This last Friday, while skiing on Whistler Mountain and watching the Peak to Creek team races near the finishing area, I had the misfortune to pass out.
In no time many of the bystanders rushed to my assistance. Our long-time Whistler ski patroller/racer Cathy Jewett took charge and several other nurses, doctors; ski patrollers monitored my heart and assisted to make me feel more comfortable with their jackets and encouraging words.
One of Whistler's ever-ready ambulance teams ferried me to the Whistler Medical Clinic.
You cannot believe the service I received by the doctors, nurses, and technicians in our health care centre. Every conceivable tool and care was used to analyze my problem (I probably will need some additional tests in the near future).
Thanks to all of you — you are a fabulous team!!
Also, a big thanks to all our friends who assisted and called and showed their support to Trudy and me.
We are so lucky to live in such a caring community.
Sharing the alpine
I recently had a backcountry experience that brought three interest groups into close quarters. I was on a terrific three-day backcountry tour run by Coast Mountain Guides at the glorious Journeyman Lodge at Ski Callaghan.
Saturday, Feb. 2 dawned peaceful and golden for our eager pack of turn-earners. Avalanche risk was low, but recent warmth had baked the south-facing slopes, reducing our snow options. Our guide, Guillaume Otis, worked hard to find a north-facing slope within reach of our party. As we climbed Journeyman ridge, the sound of engines let us know we were not alone.
To the west, high-powered snowmobiles buzzed across the end of the valley. Apparently, they traverse from Brandywine area to access terrain on the other side, but are not allowed within the Callaghan Country zone. The noise did distract somewhat from our peaceful ascent, but they were keeping their distance. And I must say it looked like they were having a great time.
Then came the chopper. A Whistler Heli-skiing bird circled directly above us scoped out our run and headed straight for the same summit. Obviously, we were disappointed not to be able to lay down first tracks, but we figured there would by plenty for everyone. I even waved the first few times the chopper sped past, imagining excited heli-skiers looking down at us and sharing this beautiful day.
After the fifth or sixth time the chopper ferried groups past us, I stopped waving.
We crested the ridge to see multiple sets of tracks marching across the bowl. Then, unbelievably, a group of three sleds ripped right up the remaining open snow in the middle, obviously well outside their permitted motorized area. All we could do was sigh, shrug and have a reasonably awesome run off to one side of the slaughter. Sloppy sevenths as our reward for hours of climbing.
I appreciate that heli-skiers and sledders have a right to enjoy the mountains too, and many people from these groups have worked hard to establish tenures and dedicated areas.
I would be happy to share a few runs with heli skiers, but when Whistler Heli-Skiing shredded one of the few north facing bowls all day long, it was a bit much. Helicopters have hundreds of square miles to choose from. An experienced heli-ski guide should have been able to find other north-facing options on a low-risk day. Likewise, snowmobilers can rapidly access many valleys in an afternoon There is no need to encroach on non-motorized terrain.
So to all you heli-guides and sledders out there, when you see a touring group maybe consider that a few extra minutes of travel in your machines might just give them some well-deserved breathing space, at little cost to you.
I'm going to be very blunt about this. I read the feature about the closure of Katmandu (Pique Jan. 31) and there was a paragraph where the owner talks about the state of customers. One customer in particular; the guy who came in for badge glue, "agonized over the decision for half an hour and then left to buy it online."
That was me and that was not how the story went. I entered the store, looked around and asked if they sold fabric and material glue, so I could glue a badge onto my Gore-Tex Jacket.
The man behind the till handed me some Seam Sure (for tents) and told me it would work. At no point did he dispel any doubts in my mind whilst I was reading the packet — instead he glowered at me. I've used Seam Sure for its intended purpose, and my own opinion was that buying the stuff would be a waste of time, and potentially leave a mess on my jacket, but not hold the badge properly. I informed him that I felt safer buying a product I knew and had used before online, and left.
There was no "agonizing" over the decision, there was no half an hour wait, and I certainly did not feel "safer" buying online. There simply wasn't the product I wanted in his store.
I've worked in an outdoor retail store that was closing down, and believe me it wasn't pleasant, and yes, sometimes we moan about customers who don't take our word for it, but in this case he had no right to moan to the entire population of Whistler that I was a timewaster.
The rest of the magazine was brilliant, thanks.
One Mile Lake dogs
On January 12, as Cedar and I were leaving Underhill Park on our daily circuit of One Mile Lake we were stopped by a Village of Pemberton bylaw officer who informed me that the village was going to start "cracking down" on off-leash dogs at the lake.
Obviously the VOP is not aware of who actually uses One Mile Lake Park, so I decided to keep track.
By far, the most active and prolific users of the One Mile Lake trail system are dog walkers and their off-leash buddies.
Between Jan. 13 and 31 (inclusive) Cedar and I were around the lake 18 times. Our route usually takes us from Underhill Park, across the bridge, along the creek, along the newly dug channel, around the lake and back to Underhill Park (a figure eight).
Over the course of 18 days, during the roughly one hour it takes us to cover this route we have encountered 72 people and 81 off-leash dogs. Of all these people, only six were without dogs.
I only counted people I met face to face, coming at me from the opposite direction. I did not count the many people and dogs I saw ahead of me, behind me, or across the lake from me who were going in the same direction as I and who I didn't meet face to face. Nor did I include Cedar and I in the daily count.
If you extrapolate these numbers to a whole day it gives you a rough idea of the numbers involved.
Clearly it is the dogs and their people who use the One Mile Lake trail system and if it weren't for us the VOP would have spent a whole lot of money on a park that was hardly used at all.
If Whistler can have five designated off-leash areas as well as three time-sensitive off-leash areas, surely the village of Pemberton can come up with something better than the miniscule doggy beach.
I strongly urge the Village of Pemberton to make the whole One Mile Lake park a designated off-leash area.
Pemberton Power Project
Pemberton council is not looking after its assets.In the hills behind the village is the Benchlands neighbourhood and Pemberton Creek with its beautiful waterfall and adjoining trail system.
In the hope of generating revenue this area is in danger of being turned into a hydro power project, according to the minutes of the last council meeting.
Do we in Pemberton want an industrialized backyard with penstocks and turbine noise running through town?
The mayor and council are not promoting a process that involves understanding the values that are important to the community.
Let the mayor and council know what you think.
Jordan Sturdy — email@example.com
Mike Richman — firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Leblanc — aleblanc@pemberton .ca
James Linklater — jlinklater@pemberton .ca
Ted Craddock — email@example.com
Audain museum design needs second look
I am shocked at the conceptual design, which was unveiled last week, proposed for the permanent Whistler home of the superb art collection of businessman philanthropist, Michael Audain.
Certainly we were all thrilled by the prospect of having this superb art collection permanently housed in our village, and quite rightly, our mayor and municipal officials appropriately and without reservation welcomed this wonderful cultural amenity with open arms, including tax concessions and the virtual donation of a choice site to house the museum, a gift from Mr. Audain.
What few of us expected was a conceptual museum design, which according to renderings released to date, appears to be a harsh and forbidding geometric horizontal black monolith with no relationship to human scale or the magnificent surroundings of our beautiful valley. The initial conceptual design resembles a structure that might have been designed by a Grade 2 student armed with a pencil, ruler, and little imagination — as sympathetic to its surroundings as an oil tanker plopped into the middle of Whistler's Olympic Plaza.
Architect John Patkau apparently belongs to the school of design that inspired what has been correctly criticized as Vancouver's ugliest building: the Vancouver Aquatic Centre on English Bay's waterfront near Vancouver's Burrard Bridge. Funded by the public, this angular monstrosity is an assault on the optic nerve, and does not have a single window that looks out on the water.
Vancouver also has superb examples of public buildings, including the world famous Museum of Anthropology designed by internationally famed architect Arthur Erickson, located at the tip of Point Grey, overlooking Georgia Strait at the University of British Columbia.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that Mr. Patkau's concept is a geometric horror, since he is the designer of what many feel is Whistler's ugliest structure: the Origami House located in Sunridge depicted on the front cover of last week's edition of the Pique. I see no reason to patronize an architect who aspires to create notoriety by designing something that is controversial, ugly — or perhaps even worse — boring. Many of us have seen more attractive warehouses.
I hope that Mr. Audain, members of our municipal government, and the public will unite in rejecting this atrocity, that Mr. Patkau will be discharged, and that a number of architectural firms will be asked to submit preliminary design concepts, from which a final choice will be made, and developed, following due process including public input.
Many of us were hoping for a design that is welcoming, full of natural light, and open to its exterior surroundings. The objective should be something that our small community, as well as the rest of Canada, will be proud of. Mr. Audain's superb cultural gift should not suffer the indignity of being housed in a black bunker.
Happy trials and tails
Excitement was in the air. The dogs were harnessed, the passengers were on board and the mushers were ready. It was an unbelievable experience that we will never forget.
What amazed us most was just how excited the dogs were about going on their run. They sat patiently waiting for their harnesses to be put on, and then jumped and howled with excitement, as they got ready to run. Some of the dogs on our team were literally jumping for joy while they waited for the sound of that most delightful word, "Hub Hub" (the signal that they could run with their friends through the beauty of the wilderness).
We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank-you to the amazing people at Whistler Sled Dog Co. for the awesome experience that you provided for us. It was such a fantastic experience that opened our eyes and our hearts to the wonder of the animals and the love that you share with them. Your compassionate and fun-loving attitudes are evident in all that you do.
The event would have been nothing without the wonderful dogs... you were all amazing.
We are grateful that we were able to meet you all, and share some smiles and cuddles with you. You were all so loving and affectionate and so happy to spend time with us.
Whistler Girl Guides