Hottest ticket in town conjures memories of the Freakers Ball 

The Pimp ’n’ Ho has officially been relegated to the dustbin of history. Extremely Canadian’s Annual Season Kick-Off party has cast aside the overt sex ’n’ drugs theme, and reinvented itself. The debauchery, however, will no doubt continue. In its redubbed version, the shindig is summoning up a Whistler classic from the dead: The Freakers Ball.

It started with a 1972 Dr. Hook album, Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball. Most of the songs on the LP were penned by a songwriter called Shel Silverstein. The album was distributed to radio stations in late 1972 with a letter from CBS warning it contained "objectionable material". Diligent DJs who screened the album before putting it on the air, as recommended by CBS, would have been grooving along to the title track: "Come on babies grease your lips/ Grab your hats and swing your hips/ Don’t forget to bring your whips/ We’re going to the freakers ball."

It’s little wonder that Whistler’s ’70s ski bums took it as their theme song, naming their inaugural black tie bash after the song’s anything-goes, counter-culture Freakers Ball. Originally organized to coincide with the full-moon closest to the spring solstice, the first Whistler Freakers Ball was held at the Mount Whistler Lodge in the mid-’70s.

One local remembers Whistler in the ’70s as "a rough and tumble place. There was no opportunity to put on any nice clothes. Ever. Everyone lived in jeans and plaid shirts. There were three places to go – the Boot, the Christiania (an on-again-off-again restaurant/bar) and the après ski place at Creekside, L’Après. Then there was Rudi’s Steakhouse, a fine dining place that was in a converted house where Nesters now is. That was the choice of places."

Out of this social vacuum sprang the Freakers Ball.

"It was really a bunch of Whistler freaks getting together to have a ball."

Some of those freaks are now upstanding citizens, parents, community leaders. A bunch of girls did the catering, spreading a buffet out on a long table in front of the bar. One local girl, who grew up to be a Whistler VIP and mother, emerged from a giant cake clothed solely in body paint. Another group of revellers decked themselves out a la Louis XIV.

"Everyone came dressed up in nice clothes, except for one guy, who came in a gorilla suit," goes the story. "At the end of the evening, the gorilla jumped up on the long table and boogie-woogied down, having stripped off all of his costume except for the gorilla-head. He danced down until he stopped at the centre of the table, where two ladies were sitting chatting. Suddenly one yelled out, ‘Oh my god! I recognize that thing!’ And that was what it was like then. The community was small enough that features could be recognized."

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