Alternatives to bar scene growing in popularity 

After-dark options for those who don’t want a drink are still slim pickings in this party town, but a spate of monthly events known as We Are Whistler Late Night are rapidly starting to change all that.

For the last five months the Whistler Community Centre has been coming up with liquor-free festivities for the 19 and over age group and the numbers are growing every time. They’ve had an open mic bingo night, a snow shoeing scavenger hunt and even a Rocky Horror Picture night that culminated in attendees rising from 10 at the inaugural event to 70 people at the last one.

Late Night organiser Tessa McLoughlin, said the feedback has been impressive.

"Each month we just get more and more popular which is so encouraging. People keep saying to me ‘Thank you so much, this is what I’ve been waiting for.’ Just because we are all of legal age doesn’t mean all we want to do is go to bars every night," she said.

The next big no-beer event is on Monday, April 7 at the Meadow Park Ice Rink. Titled "Xanadu" it is a tribute to the disco musical starring Olivia Newton-John. Dress accordingly for this ’80s ice skating party, offering free entry and rentals, a canteen for the hungry or thirsty and a DJ playing all the hits you know and love from 8 till midnight.

The idea for Late Night follows a similar success story in Banff called I Am Banff Late Night. Their alcohol free options have been credited with bringing petty crime and street fighting down to a minimum in the Rocky Mountain ski resort.

"A lot of crime happens when youth are drunk and bored. Events like these give us something else to do," said McLoughlin. "Sandra Smith from By-laws spearheaded the idea here. She went to Banff to see what they did and came back to Whistler with a proposal and I’ve been organizing it ever since."

Late Night is geared mainly towards locals, with a lot of people from staff housing turning up.

"It’s such a cheap option for locals as we are getting a lot of support from businesses, keeping the costs down and giving people the opportunity to do things they probably would never have done before."

If attendance numbers stay high, McLoughlin plans to continue the program through the summer. Call 604-905-1728 for more information.

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