Servants of the snow 

It’s a dream job, not a snowjob, with WB’s Snow Phone team

click to enlarge Jan Tindle measures snow depth at Pig Alley weather station on Whistler Mountain, collecting information for the daily weather report and Snow Phone update. The first update is at 6 a.m.
  • Jan Tindle measures snow depth at Pig Alley weather station on Whistler Mountain, collecting information for the daily weather report and Snow Phone update. The first update is at 6 a.m.

“Good morning, skiers and riders! This is Whistler-Blackcomb with your 6 a.m. weather report.”

When George Strombolopolous, of CBC’s The Hour, was handed the snow-phone script for an impromptu guest voice-over last December, he slipped easily into the role, working through the key details and ad-libbing exhortations to dress warm and get pumped, like the broadcasting veteran he is. One take. Locked and loaded. And 10,000 people were armed with the most current weather conditions available. At least for the next two hours.

The number is programmed into the muscle memory of our dialling fingers. 604-932-4211. We’ve been dialling it already in preparation. It’s the most fun you can have in Whistler without spending any money. There’s that little start of pleasure, the rush of blood to the toes, when a voice responds — the voice that triggers fantasies of faceshots and cold smoke, the narrator of our snow-porn dreams. “We’re only nine days away from Opening Day and the countdown is on”.

We’re all marking time together, like the crowd at a concert, barely registering the opening act, twitching and tapping our feet in anticipation of the headliner. The main event. Snow.

Fan club membership is mandatory if you want to be the voice of winter.

Says Whistler-Blackcomb’s Public Relations and Communications Supervisor, Tabetha Boot, about her new recruits to the snow phone gig, “The bottom line is that they have to have a passion for skiing and riding, and understand why snow is so important.”

And they do.

Alex Hearn first skied at the age of 6, and has had a season pass ever since. That first day after the drive up from Langley she checked in at Whistler Kids to the same building she now clocks in at 5 a.m.

Keen rider? Check. Morning person? Double-check. She doesn’t even drink coffee.

Her colleague and tag-teamer, Jeff Neal, will take the caffeine, but the thought of being in the mountains, instead of downtown Toronto, is enough to launch him out of bed each day. “I love snow. I live for it. One of the things I brought here with me from home is a sign my mom gave me that says ‘Will work for snow.’”

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