Congratulations on "Snow."
Creating a musical play from scratch, writing the script, producing the songs and hiring professional actors was an accomplishment in itself. The songs were catchy and funny and the actors were versatile, believable and good singers to boot. I'm looking forward to more.
Max promised it was a reflection of the real Whistler, the town that we all know and love. But ya know what, I feel ripped off, even if the tickets were free. Leslie, on the eve of your 10th anniversary living in Whistler ya gotta know that there are so many more stories about what life is like in this valley than just the cliché: flatlander moves to Whistler to teach skiing, falls in love with pro snowboarder from Japan and spends his days with an Aussie girl who loves to party and a Quebecois who continuously smokes weed. That plot line has been done, by Whistler the TV series, by Peak Season and by countless YouTube videos. Not to say it doesn't happen: it's just the first chapter of what it can be like to live here.
I want to see the other chapters, the ones YOU lived and experienced. You are good writers, people who can put into words the mundane and the extraordinary things we experience in living here.
What happened in Year Two in your experience, Leslie? Max? Lisa? Grant? Maybe you had to meet some new friends 'cause the ones you made the first year all burnt out and moved back home.
Year Three: you find a job that you really like, start to garner some respect in your field, fall in and out and back into love again. Year Four: start to think about how you could buy a home in the valley; maybe lose a friend in some sort of accident; Year Five, have a child, definitely need a home, choose a second job to pay for it or start a business; Year Six through 15 are a blur of family life building your nest, your business, creating friendships with other parents and colleagues; and then surprisingly it's Year 20, and you've got time again, discover a new sport, maybe snowshoeing, maybe buy a new bike and you volunteer in the community.
At this time more than any other in Whistler's history we have a population of people who have been here for decades, who raised their families, contributed to how this town works and have helped to make it what it is now. They have no intention of leaving, even if they can't ski anymore and certainly don't party every night. It's home. Hey, come to think of it, it was these people who were in the audience - guess those first-seasoners were at the GLC... but I thought I saw the Reverend at the play... hmmmm.
Last night I was at yet another Christmas gathering. The place was full of people who have lived here for decades, raised families, built homes, started businesses, got sick, recovered. There is an anthology of stories. They all made the choice to move here because Whistler grabbed their hearts and souls in so many different ways than with just snow and drink. There's one thing I know for sure, you don't live in a town for more than two decades for the party; you stay because you like the lifestyle, the sports, the great outdoors, the culture and the friends that become your family.
Can't wait to see your version of Chapter Two...
An accommodating community
I live in the best place on Earth. I would like to thank Pemberton Taxi, Pemberton Home Hardware and Matt of Matt McDonald Electrical Ltd. for being so accommodating.
Our programmable thermostat shorted out a few days ago, and I guess that blew the computer in our thermostat and now it won't turn the baseboard heaters off. So at night we have to go to the electrical panel and turn the heaters off completely. After waking up with frost on the inside of our windows, I gave Matt a call. He was trying to take some time off for the holidays, but agreed to come and have a look that day.
Into the car I jumped to grab a new thermostat only to find my car wouldn't start! I called up Pemberton Taxi who promised to be at my place in 10 minutes. I called up Home Hardware and explained my situation - no heat, taxi coming, electrician coming, please have a thermostat waiting for me at the counter.
The taxi arrived on time, my thermostat was waiting for me at the till, and I was back to my house just minutes before Matt. Only in a small town would it be so easy to coordinate and have people so willing to help you out and do it with a smile. You all helped warm my day, both literally and figuratively.
The legacy laid before us
The Pemberton mayor and council have made a call to their citizens for public input regarding the building of the future skateboard and bike parks, either under or beside the B.C. Hydro right of way running across Portage Road. They are asking for your help. This is your chance to respond. Please take a minute to write them something, your thoughts.
Imagine in 10 years a skateboard park beside the hydro lines that may or may not have been upsized to over double the present strength (230 to 500 kV, just like Tsawwassen was) but what is worse, the bike park is right underneath. You see your kids playing there every time you go to town. Is this thought making you happy?
Pioneer Park is plenty big enough for the skateboard park without cutting any of the beautiful cedar trees (heaven forbid), make it work. I remember reading the "Things to Do" list upon which was to take down the fence at Pioneer Park... enough said about that.
Now for the legacy. The park and ride, of which people have said there will be "no legacy" is staring you in the face. Can you not see a fabulous bike park sitting there beside the creek? Would VANOC help fund such an endeavour, putting some of its hard-earned profits to good use? Don't know... not my department.
Well I hope you all have a great New Year. Make it so!
Pemberton & Whistler
Marketed beliefs and unbeliefs
At this time of the year every year, we are asked to believe in the Christmas story. It seems as if this year all year, young Canadian athletes have been asking, "Do you believe?" in the Olympic story. It has been many years since I have considered either part of the Christmas story credible. I can't remember when Santa died. I know my belief in gift giving began to wither when I noticed people with money were exchanging gifts with each other in a vain attempt to make everyone happy. It died when I discovered I couldn't make someone happy. My unbelief grows with each televised attempt to convince me giving a stuffed animal to a "less fortunate" child and a stuffed turkey dinner to a homeless person can make them happy for longer than a TV clip.
I have no problem accepting as fact that about 2,000 years ago a baby named Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I have no doubt while Jesus learned to be a carpenter he developed a view of life which so threatened the keepers of the prevalent view they crucified him. There is no question that the essence of Jesus's view that we "love one another..." will have to quickly become a dominant part of our prevalent view if it matters we survive. However I find the rest of the Christian narrative church fathers created completely unreasonable especially the part about the virgin birth. Knowing Jesus was a child of love is actually more appealing to me than the marketed belief he is the "Son of God."
The multi-media Olympic myth evokes similar unbelief. I do believe the torch bearers who become misty eyed because they can't think of anything to say about the experience beyond "it is hard to put into words," because it is impossible to create meaning out of myth. I know it is a fact that to the extent we "reach out to the limits of our capacities..." we enjoy life; and that athletes with the greatest capacities who reach out to their limits can participate in the Olympics if their capacities fit an Olympic sport. However, believing we need the Olympic orgy, to "reach out to the limits of our capacities..." is as unnecessary to life as needing to believe in the virgin birth.
Several years ago when I suggested we try for Mom, a sister in Vancouver who has committed her life to the Christian part of the Christmas story told me, "Your unbelief is an impediment to us getting along." It would not have helped for me to point out it is not unbelief but beliefs that cause conflict and that if everyone didn't believe what I don't believe, we would all get along. I haven't changed my unbelief; but on Christmas Eve my mother and I travelled to Vancouver where we spent an enjoyable day with my sister and her husband. Do you believe?
The early days
I was here for the big power outage and freeze of 1968. My family huddled around the acorn fireplace in our Alpine Village condo during the two and a half days the power was out. I recall my dad saying, on the morning of Dec. 27th, that the temperature had dipped to minus 25. That was in the Fahrenheit days.
A diesel-electric rail locomotive was sent up to generate emergency power but not before the hot water heating pipes in the Cheakamus Inn had frozen and burst and the side of our toilet bowl had fallen out, despite being emptied. The substation transformer was replaced in the summer of '69.
This may have been a record November for snowfall, but if people had to deal with the amount of snow and cold in the valley as we did in the first 10 years of Whistler's existence they'd be mad.
Many thanks to Gary McDonnell for his letter last week pointing out that all buses from north of Whistler would terminate at Main Street during the Olympics.
I contacted B.C. Transit and RMOW to voice my concerns about this and B.C. Transit's response was that I could walk eight minutes to the gondolas or two minutes to a bus stop on Village Gate Boulevard. (I have not yet heard back from the Mayor's Office.) Obviously they have not based these times on someone wearing ski boots and carrying skis in order to go skiing! But that is what most people will be using the buses for... It is then more like 15 minutes and five minutes.
There is, however, an easy solution - lay on a shuttle service between Main Street and the gondolas! This should not take more than a couple of buses to run every couple of minutes, making transport much easier for those of us unfortunate enough to live north of Whistler!
I encourage you to write supporting this idea to Allison_Blythe@BCTransit.com and copy your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The spirit of Christmas
We would like to thank Richard Bastiaanson from Corix Corp. for helping us fix our flat last Tuesday night between Whistler and Pemberton.
He had just finished a late night shift at Green Lake Estates and was driving home when he saw our car pulled up at the Wedge turn-off with the flashers on. We had huge drifts of snow and it was quite impossible for my husband to fix the flat on his own.
Well, Richard pulled up, offered help to change the tire, politely chatted along, requested us to keep warm and within 30 minutes we were safely on our way home! What struck me about him was how carefully he conducted the change, and even waited till he was sure we had safely negotiated the icy turns on the spare tire.
Kudos to a good samaritan and a very mindful spirit, and a Merry Christmas.
Nidhi, Shankar, Ravi and Ram Raina
And a happy new year
What happens should Intrawest declare bankruptcy? Bloomberg news has reported that Intrawest was having difficulty making a half billion dollar loan payment due last week. Should bankruptcy be declared then the company's control moves to the creditors. In such a situation the lenders will seek to best secure Intrawest assets and grind as much cash out of the operation as possible.
My friend Gerard commented, "you mean these new guys could be less heartless and soul-less than the bastards at Intrawest/Fortress are already?"
Unfortunately my reply was yes - as further staff cuts, advertising reductions, wage concessions and undoubtedly eliminating all capital expenditures are likely to occur.
"OMG no special lift to Kadenwood," moaned Gerard, "what's a trophy wife to do?"
The strong resorts will continue to operate as they are bound to be cash cows, but weak resorts with negative cash flows will be liquidated ASAP or closed. The creditors will also seek to sell excess real estate that Intrawest owns at fire sale prices, putting some pressure on our own real estate market.
Intrawest creditors will encounter great difficulty in getting paid because bankruptcy rules will prioritize who gets what and when. We hope not many small suppliers or construction companies are left on the hook and put under.
Another very big problem is the uncertainty that this presents to those booking conventions here in 2010 and beyond. No company minion will risk his/her hide booking where a deposit can be seized or an event can't be guaranteed.
Sales of Intrawest time shares will dry up and those quarter-share ownership deals at Evolution will die.
"I always felt it was bad Karma them stealing Jenine's store name and all," Gerard commented.
The muni will also have to reassess its current penchant to spend beyond their means, as their biggest taxpayer will not be able to oil the cogs of their grandiose plans. Belt tightening was long overdue anyway at city hall and a reality check for Muddlehead and his free spending council might just be welcomed by many.
"I've got it," Gerard shouted extending a high five in my direction. "Let's cancel the $150,000 post Olympic party for starters, I'm basically tired of partying with a hangover anyways. And while we're at it let's sell those Olympic tickets, likely at a good profit, deemed for the muni's special friends and fund the food bank, or maybe daycare."
Hey Gerard, I think you're coming around to the new reality of living here, how would you feel about running for mayor.