Ashley McMillan blog: I guess this means it’s time to get busy again....?

SO I thought last weekend was the ‘unofficial’ start to our summer, given that the kids huge adventure zone (designed for hours of fun and I’m positive, to specifically wear the young guns out on their parents behalf) opened along with the ever increasingly popular ‘Farmers Market’ – Love that!.

Turns out this weekend is going to hit us all with something of a bang. The town’s hotel beds are likely to be near full as we welcome everyone into resort taking part in what is promised to be the very successful ‘Tough Mudder’ event being staged up in the Whistler Olympic Park (where the cross country, biathlon and ski jumping events took place). This event has proved a major hit across many countries and is a 12 mile obstacle course borne out of the British Special Forces design, so you know it’s going to be a grind – The clue is all in the title I guess! Whatever it is, it’s apparently already a hit even before its taken place. Though to have around 15 thousand participants over two days, these participants will hit our mountains to take part in this new event to Whistler and I guess the feedback will dictate if it and the crowds come back for more next year.

One event certain to bring in a slightly smaller crowd is the equally, if not more, challenging 25 (ish) km trail run known simply as ‘Comfortably Numb’ - I’ll leave the rest to your imagination! This is a very tricky and technical trail where being focused and paying attention to every step is key as the constant loose rocks and roots claim a few each and every year, including yours truly last year. Most will get away with the odd spill, but some will knock themselves up a bit, trip once or twice, perhaps twist an ankle…

It’s not that bad at all really, but just a real solid, technical trail run that has become something of a ‘classic’ date on the running community calendar for this part of British Columbia. Gutted I won’t be running though owing to a niggling injury as this is a truly beautiful race I’d recommend to anyone.

As if our winter skiing and riding season isn’t already one of the longest around, we’re about to open Blackcomb Mountain glacier for another month of summer glacier skiing. Used by hundreds and hundreds of kids and youths coming into town specifically for camps, this also provides an opportunity for those still wishing to get a few more spring / summer skiing turns in.

The hours up there for it are short, the terrain is tiny in comparison to the ‘usual’ amount available during winter, but for many, this is a great chance to practise in the parks, get great (but very dodgy) goggle tans and have a few more days ‘fix’ before finally being able to get back up there for ‘real’ again in mid-November. So for anyone wondering, that’s somewhere between 8-9 months of possible skiing if one wanted. Doesn’t leave much room for summer now does it!

So back to summer then! When exactly is that again? So far June has proved it to be little but something of a washout. Not wholly unusual to be a tad damp in June, but I think we all rightly expected a bit more vitamin D by this point. Are we being unreasonable? We have an amazing playground here. Stunning scenery, amazing landscapes and mother nature at it’s beautiful best…but could we sample it in slightly sunnier, drier conditions please? Even the bears have gone running for cover of late.

With the impending crowds due to hit our place in the sky, this influx of tourists and adventure seekers also means a sharp increase in the number of ‘new hires’ in town and about time too! The work is intensifying for those in the customer service industry and true to their tried and tested form, no employer ever truly hires and trains their staff before the ‘busy’ seasons, so we always go through the often rough and bumpy transition into our hectic seasons a little overwhelmed, still short handed or training new staff as we go.

Wouldn’t it be nice to approach these days all ready and prepped before we get to being busy and overstretched…just for once! Welcome to the daily ‘grind’ that is life in Whistler – always a little different and a tad less organised than most everywhere, but hardly any stress anywhere to be seen.

I guess this piece shouldn’t pass without at least a slightly rousing fanfare to peak the attention of any England fan who’s glued in anticipation to the ‘box’ as Euro 2012 unfolds. Be honest now. Did you honestly believe that England would get through the group stage, eh? Really? No doubts at all? Well, they’re darn well riding their luck now and roll on Sunday to see if England’s finest can do everyone proud with 3 lions pinned firmly to their torso. Have a little faith and who knows – 90 minutes later and the bars around the country, no doubt already benefiting from a run of form in this championship, could be full of celebratory spirit (and beer and wine…).

Altogether now, time for a rendition of Skinner and Baddiel’s Euro 98 “Three Lions On A Shirt…”