I remember the good old days skiing Whistler. Lining up in the gravel parking lot to load up on the gondola or the Olive Chair. After the up to two-hour ordeal to get to Roundhouse level, it was a challenge to get 15,000 vertical feet on those fixed-grip double chairs. At least we knew most of the people in the queue and could decide which house party we wanted to attend that evening. Now I can get that amount of vertical in under two hours and head home for lunch to avoid the high cost of food and staffing issues that impacts every Canadian business from coast to coast to coast. All this with a ski pass that is cheaper than it has been in 20 years and affords international opportunities to ski and ride.
I remember skiing down Olympic Run to the garbage dump and taking a bus back to Creekside to load up the mountain again. Ironic how we had to do the reverse this year prior to the supply chain issues being resolved for the new Creekside Gondola. The whole process was rather well organized, and a great effort was made by our local senior management and staff to get the lift operational by the holidays.
While the delivery of the music is different today, I enjoy listening to the Hairfarmers, DJ Foxy Moron and Vinyl Ritchie at various mountain venues. On top of that, the Longhorn Saloon graciously shares their music with everyone. As for events, now that the dastardly disease that shall not be mentioned is somewhat in our rearview mirror. We have the Whistler Cup, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, Crankworx, a variety of World Cup bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events at the sliding track and world class Nordic events in the Callaghan, among others.
There is little doubt that the business of skiing and riding has changed over the years and the current situation is simply the manifestation of what Intrawest helped create in the 1980’s. For a good read, Downhill Slide, written by Hal Clifford in the early aughts was prescient about the evolution of the ski industry. You can get the book the old school way by asking Dan and his crew at Armchair Books to order it in.