Letters to the Editor for the week of December 31st 

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There's a name for that

As a nostalgic local who cherishes the good old days, I really enjoyed the article on the history behind the names of runs (Pique Dec.18).

With approximately 200 official trail names I realized that it barely scratched the surface. There are perhaps thousands of place names on the mountains and I'm sure many have interesting origins (I can think of some humourous ones). If you think you know them all you're lying.

After over 25 years and over 100 days a season working and skiing on the slopes, I'm still learning many every year.

This is an evolving process as some names change over the years.

Your "Ratfink" is my "Dads". Yet no matter how disgusting the marketing department feels "Toilet Bowl" and "Sewer" are, I've never once heard them referred to as "The Funnel" or "Afterburner."

Some runs no longer exist; Jam Tart, for example.

Patrollers have names for every avalanche path, cornice, sign line, and toboggan cache. Snowmakers are familiar with creeks, reservoirs, intakes, pumphouses and staging areas.

Racers deal with start ramps and finishes, twists and turns. Skiers and riders have names for lines, chutes, traverses, pillowfields and glades. Fairweather skiers have their photo op viewpoints and party pits.

Groomers are perhaps the most name- obsessed bunch of them all, naming almost every zone, roll, corner, junction and basically any protruding object that can help their orientation in a snowstorm. A single top to bottom run can have up to a dozen separately named pitches.

Maintainance knows every kilometre of service road, lift towers, vaults and every corner of every building. There are names that denote where incidents occurred (usually crashes).

Now with an ever-expanding bike park, a whole new atlas exists when the snow melts.

So if your one of those jaded locals, who has "been there done that" on the mountains, in reality you can never stop learning your way around.

I think it would be fun and in our best interests to gather a bunch of old timers who've been around the mountains to document this information for the archives, so that our grandchildren can read a similar article and to preserve the history behind the unofficial names also.

Happy New Year to all my friends and co-workers. We truly are one big extended family.

If it snows a bit more I'll be spending some time on the mountain, in the trees. Which ones? Sorry some places are best kept secret.

Mike Roger
Birken/Whistler

Flood explanation

(I believe) the reason for (the recent) flooding is that the River of Golden Dreams is not capable of handling the Alta Lake watershed.

The swollen river cannot accept any more water.

At one time Alta Lake drained out of both ends. The only flooding was because of beaver dams on Golden Dreams and residents at the end of the lake took care of those.

When the valley trail was pushed through to the Creekside, the excess material was dumped over the side. Over the years this has been added to so nothing makes it out of the south end.

I have been told by consultants that the water leeches through, but even at the height of the last storm cycle, the connector was dry.

Other consequences of no water flow are the loss of the slew at the end of the lake and migration of weed from the stagnant south end.

Jim Kennedy
Whistler

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