Unpacking the fridges of a post-modern renaissance man 

On the shelves with Stephen Vogler

click to enlarge Stephen Vogler What's in my fridge
  • Stephen Vogler What's in my fridge

You know it's going to be a good ride when the proponent of a "What's in your fridge?" column says right off the bat — and pretty excitedly — "it's a disaster!"

But that was the whole point (ahem): to check out the assumption it would be curiouser and curiouser to unpack the fridge of Mr. Point himself, Stephen Vogler.

Stephen is like the "h" in "Whistler." Not flashy, but integral to it. To see what I mean, check out his latest book, Tales of Whistler, which I, and I think Stephen, too, is fairly proud to report was banned from B.C. Ferries because of its cover. It features nude skiers' "tails" — what else?

"It's kind of a memoir of growing up in this strange and bizarre town, starting with my experience living here in the '70s with my family when there were 500 people," he says.

Son of Betty, now 73, who still lives in Alpine Meadows and skis 40, maybe 50 times a year, and of Heinz — builder of homes and fine furniture, ace glider pilot, stonemason, welder, aircraft mechanic and the original renaissance man in the family who managed the building maintenance on Whistler Mountain for what seemed like forever before passing away in 2010; brother to sister, Vicky, and to Peter, also a musician and post-modern renaissance-type man, Stephen, in his current incarnation, is a writer, musician and arts activist who's the driving force behind the artist-run centre known as The Point.

Located where the old youth hostel used to be on the west side of Alta Lake before it moved uptown to its posh digs as part of the Olympic legacy, The Point, like Stephen, occupies an unequivocal locus at the centre of what many of us like to think of as The Real Whistler. That would be Whistler before it went uptown.

Thank God some authentic vestiges remain, like the funky main lodge from which The Point hosts everything from creative writing workshops to live theatre staged like the inimitable French dessert île flottante. In this case the stage floats on the water as the meringues float on a lake of crème anglaise. Audience members sit on the beach and enjoy, as attentive as diners with dessert spoons poised.

Here on what was once called Harrop's Point, since Bert Harrop built the first lodge here, then Cypress Point or, simply, The Point, Stephen lives with his twin 16-year-old daughters, Melissa and Katie, and his wife, Peggy, who's just taken over the Vancouver icon her dad started, Aphrodite's Organic Café and Pie Shop on Fourth Avenue.

The family has been living in one or another of the little cabins — and I mean little; the first one was 500 sq. ft. — since son Jonathan was born 19 years ago. (He's off globetrotting right now, maybe in Cambodia or Laos.)

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