Please reconsider decision on kids ski school 

(Editor’s note: This letter was sent to Vail Resorts’ Russ Wood and Donna Kerr and shared with Pique for publication.)

I am writing in response to the email that was sent out on Monday, Sept. 14 in respect to Vail Resorts’ decision to not offer season-long programs for children six years and under.  

As I am sure you can appreciate, this was an immense blow to the population of Whistler and the surrounding communities who are the backbone of Whistler Blackcomb. 

While I understand many factors are at play, the cancellation of these programs will have a filter-down effect for years to come. 

Ski School is an integral part of this town and the future for our children. By abandoning the youth, you are effectively encouraging children to immerse themselves in other sports and potentially lose these children and their families in the future. 

My husband and I have lived in Whistler for 22 years, and we are now raising three young boys, aged nine-, six-, and four-years-old. The decision announced directly affects both our six-year-old and our four-year-old. One would be enrolling in the Skier Development Program this year and the other would have enrolled in the Valley Kids Creekside Monday and Wednesday program. As working parents, business owners, professionals, and avid skiers, we rely on the season-long programs offered by Whistler Blackcomb not only for development for our children, but also for quality care. 

It was noted that, “Children 6 and under will have the opportunity to participate in daily group and private children’s snow school lessons with limited class size to allow for physical distancing.”

I am questioning why Vail Resorts is presenting this option for local children, being exposed to other children they don’t know on a daily basis versus creating groups (like every other sport association in town) where cohorts and continuity are possible throughout the season. 

If Vail Resorts is presenting daily lessons and private lessons for this age group, why aren’t the season-long programs being presented as well? It makes no sense. 

I understand staffing and finances are a challenge to Vail Resorts, but I encourage you to reconsider this path in the best interests of the youth and the community you represent. 

As one of the largest employers in the Sea to Sky valley, Vail Resorts has a social responsibility to the community, and I hope you will take this to heart.

With hopes [Vail Resorts] will reconsider.

Elizabeth Harris and Chris McKinney // Whistler

Whistler Blackcomb failing at climate action responsibility—again

I received a thick package of glossy, virgin-paper propaganda in the mail today from Whistler Blackcomb. 

[It] proudly announced on the front “OUR CHOICES DEFINE US” in big, bold capital letters. 

Once again, I am appalled by [the company’s] failure in leadership and total disregard for the corporate responsibility. The entire western U.S. is on fire, and yet our community’s biggest employer is still operating like it’s 1980. 

I call on all local WB leaders to demand better, and for all of us to do the same. Write to [email protected]. If we’re going to support this company every year with our hard-earned dollars, let’s take five minutes to let them know that deforestation to sell access to nature is not acceptable. OUR CHOICES DEFINE US.

Randi Kruse // Whistler

Speaking up for old-growth forests

The Whistler Naturalists would like to thank everyone who helped make the Whistler Forest March on Sept. 18 happen—an event that we hoped brought attention to the fact that old-growth forests are still being logged in B.C. (and Whistler) despite only a fraction of original forest remaining. 

Thanks to all those who came out for the physically distanced in-person march and for all the support we received along the way. We really appreciated the two- and four-legged participants!

Following the march was a conversation about old-growth forests in Whistler and across B.C. We’d like to thank our guest speakers who shared their amazing knowledge: Georgina Dan from Lil’wat Nation, Claire Ruddy from AWARE and Whistler Councillor Arthur De Jong.

If you missed the live stream event and want to learn more about the issues and viewpoints, you can watch on demand at our Facebook page:

If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll be willing to speak up for the old-growth forests that you love before they are lost forever.

Sabrina Hinitz, Kristina Swerhun and Bob Brett on behalf of the Whistler Naturalists // Whistler