An Eastbournian Abroad with Ashley McMillan: May long weekend rowdiness and the changing of the seasons

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Another year down and another year of the frenetically busy and loud May long weekend here in Whistler has thankfully passed us by. This past weekend is actually know as ‘Victoria Day’ long weekend and typically spells the cutting loose of the winter shackles for most Canadians as they take this long weekend to celebrate ‘hard’ and ‘give her all she’s got’!

This has always been a tricky weekend here in Whistler as many, many individuals from Vancouver and their surrounding suburbs take it upon themselves to escape up to Whistler and go wild. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is truly out in force in and around the local Sea to Sky area that connects Vancouver city and us here in Whistler. I heard of many vehicles being pulled over at police stops prior to them reaching the village and their young drivers having their car boots full of liquor emptied and removed from them.

It is unfortunate perhaps that the typical stereotype that sends a shiver down any local’s spine is one of a young adult from around Vancouver and loaded with more money than sense. However, these stereotypes just keep on coming! It’s a little ridiculous at times to see the amount of 18-21 year olds arriving in ‘their’ BMW’s, Porches, Mercedes, Subaru’s, etc, etc. The question is, where does there money come from – Easy one! Mom and Pop! Thanks folks for empowering your kids with too much money and too many material objects that they have no appreciation of and causes them to behave like complete brats with no respect for others around them! Nice job!

Now, all this said, given some of the stories heard (and borne witness to) from previous years’ disturbances (which do nothing to represent the favourable general behaviour throughout our welcoming town), it appears at this stage of the weekend ‘mop-up’, that other than the ‘standard’ police fines handed out for drinking on the streets in public, the weekend went without too much of a hitch.

It’s a shame really that so many find it necessary to descend upon us here for this weekend just to party to excess. There are still so many other visitors to town, generally here to relax with family and friends and who, occasionally, can be offended by the odd drunken, disrespectful idiot. I for one don’t find it especially amusing to see litter and beer cans, etc strewn across some of the roadsides and discarded off their rented balconies. Apart from being disrespectful, at this time of year it only serves to unnecessarily encourage the local bears to foray further toward us.

So having written all this – does this just mean that this particular author is just getting old??!! Wasn’t there a time when this guy used to party pretty hard? I’d like to think that perhaps I had a bit more respect for others around me…bah humbug!

So clearly not everyone in town is here to pour copious amounts of alcohol down their throats. There are now many visitors who are rolling almost daily into our village, having experienced a trip on a beautiful scenic trip through the mountains on the train. They take the 2.5 hour trip, get to spend a few hours with us up here wandering around and taking in as much of the sights as possible (all clearly distinguishable by their names tags they’ve chosen to adorn their clothing with for some reason!!) in their allotted time before slipping away back down on this stunning train ride.

If they’re lucky now, they may get to see the odd black bear or two. They’re about alright. Since returning to these parts a few weeks back, I now see a bear almost every day whilst out and about on my runs around the valley. There are a few cubs and some very small ‘yearlings’ around, who quite frankly need a good feed.

Others will come to see out the last few days to ski or ride on Blackcomb Mountain which officially closes its operation on May 30th (Other than for Glacier ski camps held in July). This coming weekend will also see the re-opening of the Whistler gondola and the infamous ‘Peak to Peak’ gondola, which traverses the valley and links both Whistler and Blackcomb mountain allowing easy access and spectacular views. This officially marks the arrival of sightseeing and summer hiking – albeit that there won’t realistically be any hiking for a few months until some of the huge amount of snow up there is either removed or dissipates (the latter will only happen if the summer weather actually truly arrives as well!!).

For most here though, the seasonal activity change has already been made. Yes, there are some fantastic goggle tans about, but these will slowly go as many turn their thoughts to biking as many, many trails are cleared of snow and are in fantastic shape. I’ve come across a good many enjoying a group game or two of ‘disc hockey’, the golf courses are being trodden by a fair few already as they share the fairways and greens with the emerging bears.

As much as Whistler is known for its winter magic, I think I speak fairly for most here when I say that we are now looking forward to warmer, drier months ahead. Winter here is spectacular, but long. The summer is usually longed for and very welcome. Speaking as someone who came here for the winter and fell in love with the summers, this is my favourite time of the year we’re rapidly heading into.

Now, having allowed myself to seep into this local spirit and community over the last few years, I can’t let this article go without a brief mention of the fact that the local Vancouver ice hockey team – the Canucks, has just landed a very well deserved spot in the NHL final for the first time in 17 years. The coveted Stanley Cup could be coming our way very soon and one thing I can promise is that each game will be very well watched, cheered and every goal celebrated from all around this village. Go Canucks, go!