Telling Whistler's tales to the world 

Fifth and final installment of Whistler Stories delivers tale of the merging of two mountains

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WFF organizers made a list of almost 20 different topics they were hoping to cover.

"The last one's actually the one about Hugh and Joe, that was one that I really wanted to do," Hardy Mishaw said.

She was so keen to have that story told that she actually approached local filmmaker Jim Budge to see if he would be interested in the project.

"That was a story that only a few people could tell well."

Budge started working with this cutting-edge technology (VHS) almost 30 years ago while bartending in Kamloops. He moved to Whistler in 1981 after he caught word that Blackcomb was opening.

"I came and saw Whistler in October and there was nobody here and there was a dusting of snow on the peaks, and I just immediately fell in love with it," he recalled.

He also had timing on his side: he was the first guy in town with experience with video and soon began working with the mountains shooting ski races and lessons, carving out a niche for his business, Long Run Video Productions. Over his years in the community, he's accumulated 100 of hours of archived footage, which came in handy when working on this latest film for the festival. That, coupled with his long-term working relationship with Whistler Blackcomb made Budge the obvious choice for the project.

WFF organizers first approached Budge about the project in the summer, but he initially declined because he was working on another big project for Whistler Blackcomb.

"But as they described what they wanted, I kind of thought it wouldn't make sense for anyone else to do it because I knew Hugh and Joe and I had all the footage, too, from that era."

He was finally talked into doing the project, and he, Filipenko and another filmmaker, Chris Smith, quickly got down to work on what he describes as the "labour of love."

"It shows that Whistler isn't just this corporate ski town, designed and built," Budge said. "It had growing pains and it had challenges and it had guys that stuck their necks out and had big dreams and big visions."

The filmmakers eventually managed to get Houssian and Smythe to sit down together (actually, in Dusty's during off-season, when it was closed to the public) for an interview.

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