Whistler Classics awarded at WinterStart 

Recognition for work behind the scenes

The four long-time locals who were presented with Whistler Classic Awards at the WinterStart Opening Ceremonies on Dec. 7 weren’t looking for recognition, they just earned it.

"What the criteria is, we award people whose contribution to the Whistler Community has enhanced the quality of life here, and it’s often people who do that from a unique perspective, sometimes they’re in the background," says Maureen Douglas, who helped to organize the WinterStart events.

The names are picked by an anonymous group of locals that are representative of the community.

This year’s Classic Award winners were Patti O’Reilly, Jim Monahan, Alison Hunter, and Pique co-founder/editor Bob Barnett.

Patti O’Reilly’s list of achievements is extraordinary, says Douglas. "It’s unbelievable what Patti’s done. We knew she was a volunteer for a tonne of different things, from (the Parent Advisory Council) to the high school, to community services – she even started some of these organizations, but even as the mayor’s wife she sits in the background."

O’Reilly volunteers for her ski pass, and volunteers for her golf pass "because she wants to contribute to the community, and she does it in a very quiet way."

Jim Monahan is a sports writer for the Whistler Question who was recognized for his dedicated coverage of sports and athletes in Whistler. "He’s been writing about the big guys and the little guys, he’s helped with minor hockey and a lot of junior sports for years," says Douglas.

Alison Hunter has been a driving force behind the arts scene in Whistler, and sits on the arts council. She also formed the Whistler Children’s Choir a decade ago "with just a smattering of kids," says Douglas, "and now there are 75 kids in the choir." The choir has been invited to Ottawa to sing at Parliament Hill on Canada Day next summer.

"It’s growing in leaps and bounds. She’s just made a huge commitment to youth and children in town, as well as trying to make arts a bigger part of life in Whistler."

Bob Barnett has been editor of Pique Newsmagazine since the beginning, over seven years ago. Before that he was editor of the Question.

"Bob’s been here forever," says Douglas. "He’s worked in the background for so long and where he and Kathy (Barnett) have taken the Pique is extraordinary."

A former high-performance skier, he has been a Weasel worker and Weasel captain at races in town. G.D. Maxwell, who presented Barnett with the award, called him "the conscience of Whistler."

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