Volunteers unite... it's the time of the Iron Workers 

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Welcome, Ironpeople. So good of all you to drop by for the weekend. For our part, we're closing the highway after you're all here and we've doubled down on good weather so nobody begins to rust.

I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank each and every one of you for coming up this weekend to help us launch the first Whistler Ironman... uh... thing. Those of you with an astute sense of geography will immediately notice you are not in Penticton anymore. They apparently decided your franchise was a bit too expensive. We, on the other hand, have hosted the Olympics so we have absolutely no idea what too expensive means. If you find this hard to believe, just ride your bikes up the side of Blackcomb until you come to the Whistler Sliding Centre; it pretty much embodies the concept.

Many of you may have heard Whistler is a world-class ski resort. I've certainly heard that. But other than meaning you can enjoy reasonable hotel rates and really good deals on condos that largely haven't been used since April, it's probably not that important to you right now. What may be of greater significance is the fact that — are we alone? I'd hate for this to get out — Whistler is one kickass summer resort. Come to think of it, that's probably not very important to you either; like you have time to relax.

Really though, we're down with summer sports. We bike, we swim, we run, perhaps not obsessively but we also party, and that we most definitely do obsessively. It's one of the reasons we're distinctly qualified to host your... uh... thing. RMI funds are another reason but there's no need to get into that. And closing the highway, we've got a lot of experience with closing the highway. We did it for the Olympics; we do it for the Fondo, more or less, and several times each winter we do it because silly people have forgotten how to drive on snow or failed to grasp the importance of having tires with tread left on them.

But perhaps more important than all that is the fact we really, really enjoy throwing a good party. It's to be expected when you visit a town where most of the residents believe Animal House was a documentary. As Whistler approaches buildout — I don't have the space to explain and I doubt if you have the interest to hear what exactly that means — we're getting very picky about just who we let live here. There are interviews to be passed and tests to be taken. Without such measures, we'd never be able to achieve the levels of volunteerism needed to throw the kinds of parties the world has come to expect of us. It was in Whistler, if one wishes to be historically accurate, that the term Indentured Volunteer was actually coined.

Everyone in Whistler volunteers — it's mandatory. Truth be known, there are no real jobs in Whistler, just volunteer positions. People who work at the mountains, for example, get ski passes, credits at the company stores — which now include, well, all of them — and food baskets personally arranged by Dave Brownlie on a weekly basis. People who "own" small businesses barter goods with other business owners and "donate" what would normally be considered profits by most businessmen, to worthy local causes, like Scouts and Crankworx. Big ticket items, like cars, just sort of naturally trickle down through the population as corporate sponsors forget they brought them up here for events; they just kind of knock around town until the wheels fall off.


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