The sweet smell of strippers 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STX FINANCING LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - uncovered Hustlers, about a crew of ex-strippers, opens this week.
  • Photo courtesy of STX Financing LLC all rights reserved
  • uncovered Hustlers, about a crew of ex-strippers, opens this week.

I only know a few things about strippers, but one of them is that they are very good at separating a person from their money. The other is that they smell phenomenal.

It was early January 2000 and, like most of Whistler, the crew and I were headed to Las Vegas to drink vodka-Red Bulls and walk around in circles hobnobbing at the annual snow industry trade show. We were hoping to raise funds for our first ski movie. I didn't even have enough cash to pay for the trip.

Walking into the Royal Bank, I noticed there were ketchup bottles everywhere. "What's up with these?" I asked the teller.

"It's ketchup on your RRSPs month!"

"I need to take $1,000 out of mine," I replied. "I'm going to Vegas."

This was not the answer she was looking for, but I was 23 at the time and not convinced RRSPs were going to be any good at all when the government collapsed and the world started to end. Vegas seemed like a wiser call.

Upon landing, that thousand bucks lasted almost eight hours. Our hotel was mellow (as legit gangster rap aficionados we stayed at the Maxim, where Tupac was shot) but everywhere else was a shit show and renting a limo seemed like the best option to save time.

After that, someone, it might have been the limo driver, suggested the Crazy Horse 2, and a few (let the record show: a few, not all) of us thought that sounded OK—any strip bar good enough to have a sequel seemed worth checking out.

It was, in a "pinch-me-is-this-real?" kind of way. The girls were very kind and they smelled delicious. The secret, we learned, is in the combination of scents. It's not one perfume or cream, but rather the way your moisturizer compliments your shampoo, body wash, deodorant and more. It's a bouquet.

And there went my thousand bucks worth of RRSPs, on Night 1 of five. As my buddy Mikey said on the ride home at 6 a.m., "Well, we arrived in a limo and we left in a cab."

To be fair, we ate dinner with some of that money—beef dip and chicken fingers, extra ketchup.

The reason I bring it up is because Hustlers opens this week at the Whistler Village 8. It's based on a true story and stars Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You) Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee) and Jennifer Lopez (Out of Sight) as a gang of ex-strippers who weather the economic meltdown by running a brilliant-until-it-wasn't heist scam on rich, mostly douchey, Wall Street dudes.

As a true crime picture, Hustlers plays out well, but the real magic here comes from the performances (Lopez is already generating Oscar buzz) and the fresh direction from Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler), who brings nuance and humanity to the story and subject matter. (It shouldn't have been hard to figure out that women would be better at making movies about strippers than men, but apparently it's taken this long.) Hustlers is definitely worth cashing some RRSPs in for. My buddies and I didn't pick up any ski movie sponsors in Vegas (Chili got a bunch of free socks though) but we somehow managed to make that ski flick anyhow, despite losing our good friend Brett Carlson in a road gap accident along the way.

Brett's legacy is being immortalized with a lounge and shotski in the brand new Kees and Claire Hut up at Russet Lake.

The grand opening of that incredible hut project takes place Saturday, Sept. 21, with a ribbon cutting up at the hut and an afterparty at the conference centre where Arc'teryx will premiere their latest film The Spearhead.

You should come. I don't think there will be strippers, but stranger things have happened (and if Johnny Thrash shows up anything is possible...).

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