Letters to the Editor for the week of February 13 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHARLIE BOOKER COURTESY OF WHISTLER SPORT LEGACIES - Canadian pilot Lyndon Rush (with his team mates David Bissett, Lascelles Brown, Chris Le Bihan), they won bronze in the 4-man race in 2010.
  • Photo by Charlie Booker courtesy of Whistler Sport Legacies
  • Canadian pilot Lyndon Rush (with his team mates David Bissett, Lascelles Brown, Chris Le Bihan), they won bronze in the 4-man race in 2010.

Your Olympic legacy venues say "thank you!"

This February and March, our whole region commemorates the anniversary of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2010.

For our organization, Whistler Sport Legacies (WSL), this anniversary is a big milestone. We are celebrating a decade of keeping the legacy venues, Whistler Olympic Park, the Whistler Sliding Centre and the Whistler Athletes' Centre, relevant for sport and accessible to the community and visitors.

Over the past 10 years, WSL has stayed very true to its mandate to keep the facilities open for high-performance sport, as well as to operate the venues as community facilities and to enrich the tourism offerings in the region.

We offer affordable recreational activities and youth sport programs and camps. Close to 20,000 Sea to Sky elementary school students have learned to cross-country ski at Whistler Olympic Park, and many more have experienced an introduction to our core disciplines, both in our entry-level programming for sliding, and Nordic sports.

We provide unique opportunities to the public to try Olympic sports such as bobsleigh, skeleton and biathlon, and have helped educate local coaches through development courses to benefit the corridor's clubs and sport groups beyond our core sports.

The Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park offer some of the best high-performance training and competition sites to local, national and international athletes.

The Whistler Sliding Centre is part of the sports' World Cup circuit and still considered one of the best venues in the world. Thirty-nine international sliding events have been held here since 2010, and it will again host the Luge World Championships in February 2021. Whistler Olympic Park continues to be the site of many grassroots and high-performance events, and is in the running to host the Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in 2023.

We are very proud of our "Whistler grown" athletes' success on the world stage. Since 2010, 15 local sliding athletes have been nominated for the national teams and just last month, we all celebrated the silver medal that Whistler lugers Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless brought home from the Youth Olympic Winter Games. Our full-time biathlon team has been growing, and just this season, 10 of our young biathletes were nominated to race for Canada overseas in Europe.

Our organization was created with the mission to grow sport. We could not achieve this without the daily support of our amazing colleagues, the Sea to Sky community, our guests, volunteers, clubs and partners! You help us keep the spirit of the Games alive. On behalf of the Whistler Sport Legacies team, I thank you for the past 10 years, and look forward to continuing the legacy of 2010 for many years to come.

Roger Soane // President & CEO, Whistler Sport Legacies

Keep grooming

I have noticed a significant improvement in grooming on the mountain since the recent change.org petition and the Pique article (Pique, "Whistler COO says Vail Resorts is listening to criticism," Feb. 6).

I have also appreciated that part of the Olympic venues have recently been groomed for the first time this year, notably Fallaway and Weasel.

I wonder if the mountain could consider grooming the rest of the Olympic venues, particularly the Olympic finish run a.k.a. Powerline, and if [that's not possible] to groom could [you] at the very least [groom] the area around the Olympic rings? With the recent valley level melt freeze, it is not safe to ski/walk to the base of the [Olympic] rings, and I have seen multiple guests falling trying to get there over the last few days to get their photos.

It would be amazing if the top to bottom of these Olympic runs could be groomed for the first time this year, especially the women's start on Wildcard through Joker's Traverse and over the tunnel onto Franz's. The recent fencing and ropelines setup on the Highway 86/Pony Trail/Jimmy's is much better now, and should allow this just by directing Highway 86 traffic through the tunnel.

WB even promotes this on their Wonder Routes activity guide map of things to do on the mountain for guests.

Paul Hothersall // Whistler

Vail Resorts has not failed Whistler Blackcomb

I disagree with Ben Cherniavsky's petition about making Whistler Blackcomb great again (Pique, "Whistler COO says Vail Resorts is listening to criticism," Feb. 6).

The title is too much like Make America Great Again, which disingenuously ignores advances made while nostalgically yearning for a past that wasn't real.  

Have conditions really deteriorated with the Vail Resorts' acquisition? I haven't seen that this acquisition has been much different than previous ownership transitions over the years.

Some fits and stops at the start, but then things smooth out with time.  

Big queues, lift stops/breakdowns, slow openings because of challenging weather conditions happened in the past as much as they do now, and are expected in ski areas.

Skiing/riding is an outdoor sport subject to uncertain weather conditions. Not only does Whistler Blackcomb use Twitter for communications on delays and closures, but we can check [independent site] whistlerpeak.com, which is a great resource for on-mountain and backcountry weather and conditions.

Customers are compensated for certain issues—being stuck on a lift that is stopped too long, for example. But no ski area should be expected to compensate for bad weather conditions or queues. I will gladly wait for ski patrol to clear an area—I have a deep appreciation for the work they do assessing conditions, doing avalanche control and sweeping to help ensure safety.

The quality of food on the mountain seems just as tasty to me and [there are] lots of choices. The Zero Waste program started before the Vail Resorts acquisition and [it] continues to support it, and so on...

I suggest Mr. Cherniavsky focus on helping WB stay as great as it is, because I believe Vail Resorts is listening and willing to make positive changes. For example, isn't it time to replace the worn out, aged Creekside Gondola?

Kathy Robertson // Washington state

Address concerns, Vail Resorts

"I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down."—Buffalo Springfield.

[These are] lyrics the founding mothers and fathers of Whistler in the '60s would have recognized that resonate today.

Over the weekend I, like many concerned Whistlerites, signed a petition titled: Vail Resorts: Make Whistler Great Again. Apparently started on a whim by a [part-time] local I was the 600th-and-something signatory. By mid-week, the numbers had swollen through 2,000, illustrating the worry and frustration that is currently circulating our fair resort.

It certainly appears as though the Whistler experience is deteriorating: this season, the alpine has been closed more days than it has been opened—fractures in the snowpack and high winds being blamed, equipment reliability has lead to enlarged lift lines in an already-crowded environment, yet all seems right in Vail Resorts' world where we continue to get bombarded with PR on how much pow there is.

Honest communication is so important, and addressing the negatives as well as the positives is part of PR.

It's time for Vail Resorts to address these issues by communicating explanations to us—their customers who pay a serious amount of money to enjoy the Whistler experience—and to let us know what they are doing to address these issues.

Whistler has lost its mantle as No. 1 ski resort in North America and if the concerns of their customers are not addressed, then word of mouth will further damage the brand.

It's not what anyone who lives here wants, so Vail Resorts step up and address the problem.

Guy Darby // Whistler 

Take action on tarsands

I want to thank Alan Whitney for an excellent, well-written letter in last week's Pique, "Feds must say no to tarsands development" (Feb. 6). Critical decisions are being made that will set the direction of our country's energy policy for decades. A pending one is the huge Frontier tarsands in Alberta. 

We know the dire environmental and financial consequences if fossil carbon continues to be extracted and burned into our atmosphere. Fossil carbon must stay in the ground.

Please join Alan in writing or calling our Liberal MP Patrick Weiler, and in fact most importantly, the Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson (MP for North Vancouver), who is ultimately responsible for this decision.

There are, I believe, self-interested and misguided, yet very powerful, voices from the fossil industry urging this project be approved. Help Patrick and Jonathan have the strength to do the right thing and not approve this massive release of carbon into an already saturated atmosphere.

As much and as soon as possible, fossil carbon must be left in the ground and we must create a future for ourselves and our children using the alternatives. It is and will be a huge task. We must ask our representatives to devote more attention to lessening our country's economic and physical reliance on fossil energy.

Approving projects like Frontier will only make us more reliant with a commitment to decades of future reliance, which Alan points out may negate our personal efforts to change. 

I would also like to thank Pique for the climate-action articles that have been written in recent issues. None of us can claim ignorance of the importance of this so please contact your elected officials and help them make the correct decisions on our behalf.

John Wood // Whistler

World needs to work together in face of challenges

The outbreak of the coronavirus is forcing us to face the truth.

I would never support an authoritarian regime, but I have to respect the actions of the Chinese leaders in their efforts to control this epidemic. Of course, I realize that some local authorities tried to control what looked to them as initial rumors; I think that is natural.

In the Western world, the warnings of the first responders would have probably got out earlier but would we, in fact, have been able to lock down a city or a province based on a few cases so quickly? Would we have been able to build whole hospitals and treatment facilities almost overnight and provide all the professionals and staff required to treat all these patients in such a short time?

The rate at which this virus is spreading shows us how small our planet has become and how we all affect and depend on each other. This is not a time to blame anyone but a time to cooperate and work together to overcome this crisis.

At a time when the supreme leader of the Western world is blatantly lying into the face of his people and the people of the Earth and everybody knows that he is lying, it becomes increasingly challenging to recognize what is truth and what is not.

It really hurts everyone when we cannot trust our elected leaders any more. The Earth desperately needs honest governments to take us into this decade with all the challenges we are facing.

The coronavirus epidemic, the climate crisis, mass migrations, ethnic, economic and cyber wars are only the beginning.

Kurt Mueller // Whistler

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