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So which is it?

"Pay parking rates are projected to be $8 per day in the winter and $12 per day in the summer. Revenue from pay parking is estimated to be $2 million per year.

"Pay parking rates are projected to be $8 per day in the winter and $12 per day in the summer. Revenue from pay parking is estimated to be $2 million per year. The money will be used to pay for the debris barrier and parking lot construction over a 20-year period, while $500,000 per year has been earmarked for transit affordability programs for Whistler residents."
- Source: RMOW (


"The new bus facility near Nesters is one of the main driving forces behind B.C. Transit's recent announcement that transit costs will increase for Whistler."
- Source: Pique, Jan. 22, 2009

So which is it?

How is it that transit, originally slated to become more inexpensive for locals, suddenly is now becoming more expensive?

Locals didn't want the day lots paved.

Locals were told that paving the lots and charging for parking would reduce transit fees.

Win-Win in accordance with Vision 2020. Get people off the road and on to transit.

Locals thought, OK, fair deal.

Maybe I am jumping to conclusions and what was missed from your story was that transit fees would go up for tourists but be free for locals.

That is awesome! I apologize for thinking otherwise.

I knew council would live up to its promise of affordable transit for locals!

Good on ya. I look forward to selling my vehicle and jumping on local transit for free.

Peter Skeels

An Olympic parking disaster
Re: The Nordic World Cup jumping event at "Callaghan" Olympic Park

What a traffic and parking disaster!

Saturday, Jan. 24 11:30 a.m.: All parking lots full, one hopelessly confused volunteer parking lot attendant, frustrated bus drivers with blocked roads, honking car horns, hundreds of frustrated visitors - stuck 3 km away from the event venues.

The World Cup jumping events were great. All three venues are super; the surrounding mountains are magnificent.

But after the event, an even greater disaster. Volunteers had no idea what happened to the shuttle bus service to return to the car parking lots. One volunteer told you this, another one told you that. No one had a clue as to what was going on. (One honest volunteer couple imported from Calgary told me: "We are just here to volunteer." They had no idea as to transportation or the venue layout!) Spectators had to walk back to the cars - 3 km along a narrow two-lane traffic road. Baby buggies, dogs, wheelchairs and all - no road markings, a delightful free for all.

The elegant 54-passenger busses (imported from Oregon, no snow tires) were parked besides the road. Drivers refused to drive them, because the road was blocked with all the illegally parked cars along the roadsides.

And to end it all, the intersection of the Callaghan Road and Highway 99 was a real mess.

I hope the Olympic organization can get their act together before the next event, and before next year, when The World comes and watches the Games.

The bosses and "wannabees" (instead of driving around alone in their fancy big SUVs) may have to spring for some visible uniforms and vests, signage, area maps, pedestrian walkways, road markers, training etc. (See Peter Ladner's letter to the editor, Pique Jan. 15).

Or is the budget of $6 billion + all spent?

PS: I hear it was even a worse traffic jam on Sunday.

Peter Alder

Build it and they will come!

I am talking about the Whistler Olympic Park and that is exactly what happened on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. I have been to this venue many times and have never before encountered a problem driving in and parking to go for a ski. This was not the case on Sunday.

As I was headed up the road after turning off Highway 99 around 11:45 a.m., I noticed many cars lined up to exit onto the highway. This line continued up past the transfer station and as far up as the first bridge over the creek. I was just thinking that this is the busiest that I have ever seen the road and was frankly very surprised at the amount of cars leaving.

A little further up the road a VANOC car was blocking the road and making all the incoming cars turn around to leave. I asked Munroe (he was the patrol stuck with this daunting task) what was going on and was told there were hundreds of people up there and absolutely nowhere to park. They had no choice but to turn people away.

Needless to say at first I was choked, but on the slow drive back out to the highway I had time to think and realized that this magnificent venue has been noticed. There was a World Cup jumping event going on and people were flocking to see it. I would call that a success!

My thanks go to John Aalberg and all the other VANOC employees and volunteers who have helped create this magical place.

Next time maybe I will start my day a little earlier so I can enjoy our newest piece of paradise.

Lee Bennett

Best experience of my life

Just a note to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed singing your resort's praises to all of my friends and colleagues. It was the best experience of my life, and everything from the moment I picked up the phone to book the package to the departing good-bye at check-out was flawless. You run a fine operation up there, even for someone with the highest of expectations (it's a curse of working in the hospitality industry).

I cannot thank you enough.

Staff Highlights:

· Suzie Boudreau and Sogol Hamidi in Reservations were AWESOME!

· The gal at check-in at Town Plaza Suites was absolutely delightful.

· The Australian gentleman at Carleton Lodge that provided my equipment (he was looking forward to taking an RV trip down the U.S. west coast). Extremely kind.

· All of the lift operators who each took the time to say hello.

· The guest relations staff who graciously issued me a replacement lift ticket after mine was not delivered to the hotel.

· The staff at the Fresh Tracks breakfast who not only provided a hot meal, but also took the time to come by and greet tables. Absolutely wonderful.

· The bartender at Araxi.

· All of the Outdoor Adventures staff on the Sleigh Ride. Amazing people, all so genuine.

· Stephanie, server at the Fairmount Chateau fondue dinner. She was so classy.

· Chloe at check-out at Town Plaza Suites.

· Even the gal trying to sell us on Club Intrawest was fantastic.

Not a single bad experience the entire week!

All the best and many hopes for snow.

Jonathan Brimer
Senior Sales Manager,
Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta, Ga

In loving memory

Two wonderful Australian men passed away two days apart in the past week. Whistler was the home in which they lived out their passions on the mountains and in the snow. They were both present and past members of Ski/Snowboard schools in Canada and Australia, both were fathers to daughters, and both adored their wives to bits. They were also my good friends although they did not know each other. They both had the same incredible way of bringing their love of snow sports to so many people from all over the world. They were inspirational teachers bringing many visitors to Whistler every year. I will miss them terribly.

Frank Magee played a key role in my life over the last 20 years since he first came on a Dempsey tour in Whistler in 1989, bringing back many more guests and then coming here every winter to ski and stay at the bottom of Whistler Mountain. He has been a client, ski buddy, friend, adopted Dad and elder for me, Oliver and Nicholas.

Anthony Crute allowed me to foster, encourage and mentor the growth of Pro Ride snowboard programs from time to time over the past 10 years. He was a no nonsense businessman, a man of his word, and he called me Aunty around his daughter.

I would like to thank the staff at the Whistler medical clinic, the ambulance service and the respective hospitals in the lower mainland for all they did for both Frank Magee and Anthony Crute.

Cecilia Dempsey

Timing is everything

The timing of G.D. Maxwell's Jan. 8th article, which graphically describes an individual's death in an avalanche, could not have been worse. This article was distastefully published in the same Pique that family/friends of Fauchon and Clark collected in order to save articles written in the memory of loved ones lost in an avalanche.

While I agree that people need to consider the risks of traveling into uncontrolled terrain and the repercussions of their decisions, as a friend of Steve Clark and his family, reading about the horrifying reality of his death within the same publication which contained his memorial was painful, insensitive, and invoked those thoughts I wanted to avoid most during this difficult time. I'm sure that if Maxwell was a friend of either of these two men he would not have written such unfeeling words, especially at a time so close to their death.

While I believe the article's aim was to shock readers into thinking twice about the risks in avalanche terrain, I hope the Pique's editors are more considerate of their entire readership when selecting future content for their publication.

Nicole Koshure

Floyd found

I want to extend a very warm thanks to all the wonderful Whistler people who helped and supported me in the search for my lost dog. Floyd was hit by a vehicle outside our Blueberry home on Monday afternoon, Jan. 19th. In terror he miraculously picked himself up and bolted full speed north on the Valley Trail along the Whistler Golf Course and spent two cold nights holed up outside in the valley. Floyd finally found his way home on Wednesday afternoon, after being chased around the village all morning - the enticing smells of Hot Buns, Zogs and McDonald's lured him out of hiding.

What a very special place we live. Everyone I encountered in the two long days of desperate searching offered warm and generous support: the countless Whistler dog owners, Christine of Bylaws Animal Control, Rob at Mountain FM, Chrissy who used her extensive e-mail contacts, the Village Hosts, the UPS shop, Whistler Taxi and many, many more.

Thank you all.

Suzanne Hudson

Wake up Whistler!

Online social media is changing the world! Please hear me out on this.
The "natural step" in the evolution of technology, social media is about maximizing on the access and promotion of information and ideas through conversations which are two-way, and it needn't cost a thing.

Businesses can now converse, engage, communicate and collaborate with their customers or audience in ways that have never been more accessible or effective.

Breaking down traditional boundaries, social media enables people to connect with people in a far more authentic way. The marketplace is becoming more accountable and by addressing real needs while promoting grassroots ideas, with any luck we'll see a reduction of environmental waste.

Just as the introduction of technology took those who embraced it leaps and bounds ahead, so those who get engaged in social media (before it's too late) will benefit too. As former CEO of IKEA and Volvo Goran Carstedt alluded to in his presentation earlier this month, businesses that don't embrace this communication revolution will fail.

Why is it then that as a forward-thinking community, Whistler doesn't seem to have quite caught on? During WordCamp Whistler (a conference about the renowned social media tool WordPress) last weekend, only about 5 per cent of the over 100 attendees were local. Considering WordPress is probably the biggest potential competitor to the business I co-founded (The Citizens Media, the software on which ran), I was kinda keen to get involved and - WOW - what a massive opportunity to both learn and network this proved to be!

Blog evangelist and keynote speaker Lorrelle VanFossen was such an inspiration to continue keeping my passion for empowering effective communication in every way I can. She sees the potential leverage Whistler has through the 2010 Games and loved my vision (and that of Whistler2020) for Whistler using this opportunity to show the world how effective collaboration and communication can change the way we live - environmentally, economically and socially.

Few interesting facts:

· The number of U.S. adult Internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has quadrupled over the past three years. One-third of that population has a profile on sites such as Myspace, Facebook or LinkedIn.

· 65 per cent of teenagers in the US use social networks.

· The median age of a MySpace user is 27; a Facebook user, 26, according to the Pew research. There are plenty of college graduates as well.

The best way to understand why so many in the world are waking up to the huge opportunities made available to them through social media is to try it out. Use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word, make your online promotional content interactive (i.e. turn content into a 'blog') and start conversations around your product and service. Do not live in fear about comments surrounding your business. If you believe in what you do, encourage authentic feedback as this will empower your brand beyond your wildest dreams!

As for collaborating as a resort community, how about searching for Facebook Groups on our beloved hometown. Invite friends to join and commit to posting a positive note or two every now and then.

Whistler, I urge you, if you're not already there, get involved in social media before its too late.

Caroline Smalley

A timely message

I would like to add a bit more to last week's letters commentary regarding G.D. Maxwell's column of Jan. 8. No doubt Max has been carefully reconsidering his choice of words and tone in illustrating his point. There seems little doubt that it struck a sensitive nerve, particularly amongst those close to the two who lost their lives so recently. I hope he has no regrets about the message he intended, just the delivery. The good thing about Max is he's willing to challenge the status quo, warts and all. One thing's for sure, the message was timely.

It is unfortunate it took a few fatalities to finally draw our attention to the particular avalanche hazard that surrounded us then (and lingers still). All the red lights were there for those who cared to look but despite years of vastly increased public awareness of avalanche hazard there still remains a small holdout of a fairly laissez faire attitude toward heading out into the great back yard. Roll outta bed, twist a spliff and shred the gnar - it's all good, dude. Anything more analytical than that is just a bit too straight and dull. I would like to suggest, as I think Max was, that anyone venturing out of bounds owes it to themselves and those who care about them, to make every reasonable effort to learn about the particular hazard they are playing with. It's all a mater of what game do you prefer, Russian roulette or chess?

Relying strictly on your spidey senses in avalanche terrain is about as half cocked as George Dubya Bush figuring he's got Iraq totally dialed. What you need is good Intel (and I don't mean Donald Rumsfeld), and going into the field with your eyes wide open. I don't intend to be preachy, as I'm as lazy as the next guy when it comes to digging pits, but let's call it what it is - laziness. The bottom line is when the bulletins are saying "Heads up Y'all" we would be wise to go see what they are talking about. I can assure you that anyone who checked out the snowpack back in December was not thrilled with what they saw. (Everyone who actually looked and was not thrilled give yourself a nice pat on the back.)

In conclusion I'd like to leave you with my interpretation of the real meaning of the Avalanche Danger Scale as observed on the public bulletins, which are a good place to start any trip regardless of expertise.

LOW means go wild (with certain qualifiers)
MODERATE means heads up.
CONSIDERABLE means way heads up. Let me repeat that. WAY HEADS UP.
HIGH means don't go.
EXTREME means don't get out of bed.

It should be obvious that moderate and considerable are the tricky ones.

Bruce Kay