MUCH has been written about the somewhat typically typecast image that most have of the huge partying group of individuals that depart their homes around the ‘Greater Vancouver’ area of Surrey (a town in it’s own right) and in excessively large numbers, all seemingly descend upon Whistler for a weekend of depraved debauchery on what is known as ‘May long weekend’, or Victoria weekend.
While the locals try to avoid being in these parts at all costs, unless work dictates otherwise, everyone else is travelling north up towards our cozy little spot to let off some serious steam. You might argue it’s a catch 22 situation – The resort and businesses want the money through their cash registrars, but no-one really wants the unwanted attention, idiocy and sheer disrespective behaviour that it brings with it. Is it our own fault for letting Whistler develop this ‘party town’ reputation over the years? The powers that be have been making some serious attempts at promoting the resort as family friendly, but I wouldn’t suggest that this long weekend just past is exactly suitable for families at times. Not something that Whistler will be proud of. Granted, it can be hard to undo a reputation that was built and engrained into the mountains after a few decades of travelling ‘hippies and carefree hardened skiers travelling to this Mecca and all too often, simply hanging around and placing down roots.
It was what this town was built on and believe me when I say that the type of character that travelled up for this long weekend is not someone that we wish to see – unless returning as much more respectful and mature adults.
It’s hard to believe that these guys behave this way in and around their own neighbourhoods, so why treat us all like something they stepped in and thoroughly abuse us. It’s this author’s opinion that the Whistler municipality needs to do much more strategic planning alongside the various hoteliers, stores and bars and engaging the help of the RCMP (police) and everyone that can assist. I’m still waiting to hear the full ‘fall out’ from this weekend as the news from around the hotels and resort can take a little while to spill out as often some of the distasteful behaviour is preferred to be kept under wraps. I wonder what kind of impact it would have on the youngest of these crowds if all of the hotels were to increase their minimum age requirements up along with reasonable price increases for this weekend. It might still not be enough to deter many of them (we’re not talking abut shooting ourselves in the foot here, but merely a thought of removing some of the problem demographic), but at least we may have a ‘slightly’ more mature crowd and additional revenue to police, control and clean up this mess.
If you assume that this demographic will continue to travel to our part of the world to party hard and cause mayhem this weekend in the coming years, I for one would seriously consider tackling the issue from within. Could we not imbed the message from within their own town and neighbourhood that anyone travelling can expect a zero -tolerance policy and anyone who hasn’t got a reservation in their name should expect to be turned away with their names passed onto their local RCMP? This may make the odd group reconsider the idea of travelling….
Now, aside from this rather degenerative group of distasteful characters, there was much to enjoy if one could escape from the village. The now famous downhill bike park opened its doors, or rather its chair lifts to the world once again and was sampled by many. Yes, it was a tad slippery and muddy in places, but those out there evidently had a lot of pearly whites grinning through their slightly muddies faces. Those longstanding ursine residents are frequenting the Whistler valley and gracing us with their presence ever more often. I swear, I sore one cross the road just outside my patio a couple of days back and I caught myself smiling some half hour later.
Despite my earlier protestations about having the best of both worlds, the summer traffic (and season) is gradually beginning to turn and although business is on the whole, still a wee bit slow, there is a momentum. It shouldn’t be long now before the hoards of crowds coming to rock and roll their way through the challenging trails in the bike park and swamping the bike rental stores. The patios should begin to see some serious action, especially if the weather holds good and a sure sign that summer is with us is the start of the impending volley ball season.
So as we look toward another long weekend (yes, there are rather a lot of them celebrated around these parts!), US weekend this time, we can all breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that no matter had bad things were last week, this weekend will pale into comparison. This could prove to be a great weekend in the sun….if only the nightly rental unit above ours doesn’t manage to let it to a group of partygoers who have no concern for those around them….again!
Adios folks and have a great weekend.