August 28, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

Naked history 

Exposing Whistler’s unclothed past and present


On August 15, 2009, roughly 20,000 people were tensely crammed against the base of Whistler Mountain for the revered Monster Energy Slopestyle competition, the signature event of Crankworx. The setting sun spilled violently across the dirt track and the sky was lit up by a swirl of colorful mountain bike tricks. The sea of spectators, spread-eagled through Skiers' Plaza, desperately craned their necks in fierce anticipation of the next jaw-dropping trick. You could feel the pressure in the air. 

Then, a butt-naked man suddenly appeared.

Flashing skin and smiles all over the place, the lone streaker took off down the slopestyle track with a vengeance. The crowd went wild as his bare legs flew over rocks and skipped over dirt mounds. Men, women and even children pounded their hands together and let loose howls as the anonymous man ran, his sandy blond hair bouncing uninhibited in the wind.

The streaker zoomed past the red Sram elevated ramp and around the blue Kokanne Kicker, heading straight into the finish circle in Skiers' Plaza. Whistler councillor and Crankworx volunteer Tom Thomson handed him a red beach ball to cover up as the mystery man jumped the barrier and disappeared into the cheering crowd.

The streak lasted about five minutes, but it was a significant moment in Whistler's history.

It stood as a defiant reminder that, amid the high-stakes professional biking world and pre-Olympic hype, Whistler's soul hasn't changed much in the last thirty years. Sure, the totally naked days of the '70s have been put to rest, but this is still a town built on the smiles of 20-year-olds; a place where getting gritty in the name of fun will always reign supreme; and a place where pushing the boundaries of what is socially acceptable is downright celebrated.

And if there is one attribute that could symbolize Whistler's rebellious spirit - if there is one commodity that could be brandished as an emblem of this resort town's free soul - then exposed skin is it. Throughout the decades, nudity has consistently popped up along the village streets and in our parks. It's raised its head inside bars and on mountain slopes, along the nudie dock and danced across the stage at Das Boot Ballet. From the Toad Hall photo to the legendary Pimp and Ho parties, nakedness has woven itself thickly into Whistler's historic fabric. In other words, Whistler has definitely got a Naked History.


But before we jump into the naked stories of Whistler, a brief disclaimer is needed: Whether bare-skinned, disrobed, in the buff, raw, undraped, stark naked or wearing only a smile, the sight of publicly flashed bodies brings out a reaction in almost everyone.

Readers also liked…

  • Death in the Alpine

    Social media is changing our relationship to risk, with deadly consequences
    • Jun 10, 2018
  • Getting Lost On A Bike

    Mountain biking? Nay. Touring? Not quite. Hiking? Heck no! Welcome to the world of bikepacking
    • Aug 12, 2018

Latest in Feature Story

  • What we need to do to cut 45% by 2030

    Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one-half is achievable—but likely not in the 10-year timespan climate-change panel advocates, experts say
    • Dec 13, 2019
  • Smashing particles—and physics stereotypes

    Skiing, boarding, biking—Whistler is a hotbed of all things physical, but places like TRIUMF and CERN are even hotter for some of the coolest physics on Earth
    • Dec 8, 2019
  • Guardians of the Mountains

    For many of Whistler's first responders, saving lives is a family affair
    • Nov 29, 2019
  • More »

More by Claire Piech

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation