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Best of Whistler, 1996 A purely subjective look at some of the things that made Whistler special in 1996 Best Day of Skiing: Monday, March 4, after 53 cm of Rocky Mountain powder fell overnight on the Coast Mountains, followed by a day of brilliant sunshine. The first reporter said it was the lightest, driest, best dump in his six years living in Whistler. Then Ian Cruikshank wrote in the Backcountry Advisory it was "the deepest snowfall of this quality I have seen in my 20 years in the valley." Then a columnist compared it to a religious experience. By this point everyone who didn’t experience it resolved they should now take Mondays off. Best reason I should be mayor: "Basically, I need a job commensurate with my talent." – Stewart Glen Best non-issue: The Blueberry Gate. Best impression: Municipal council. An elected representative of the municipality failed to show up at high school graduation ceremonies in the spring, then in July no municipal representative was present to accept donation of a cherry tree from officials of the Japanese city of Koriyama. Best solution to a problem no one wanted to deal with: After an unexplained fire gutted what was left of the TSS Prince George in October, 1995 the ship sat listing at a dock in Britannia Beach for a year. The decks were covered with asbestos and a boom of logs attempted to contain the fuel which was slowly leaking from the hull. No federal or provincial authority wanted responsibility for investigating the fire, never mind cleaning up the mess, and no one was quite sure who the owner was. Finally, this past fall the leaking liability was to be towed to Hong Kong where it would be cut up for scrap. Much to everyone’s surprise, during the trip the ship was hit by a storm off the Aleutian Islands and sank. Problem solved. Best attempt to kill free speech: The Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism and various media that fuelled the hysteria surrounding the International Society for Individual Liberty conference in Whistler in August. Best potential: The World Ski and Snowboard Festival Best career move: Mark Sager. He was mayor of West Vancouver, but about the time that job was coming to an end he was hired by some Blueberry Hill and Whistler Cay residents opposed to opening the Blueberry Gate. With the gate up for review — again — at the end of the ski season this isn’t over yet. Best place to see grown men reduced to little kids with wonder in their eyes: Team Canada training camp. Best intentions/shortest follow through: Bulldog Breen’s and Barnacle Brophy’s. Best new sport: The Grunge and Plunge. Skateboard diving into the municipal pool. Any kind of clothing can be worn, but clean stuff is preferred. Best investment: The housing market. The average price of a single family lot in Whistler, assuming you could find one, increased nearly $100,000 from 1995 to 1996. Best neck ties: Robert Fine. Best attempt at diplomacy in the face of mounting evidence that nothing is going to change: Jim Charters, spokesman for local contractors owed nearly $4 million for work done on the Taluswood project — "We’re optimistic that both Intrawest and Whistler Mountain will do the right thing for the community by resolving this outstanding issue." Mind Your Own Business Award: All the do-gooders who can’t be satisfied with the current helmet law and want to require bikers and bladers to wear offensive foam headgear on the Valley Trail. Shut-up already. Best political manoeuvre (reverse): In a bid to avoid amalgamation with another school district the Howe Sound School Board offered a number of measures to save funds (which was the intent of the amalgamation) including reducing the number of school trustees in the district from nine to seven. The province accepted the reduction in trustees and then didn’t force any school districts in the area to amalgamate. Best new run: Peak to Creek. Best U turn: David Mitchell resigned as MLA for West Vancouver-Garibaldi to be appointed conflict of interest commissioner by Premier Glen Clark. But the next day "former" conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes told everyone he was forced out the position by Clark. Mitchell quickly resigned his new position and was out of two jobs in less than a week. Best vision (it just took a while to recognize what we were looking at): Decisions by the RMOW, Whistler Mountain and WRA to guarantee the W5 loan. Best way to lose friends in your neighbourhood: Apply to rezone your house as a pension. Best way to increase your house value: Have it rezoned as a pension. Best chord struck in an election campaign: Ted Milner issued a press release that suggested the municipality could be doing better with its money. Few people knew Councillor Ted prior to that press release. Best up and comer: Ben Thornhill of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, who won both the slalom and giant slalom at the prestigious Trofeo Topolino races in Italy, joining the ranks of previous double winners such as Marc Girardelli. Most Disappointing Performance Award: Muni council for inaction on virtually all the items coming out of last year’s Town Meeting. It was depressing to hear the list of recommendations read and realizing nothing had been done on almost all of them. Best $5 meal: Tortilleria’s bean and cheese burrito. Fast, filling and not greasy. Best kept secret: Function Junction. Worst kept secret: Intrawest’s takeover of Whistler Mountain. Delayed Gratification Award: To Coroner Peter Gordon for delaying, delaying, delaying, and delaying again his report on the Quicksilver accident. The wheels of bureaucracy grind imperceptibly. Best chicken wings: Monk’s. Wednesdays they’re 25 cents each. Best mountain bike trail: A River Runs Through It. Class Act Award: The family of Trevor MacDonald who decided to donate all funds received in their son’s name to the Disabled Skiers Association of BC and Canuck Place, a hospice for terminally ill children. When You Wish Upon A Star Award: The Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the Whistler Housing Society who, on Jan. 25th, announced they planned to have 800 more employee bed units ready by next (this) fall. These were 285 beds at Millar’s Pond, 176 from Whistler Mountain, 26 at Nicklaus North and 130 at the Greenside property. What do they smoke at those meetings? Would You Like A Little Cheese With That Whine Award: The winners are, Richard McGeough who, after falling through the ice on Alta Lake, was outraged to find it wasn’t anybody’s fault but his own; Peter & Frieda Morin, visitors to Whistler who were appalled to discover our parking lots contained real dirt, and, of course, Brian Johnson and Sheila Patterson who, after wrecking their plane and leaving the scene, had the nerve to complain about how long it took to rescue them. Best deal of the decade: The Whistler World Cup decade deal hammered together by Ted Nebbeling and W5. The "I Know Nothing" Award: To the original movers and shakers behind Taluswood. How could anybody screw up developing real estate in Whistler? Best name for something you might turn your nose up at: Biosolids. That’s what the solid material collected at Whistler’s sewage treatment plant is called after all the heavy metals and toxins have been removed and the stuff has been pasteurized. Biosolid material is now so popular as fertilizer the treatment plant can’t keep up with the demand. Biggest Pain In The Ass Award: To all the practitioners of the NIMBY religion in all the neighbourhoods in the valley. Do us a favour and move now; you’re not going to like what happens next. Best Natural Irony: The strikingly beautiful Cheakamus River canyon where its rushing diamond-blue water cuts under the road. What road? Why, the road that takes you to the odoriferous eyesore that is the garbage dump, not more than a cow flap throw away. Most Anticipated Exit: Peter Kent, after four months on stress leave. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Best Victor Kyam impersonation: Neil Collins spent so much time at The Cookie Co., he bought the company. Wish it Was Still A Parking Lot Award: One Whistler Village. Oh the confusion, oh the humanity. Just Don’t Know When To Quit Award: Ruth Buzzard who single-handedly propped up a large segment of the legal profession with her stubbornness. Best new fund-raiser: The Rotary Club’s first annual (hopefully) Microbrewery Festival. Beer...ummmmm. Dumbest Official Excuse of the Year Award: Loose dogs are responsible for the water quality at Rainbow Park beach. As if. Best alternate office: Tapley’s and Black’s. The phones are accessible, free and you never go thirsty. Best excuse for skiing when you should be working: Everybody else is doing it, why shouldn’t I? Best old run: Heavenly Basin, Blackcomb. Best room with a view: Crystal Hut, Blackcomb. Especially at night. Accessible by cat or snowmobile. Best steak sandwich and eggs benny: Hoz’s Best party: Mouton Cadet Spring Festival. Every restaurant in town brings appetizers to the Saturday afternoon reception. The Mouton Cadet flows and then everyone attempts to get up the next morning and ski race. Best Idea To Come Out Of The World Cup: Maxine Druker's World Cup Forest. A unique idea that should be a lasting momento to the decade of World Cup ski races to come. It attracted lots of media attention and goes to show that if you let the originator of the idea run with it, it will be a success. Best Place To Have The Bejeebies Scared Out Of You: It's night. The weather's nice and you decide to go for a walk around Emerald Drive. There are no street lights in Emerald Estates, which makes it particularly dark, but that's okay because any cars coming will have their lights on. What you won't see is the unleashed snarling dog from Hell who crept up behind you before barking his/her fool head off. Best Skinny Dipping Pond: Two Ducks Lake in the mountain behind Emerald Estates. Deep fresh water fed from a spring and heated by the sun's rays off blackened granite, bulls-eyed by an anchored log raft. Worst Idea We Just Know is Actually Going To Be Built Award: Village Park, a $2.7 million and counting artificial park where tired tourists can dip their tootsies in a stream that really doesn’t exist. Best Ghost Town: A tie. One-time logging town Parkhurst — if you don't know where it is, we ain't a-gonna tell ya — most of the time; but the Village Stroll on any rainy midweek night in late October. Best Community Communications Device Ripped Away By Council: the very much used bulletin board on the wall outside The Grocery Store in the village. It was the main place to seek or advertise for accommodation, cheap vehicles and other goods. Best Dumb Idea To Replace The Best Community Communications Device: replace the bulletin board with a laughably out of date map of the resort. Best performance of 1996: Ashley MacIsaac. Just as his popularity was rising with the Hi How Are You Today? release, this crazed fiddler raised the roof at the Longhorn. Several months later the Maritimer stormed Whistler Mountain, opening for the Barenaked Ladies. Best Short-Sighted Fund Raising Adventure: Multi-tie between the library, museum, and other arts and culture centre proponents. They all want their own slice of heaven and are separately trying to raise money toward it. Instead, they should form a W5-esque group to seek one mega sponsor who'd be happy to see its name on an all-in-one complex. A recent ex-mayor mentioned Sony Corp as a likely candidate. Another party mentioned Amex. Best Early Morning Buzz On Deadline Day: an apple-rhubarb fritter from Millar Creek Café and an office-made mug of Pique blend coffee from Roastmastir's. Best Late-Night Snack And Sports Event Package: When the bars close, there's no better way to wind down the evening than to go to Misty Mountain or Subway for a nosh before taking your balcony-row stand to watch the fights in the parking lot. Bonus points if the fight is over who's pizza slice bumped into whose foot-long veggie sub. Best New Idea On How To Run Whistler: let the Australians do it. Best Way To Prove They Really, Truly Are "Whistler's Newspaper": Give the newspaper away free to visitors, but the community it serves must shell out $2 a week for the same thrill. Best Magical Trick: Once upon a time there were two ski mountains. Poof! Now there is one. Neat, eh? Best Thing To Happen To Whistler: Intrawest's purchase of Whistler Mountain. Best Worst Thing To Happen To Whistler: Intrawest's purchase of Whistler Mountain. Best On-Going Cultural Event: The Boot Ballet. Just think of it as avant garde dance.

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