Maxed out 

The (dubious) best of a lousy year


Good riddance! While there's one year left to go in the first decade of the third millennium, we've squeaked past the Naughts, the Big Zeros, the Double-Ohs. In popular culture, which is to say innumerate culture, the close of this year will be considered the close of the 21 st century's first decade. It was a decade of disgust, despair and destruction. A 10-year span when pretty much everything we thought we could count on turned out to be illusion. Born of hope, mankind has used the last 10 years to prove there is a very fine line between evolution and erosion... and I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out on which side of it we're dancing.

2009 was the worst of the lot. The year was birthed in fear, death and economic ruin. It's been a steady downhill ride from there. I've lost more friends, money and hope this year than any year previous. I'd like to think 2010 will be better but it's been a long time since I believed in Santa, the Tooth Fairy or happy endings.

Despite my personal funk, it is the end of the year and time, therefore, for champagne, hollow resolutions, reflections on the past, hope for the future and, of course, the 2009 Maxies, that wacky celebration of dubious and not-so dubious achievements. The envelopes, please.


Life in the Mountains

Best On-Mountain Improvement: You've heard 'em howlin' 24/7 all during the cold weather. $17.6 million's been pumped into expanded and improved snowmaking, part WB, part VANOC, all in aid of your favourite pastime. If you don't like the noise, wear earplugs.

Best Financial Move by the Mothercorp: Cheap(er) season passes. It woulda been interesting to see how many they'd have sold at $700 but no one's complaining about the early price.

Best Nosh on the Hill: The Winemakers' Après events at Steeps last season combined scrumptious, creative food, great Vincor wines and capped it all with a tipsy, after-hours ski down. Oh yeah, I wasn't supposed to mention that last part. Okay, bring it back this year and I'll download.


Five-Ring Circus

Wait 'til Your Father Hears About This: Shortly after the chainsaws went silent and the last tree crashed to the ground, VANOC decided Whistler's Medals Plaza would actually be a non-medals plaza. With one eye on the budget and the other only seeing darkness, the folks you love to hate went all medals-Nazi on us and said, "No medals for you!" When the IOC caught wind of the change of plans, someone was taken to the woodshed and the nightly awards ceremonies are back where sledge hockey was supposed to be.


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