Posted by: PPHR | February 3, 2010

Local Life

Transformation

Being a member of the sizeable portion of Whistler’s population who came out here for three months —well over a decade ago, I can say that I’ve seen many changes occur in this town. I feel like a grizzled old WW I veteran when I find myself saying things like, “Back in MYYY day, the village stopped at Village Gate Blvd. I remember playing soccer with Rob Boyd on a field where The Cascade Lodge now stands…Now git off my lawn! You young whipper snappers, with your long hair and your rock & roll music…” Heck, when I got out here, there was no Whistler/Blackcomb, it was Whistler vs. Blackcomb.

Then, in the mid to late 90’s, the village began to expand like Oprah in one of her binge periods, slowly but surely getting bigger & bigger. For several years you couldn’t look around at the majestic, forested mountains without seeing a forest of construction cranes looming over the rooftops. This seemingly never ending growth was due to the incredible success that the resort had worked so hard to enjoy in the nineties, and was likely a large part of why the Vancouver/Whistler bid was selected to host the 2010 Olympics/Paralympics. (Looking at the current snow pack of Cypress mountain vs. Whistler mountain, I’m pretty sure VANOC is breathing a sigh of relief that they included Whistler in the bid.)

But of all the changes to the town that I’ve witnessed over the years, none were so amazing as what I’ve seen in just the last few weeks. If only for the speed in which these recent changes have occurred. In just a few weeks I’ve seen a large two story building spring up in the parking lot where the media centre will be, traffic routes & patterns have changed to accommodate both security needs and the expected increase in people, stages are sprouting up throughout the town, our regular Heli skiing & ski patrol choppers are now joined by military security choppers circling over head, and there are swarms of “Smurfs” wandering around in their blue Olympic volunteer jackets.

After many long years of planning and preparing, it is finally getting close to crunch time for the big event. All the plans are finally coming together, and here in town we’re finally starting to get the sense that the fabled “2010” beast is actually going to materialize in our small village, and take centre stage for the world for a few weeks. Hopefully, the beast will soar like an eagle, rather than perform like “Eddie the eagle”. (A brave British man who gained worldwide recognition at Calgary’s 1988 winter Olympics, primarily for being spectacularly under qualified as a ski jumper.)

While there are a certain amount of protesters out there who will eagerly be shouting for any attention they can get, there is simply no denying that the Olympics are coming in less than two weeks (!) and there’s no stopping it. Whenever a beast as large as the Olympics lands in an area, it leaves an impact. One that we all hope will be a positive one with many lasting legacies. After watching this beast grow up for nearly a decade, and knowing that it is a primary reason why the village was founded in the first place, I, for one, am very keen to see how it all plays out.

I have already mentioned how amazed I was at some of the rapid transformations I have seen in this town over the next few weeks, I am even more curious to see what sort of lasting transformations are left when the beast moves on. Thinking of how Vancouver grew up after Expo ’86, I am optimistic…

Pete Crutchfield, Night Manager

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