An Eastbournian Abroad with Ashley McMillan: A mere week in ‘The Bubble’ and a visit from ‘Shaun of the Dead’

Another frenetic week in this part of British Columbia. This week sees Winter Pride in town. This is a truly unique celebration of diversity in what has now become an annual gay and lesbian ski week here in town.

It brings crowds into the village, into the hotels, restaurants and bars and helps generate a steady income flow into Whistler. Of course, for those of you who may remember, Whistler 2010 was the holder of the first ‘Gay Pride House and was celebrated along with the likes of Austria House, Switzerland House and Norwegian House (say nothing of Canada House of course!)

Following the ‘Olympic theme’, the ‘Celebration Plaza’ is set to re-open to celebrate the one year anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic games and there will be festivities abound throughout the village for this coming weekend, with small staged concerts, street performers, family friendly activities such as free horse drawn sleigh rides, etc. These celebrations will also be echoed down in Vancouver who were of course our co-hosts during those dizzy days of frazzled but oh so memorable behaviour that most of us only managed to see through on pure adrenalin last year as we soaked up all the visiting world could throw at us.

Rather disdainfully, there has been a ‘blot’ in Whistler’s copy book this week as some news was leaked to the press regarding the handling of some behind the scenes business with a local adventure company. This company has provided many, many great activities for thousands of people to enjoy, speak nothing of the hundreds of individuals on its payroll over time. However, they are now under investigation for some unfortunate ‘mismanagement’ decisions. I won’t dwell on the nasty detailed subject matter as much has been written and many words published in anger right across the new world’s various media sites, such as twitter and Facebook. Needless to say, it would serve all well to see the full and accurate facts once a full investigation has been conducted before any more slandering is done and perhaps harm to Whistler’s good name.

Events are abound around here still though. There is a first in Whistler for what is known as the ‘Yeti x/c’. This is a snow shoe running event that is set to be staged in our own local ‘Olympic park’, where the cross country skiing, biathlon and ski-jumping took place during the Olympics. This will be a great opportunity to explore this beautiful setting and try your hand at a different sport we don’t always get to enjoy. Its part of a local winter ‘running’ series set across British Columbia and one which we hope comes back to Whistler year after year. For many, it the business end of serious competition and training, for others it’s a means of cross training during their ‘down months of winter running training. For most, it’s just great exercise in a beautiful setting. What more of an excuse do we need to get outdoors, eh?!

The Olympic ‘Sliding Centre’ is also trying to open its doors to officially allow the general public to try their hand at the skeleton for themselves. The ‘sliders’ will clock speeds in excess of 90 kph and get a mere taste of what some of the professionals choose to excel at. Having worked with a guy last year who actually trained and qualified to take others in a bob-sled with him (and on or two occasions actually rolled the sled – through no fault of his own I’m told, of course!), I can only imagine that this experience will draw a certain crowd to its endorphin rushed, adrenaline pumping appeal. I for one, will probably give it a miss!

As for that Shaun fellow, a certain Mr Pegg (from films such as ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘Run Fat Boy Run’ fame) has been to-ing and fro-ing across the Atlantic in recent weeks as I can only assume he is filing down in Vancouver (my guess would be the next Star Trek in the series!!). Many of some of the best films and series are often shot there these days as they prove less of a financial headache than some other venues, such as L.A. Anyways, he has been spotted and in fact even tweeting about his time down in Vancouver and his prowess on the local mountains down there as he rides his snowboard. It would appear that he had a bit of a ‘face plant’ a few weeks back as he managed to graze his nose on the mountain. Reading this on his twitter account, I had been actively encouraging him to come up and visit us and try out our ‘proper’ mountain (I apologise to any Vancouverites who may feel rather positively about the levels of snow and terrain around their beloved city). Evidently he made it up to Whistler this past week and I trust he got away with his face in tact! I guess they’re not working him too hard in the studios with all this boarding he seems to be getting in! Who knows, perhaps whilst filming is still going on, we may see Mr Pegg around these parts again!