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Letters to the Editor for the week of February 27

Where are all the lifties? I recently received a feedback survey from Whistler Blackcomb, but wanted to make sure my voice was heard with regard to safety on the chairlifts.
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Where are all the lifties?

I recently received a feedback survey from Whistler Blackcomb, but wanted to make sure my voice was heard with regard to safety on the chairlifts.

I've been a regular skier at Whistler Blackcomb since the '90s and a season pass holder for the last 10 years. I've tried to give Vail Resorts the benefit of the doubt while they took over our community mountain including the growing pains as they try and understand Whistler and Canadian culture.

I could go on and on with complaints of poor grooming, Blackcomb Gondola malfunctions, higher prices for on-mountain food...However, with the recent news of a chairlift death in Colorado, I need to speak up on issues I've seen with chairlift safety here in Whistler Blackcomb.

(Editor's note: A New Jersey man died on a chairlift at Vail Resorts' Blue Sky Basin earlier this month from positional asphyxiation when his coat got wrapped around him after becoming tangled in the lift. The coroner ruled the death accidental.)

I started to notice a downgrade last year offloading Jersey Cream chair. The woman next to me fell and was unable to get up. The guests on the next two chairs unloaded and fell on the first woman. We were all screaming for the lift attendant to stop the chair; he was inside the hut oblivious to what was happening—finally, he ran out of the hut and pushed the emergency button. 

It was then I realized, hey, there used to be at least two "lifties" posted and watching as guests unloaded.

Two weeks ago, I witnessed another near-miss loading on Glacier Chair.

A child ahead of me missed the chair and fell. The chair was about to hit him when the only lift attendant on duty rushed over to pick him up. Then the chair I was on was about to hit the lifty and the child in his arms. Thankfully, the quick-thinking guest sitting next to me jumped off the chair and pushed the emergency stop so the situation could be resolved.

Let me just say that again: it was a guest who had to stop the chair.

The very next day, I was about to offload 7th Heaven Chair. A woman in the chair in front of us didn't raise her ski tips, [so] they were caught below the platform and she fell. The chair narrowly missed hitting her. 

We were on the next chair behind and about to hit this woman who was trying now to crawl out when the sole lift attendant came running out of the hut, almost slipping in the snow, and slammed on the emergency stop just in time. 

If there were another attendant posted outside watching, they may have been able to warn the guest to raise the tips of her skis in time. Or at least stop the chair without running.

I don't understand why there is only one lift attendant posted at the chairlifts?  This is a huge safety issue. Is it a financial decision to lower payroll? Is the bottom line of Vail Resorts more important than the safety of the guests? 

I worry we will have a similar incident here as what happened to one of [Vail Resorts'] guests in Colorado.

Shelley Rubzow // Whistler/Vancouver

 Action needed now on fish farms

Our new Minister of Fisheries [Bernadette] Jordan was recently quoted in The Narwhal magazine as believing that the mandate letter from Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau only requires her to legislate a plan to remove open-net salmon farms from our Pacific tidal waters by 2025, not to actually remove them.

This obfuscation is a recipe for disaster; I sincerely fear our wild salmon will not survive another 10 years of decline.

Liberal MP Patrick Weiler assured me pre-election that he shared his predecessor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones' and John Weston's strong opinions regarding the importance to transition Atlantic salmon farms from our Pacific tidal waters onto land as soon as possible.

I emailed our MP Weiler the day I read about this latest delay tactic a week ago.

I hope to eventually get a response that he is working hard in Ottawa pursuing funds in the upcoming budget to assist in this transition.

Please contact Mr. Weiler at wvscssliberals@gmail.com, or take any other opportunity to ask him to seek funds in this budget to help make this transition happen. 

Jim Horner // Whistler

Spring Creek school says thanks

Olympic-sized thank-yous to the Spring Creek Community School (SCCS) parent volunteers, students, staff, community members and local businesses for supporting our Parent Advisory Council's SCCS Olympic Themed Family Fun Night on Feb 20.

A huge thank you to Tami Mitchell of Whistler Sport Legacies who coordinated the sporting events together with Whistler Adaptive Sports Program, Kirk Paterson from pickleball, Snowboard Addiction, Oros Whistler Gymnastics Centre, BC Wheelchair Basketball and the Sea to Sky Athletics Club. 

Thank you to local artist/ceramic artisan Stephanie Lowe, of stephanielowestudios.com, and Patty Arcuri of Shaw Carpets for hosting face painting and to Lumi Okuda and team for sponsoring the Origami making—so fun for the children! Lastly, thank you to Jared Curnew from Whistler Wine Merchants for donating an incredible case of boutique BC Wines.

We are grateful for everyone who supported us to make our Olympic-themed fundraiser a big success. Your willingness to participate in the events, to enjoy dinner, to purchase raffle tickets, to donate so many cakes for the cake walk, and to socialize with other parents and students created a very fun and memorable evening while raising funds for the school.

Thank you to our generous donors, Nesters Market and Samurai Sushi, and to the Spring Creek PAC executive team for organizing the event. Our school truly glowed with positive, sporting energy and a sense of community!

Jennie Kyle and Katherine Currall // Spring Creek Community School PAC, Co-Chairs




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