February 19, 2010 Features & Images » Feature Story

Walking the talk 

Whistler athletes represent in Whistler style


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But seriously. Whistler athletes are a different breed. Inspired by the likes of Diamond Jim McConkey and Maraharishi Yogi Mur, they bring an air of festivity to their sporting endeavours that truly distinguishes them from other mountain denizens.

And it really doesn't matter in what part of the world you find yourself. From Chamonix to La Grave, from La Parva to Portillo - from Aspen and Vail to Snowbird and Stowe - Whistler ambassadors have left an indelible mark in the warp and weave of the snowsliding tapestry...

Doubt my words? Consider this: the Sea to Sky corridor counts more legitimate medal hopes at this year's Winter Games than many of the attending countries. From McIvor and Murray in ski cross to Ricker and Fagan in snowboardcross; from Osborne Paradis in downhill to Michael Janyk in slalom and Justin Lamoureux in halfpipe - Canada has never seen this kind of quality representation from one community before. Indeed, there are few towns in the world - no matter how big they are - that can muster this type of Olympic talent in a given year.

But then there are few towns in the world like Whistler...

We all know the story of its beginnings. Born on the wings of an Olympic dream, Whistler is finally living up to its destiny. Biggest mountain resort in North America. Leading light in the New School ski movement. Crossroads of the snowsport universe. Host to the world. Home of the Games. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But what most people don't know is just how much this thing called "Whistler culture" reflects the original tenets of Baron De Coubertin's Olympic philosophy. Long before there was a town centre here, decades before a Whistler address carried a million dollar price tag, young folk were drawn to this valley to pursue a life that sought to integrate nature, sport and work in a more balanced whole. Unconventional, irreverent and talented beyond the norm, the newcomers created a way of doing things - and a positive, go-for-it attitude - that is now recognized and celebrated around the world.

Whether Olympism, Whistlerism or just good ol' Funhogism, that approach to life is now seeing its own results in the ways the kids who were born and/or raised in this valley approach sporting performance. Their names are recognizable to even the most casual of Whistler followers: Murray and Barr and Allison and Nicoll; Dixon and Pehota and Petersen and Pro. Following in the footsteps of their moms and dads, these Whistlerites-de-souche are raising the performance bar yet again. One can only wonder just how high that bar can go...

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