Flashing Back – Through 14 Daze of Whistler’s “Golden Era”
“I feel like people are shitting on Whistler these days,” says Dana Flahr over the thumping bass at the year-end Hot Dog party. “But I’m convinced that this place is in a Golden Era right now.”
A quick survey of the dancefloor confirms his claim.
Everyone’s dressed in their parents’ old ski gear. Neon’s splashed everywhere.
Hot Dog Fever has taken hold.
And the only way to cure it is to rock the fuck out.
The morning before, on April 22nd, a lot of those same hotdoggers were punctuating their season with (possibly) the season’s last adventures in mid-winter conditions.
Serratus got shredded:
The Asian Pussy got ridden:
Some unnamed Pembertonian monster got slain by a band of snowmobile mountaineers:
Tracks were laid down the face of Mount Awesome:
And a ruggedly handsome man flew his speedwing right down the guts of DOA:
For my own part, I blasted a few late season pow slashes within the comfort of the resort, got drunk in the sun and fell asleep on the couch at 8:37pm.
Two days earlier, roughly 25 of us raced to the top of Blackcomb Peak in honour of Maxim Arsenault, a local skier whose death absolutely rattled the local community two years ago.
Beers were crushed on the peak and a few joints were rolled in the gusty conditions of an incoming storm.
Max was definitely laughing at us all for not having a fleet of pre-rolled turbo sticks, especially on April 20th.
“Max would have had six rolled up, lined up like soldiers,” said Andrew Bradley.
We all agreed, and we crowed at the ravens to let them know.
And then, for the second time that week, we party-shredded DOA in honour of a friend, then celebrated with a few drinks at the HandleBar.
About 30 hours earlier, three friends and I were coordinating our movements while climbing the face of Mount Fee.
If we climbed “synchro”, we seemed to knock a lot less chunks on each others’ heads.
We stopped just shy of the summit.
“I don’t want to be da Jerry who falls down Mount Fee da wrong side,” said Cedric Landry while strapping into his snowboard up top.
The clouds, they came in. And the snow, it wasn’t great.
So we rode slowly, like old men, so that we wouldn’t tomahawk down the face, across the lower cliff band, and onto the flats below.
Mission accomplished, we got Brad Slack to the hair salon for 4:15…
He wanted to look fresh for the father-daughter dance that night.
Four days earlier, at about 3:23 on Sunday morning, we wrapped up the World Ski And Snowboard Festival at The End Party, an all-night rave where a real live wizard roamed freely through the crowd.
He was rumoured to have been one of the DJs who played earlier that night.
But I can only assume he was also responsible for the 14-day pow cycle that we’d been enjoying so much.
Either way, it was our friend Dwayne Wolkowski’s 40th birthday, so it was only natural that we went boardin’ all day, and then raved with a wizard all night.
The night was proceeded by a real action-packed day on the slopes:
Our posse of birthday shredders opened things up with a sunlit lap down Spanky’s Ladder.
And then finished with an eight-person party shred down DOA.
Some good stuff happened in between:
Our friend Nick Dobson, who’s been sidelined by a janky human spine, made his triumphant return to the slopes.
Our other friend, Jeff Slack, dropped into the modern-day revamp of the Saudan Couloir Extreme.
We were there and oh how we cheered:
“When I say BUTT, you say SLAM.”
Our cheers, of course, were drowned out when Chef broke the speed of sound.
That was one helluva Saturday, and it was preceded by one helluva Friday.
It was a sleeper pow day (thanks mountain biking!) followed by a night of drinking beers and watching ski movies the WSSF Intersection filmmaking competition.
What a fabulous combination!
In the three nights before that, my bartending job kept me away from the Pro Photographer Showdown, the 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown and Multiplicity (in reverse order respectively).
I also missed the JP Auclair Memorial quarterpipe session, where Chris Turpin put down The Handiest Plant.
And that’s a real bummer, man, because all of those events—whether they’re organized by a larger entity or through word-of-mouth amongst friends—really cast light on “The Golden Era” that Dana was talking about at the Hot Dog party.
Especially when those events are mixed in with reasonable avalanche stability, cold smoky pow and two relatively empty, world-class ski resorts.
Sure this place isn’t without its problems (just ask everyone who likes commenting on the internet), but the core community of people who still live here is burning brighter than it ever has.
Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re living in The Glory Daze until they’re over.
And these are just glimpses from our extended crew, an ever-growing like-minded posse of pow hounds who really like riding down DOA.
But the same kinda radness was happening for everyone else who calls this place home.
And for anyone who happened to be visiting during that epic, two-week stint.
Whistler is its own little universe of continually exploding awesomeness.
A strangely-connected universe that never stops doing its thing.
Huge Thanks to everyone who contributed photos and an even huger thanks to all of the humans who make this place as rad as it is.