A successful athlete, as Rob Boyd has said, has to first understand how to win, but to stay on top he must go on to understand why he wins. As town and as a resort, Whistler should understand why it’s successful. The November issue of SKI magazine doesn’t have any stories specifically on Whistler, but several stories touch on some of the reasons for Whistler’s success. One article, on the four largest players in the merger game sweeping the mountain resort industry — Intrawest, Vail Resorts, the American Skiing Company and Booth Creek Holdings — notes that some of the concepts that have remained a fundamental part of Whistler Village from the beginning are only now being used at other resorts. Those ideas include rental pool covenants to create warm beds, pedestrian villages and bringing visitors and locals together in that village. A second story profiles Eldon Beck, who of course designed the original Whistler Village and Village North. The principles Beck employs and is praised for — view corridors, human scale and the metaphor of a stream, with eddies and pools along the edges — have been a part of Whistler Village from the start. Those principles are now being used at villages Beck is designing at Intrawest’s other resorts. This is not to suggest that Whistler Village has developed flawlessly, but a review of some of the original, rejected designs for the village back when it was still a garbage dump the late ’70s — eight square blocks, a large artificial lake right at the base of Whistler Mountain that would have been drained in the winter for parking — shows what Whistler was saved from. Moreover, it suggests that some sound principles were used when the successful village design was chosen, and those principles have largely remained sound. A third story in SKI profiles Jim McConkey, the Father of Extreme and the former director of Whistler Mountain’s ski school. McConkey symbolized Whistler in the early days, with his flair, his sense of adventure and respect for the mountains. Many of those same qualities are found in the people of Whistler today. The mountains seem to attract talented, creative, generous people. They are fundamental to Whistler’s success. How many fund-raisers and benefits are held annually in Whistler for individuals or groups that need a hand? And how much stronger is the Whistler because those individuals or groups have remained part of the community? At the end of November Whistler hosts the World Cup ski races and festival. Organizers say the festival is to be a celebration of Whistler, "something we don’t do enough of." It’s worth thinking about.

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