rainy biz 

By Amy Fendley The total rainfall in Whistler for June was 45.3 mm. The average, based on 20 years of data according to Environment Canada, is 51.9 mm. But to get technical, Whistler was more dreary in June than it was rainy. Whistlerites saw only 136.3 hours of sunlight in June, 83 hours short of the average. June’s average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius was .5 degrees cooler than usual. And despite the 25 cm of snow that fell on Blackcomb and Whistler mountains last Friday night, there were just under 7,000 people in town enjoying the ski resort conditions. John Leeden, an employee at the Biggest Little Shirt House in Whistler, has been a little disappointed with the weather. The store is stocked full of T-shirts, tanks, shorts, and various other summer wear, but the inventory is frozen. What is selling are snowboard jackets. Three sales within a few hours of each other left Leeden shocked. Mike Saden, owner of Wedge Rafting, also says that business has been good. "Surprisingly we’ve been really busy," says Saden. "Our numbers stayed strong and we’re doing really well. It’s been a strong June and we’re very happy with how the season’s going." It seems that no matter how much it rains, some people still want to go rafting and fishing. "It has been slow, very slow," says Tim Chernoff of Whistler Backcountry Adventures. "Our fishing trips keep busy and the ATVing, people still go in the rain. But the past two days (Monday and Tuesday) with sun, business has picked up ten-fold, it’s crazy. The rain keeps people cooped up, but it’s good now." Or is it. The rain has since returned, and more precipitation is forecast for the remainder of the week. Whistler Sailing’s Chris Manuel says it’s been beautiful weather — for ducks. "Business was down 90 per cent of what was expected for the long weekend," says Manuel. "I say thank you to the creditors who are waiting for the sunshine to be paid. But I think it is premature to say it’s a lousy summer. Last year was a great summer, but it didn’t start until July. We just had more sunny days leading up to it. I’ll trade in a rainy day in June for a sunny day in July any year." Grey and green to blue and green and back again, golfers can be as picky about their shirt and pant co-ordinates as they are about the conditions in which they play the game. Patrick Bowers, director of golf operations at the Whistler Golf Course, says it’s not the rain that has kept golfers away, it’s the cold weather. But despite the overall number of rounds being down, Bowers says they had a successful month of June in the retail shop. "Our retail shop has been busy. People just don’t want to freeze their hands or get rained on," says Bowers. "The sun wasn’t visible for more than an hour since June 12, until yesterday (Monday). Our numbers are definitely down compared to last year, but not to ’97." Bowers says the course has been quiet the past few weeks, but that’s fine because it has allowed them the chance to complete $200,000 worth of capital improvements on the course’s bunkers, all 45 of them. "The weather has allowed us the room to make large scale improvements to the course without interrupting people’s game," says Bowers. "The improvements will change the visibility as well as the play of the bunkers. We also put in 39 new drains, so when it rains, water will drain quicker. "I really think that Whistler needs to learn is how to insulate itself from inclement weather." There is hope left for July and August, as Bowers says the Whistler Golf Course is "well booked." And according to the Farmer’s Almanac long range forecast, good weather has been booked for both this month and August.


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