On-mountain musings – thoughts for a new year 

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"As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time."

- Denis Waitley

I'm not sure I totally believe in karma. But if it does exist, Whistler residents must have led some seriously virtuous lives in the past. Know what I mean? How else does one explain the bounty of white stuff that fell on our slopes in 2012?

Think about it. From the crazy-good March skiing last winter to the snow-Nirvana that visited us this past month, Whistler has been sumptuously blessed by Ullr in the last year. I'm not complaining mind you, just pointing out an interesting phenomenon.

While other big players in the ski world — Colorado, Utah, California, most of the European Alps — struggle to make their snow last through the regular winter season, Whistler just keeps bopping along, breaking snowfall records like it was a birthright.

Take last month. Even before winter had officially made its entry, WB was reporting a cumulative snowfall of over five metres... with a base already exceeding 200 centimetres at the Pig Alley weather station! In my forty years of early-season skiing in this valley, I've never experienced such plentiful snow... or such consistently cold powder in the valley. And no matter whom I asked among long-time locals — Bob Dufour, Binty Massey, Doug Mac, Rob Boyd et al — none could come up with a bigger start to the year than this one.

I know. I know. Be careful what you write about. It could start raining tomorrow and the whole subject would be moot.

But my goal here is not to wax smug about our situation. Au contraire! I think we're not telling our story properly. In my opinion, the Coast Mountains' abundant precipitation is Whistler's principal differentiator. While there are bigger, steeper, more glamorous and/or more sophisticated mountain resorts on this planet, few (if any) can match us in the white-stuff department. Sure, there are other "deep-snow" zones out there — Hokkaido, Japan and our own Vancouver Island come to mind — but they're not really in Whistler's league when it comes to hosting destination visitors.

Still, that implies a certain responsibility on our part. This place, alas, is not for everybody. We're not just a bigger, wilder version of Aspen or Vail. We offer a fundamentally different snow experience here. Meaning? Come to Whistler with the wrong expectations and you'll be sorely disappointed with your visit...

Which begs a fundamental question. Why the heck does Tourism Whistler continue to dwell on sunny-sky shots and cloudless pics in its promotional material? It's naïve and counter-productive — and not at all reflective of the kind of tourists who will appreciate (and enjoy!) our unique attributes.

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