Category Archives: Recreation

Biking Through the Decades

We’ve got a few more videos today!  We are currently planning our 3rd annual Whistler Mountain Bike Heritage Week, so what better way to get into the mindset than looking through some footage and photos from the 1980s and 90s?

First up is a video of mountain biking on Blackcomb Mountain from 1988.  It looks a little different than the biking that happens in the bike park today.

Klunkers to Crankworx is a slideshow put together by the Whistler Museum for Crankworx in 2012 showing the progression of the sport from the 1970s.

Our last video for today comes from the 1995 Cactus Cup.  This footage also doubles as an advertisement for Whistler Village as it was in the 1990s.

We’ll be making more announcements about Whistler Mountain Bike Heritage Week in the next few weeks!

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This Week In Photos: April 19

One thing the archives of the Whistler Question proves is that there is always something happening in town, from ski races to performances to the Mountain House Jock Contest.

1978

We’re not sure which race is happening here but this racer is keeping warm on the course.

Jamie T. packing the competitors back up the course for another run.

A reminder to take caution when machines not operating?

One of the two cars that did not make it home up the Lorimer Road hill during the past week.

1980

Technicians at work inside the new BC Telephone Whistler office.

Customer Service Manager David Coath explains the system to Mayor Pat Carleton, while Brian Gilhooley & Rick Hyde listen in.

CHEERS! Vuarnets, beer and sunshine – Bonnie Campbell, Connie Smith, Helen Bartlett, Jan Haldimand, Nigel Woods and Jim Bradley enjoy the sunshine last weekend.

McConkey Cup competitor heads down the course in the ladies division of this fun race on Tuesday, April 15. Full results next week.

1981

It was a skiing Bunny up on Blackcomb Easter Sunday passing out eggs (no, not frozen ones) to mini-skiers.

At the Mountain House Cabaret, the Doc worked his magic once again for Whistlerites for six straight nights. Remember him way back when? Biminis? The Ankor?

Even stacked these should look familiar to anyone who has walked through the Village.

Now you see it – now you don’t. The cornice in Blackcomb Bowl was blasted off on schedule Easter Sunday before it fell of its own accord on some unfortunate skier.

Brand new Adam Smythe, the youngest pass holder on Blackcomb Mountain, shares a look with his mom Debbie.

Debris and ashes are all that remain after the Manson cabin burned to the ground Good Friday. A large flat metal sheet was once a 100-gallon propane tank that exploded and then was flattened after the blast.

1982

Jocks took to the floor Monday night to compete in the Mountain House Jock Contest. Pascal Tiphine took first prize and won a trip to Hawaii.

New Whistler Resident, Ken Wesman.

Whistler Creek’s Penny Wright displays the T-shirt given to her and worn by her staff at a party put on at the Creekhouse by Penny on April 15 for all her helpers.

Brent Harley of the Creekhouse shows the ins and outs of bartending to some of his 18 students as classes wind down in the six-week session.

1983

The Silver Streak cut quite a swath through the crowds on Whistler Mountain Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17. He made himself popular with the after-ski hoards outside the Longhorn by offering cash in exchange for drinking feats. The Longhorn staff say he bought 500 “Kamikazes” (vodka and lime juice shooters) to distribute over the afternoon and evening.

Soloists Tami Casey (the woman at the well) and Bruce Smith (Peter) mourn the death of Christ during the Squamish Youth Chorale’s successful production of the The Day He Wore My Crown stages at Myrtle Philip School Saturday, April 16.

Head flipper Tom McKoy serves up food hot off the grill at the top of Whistler Mountain every fine day at the Ski Inn at the junction of the Orange and Black chairs.

Just try it! This magnificent Bentley was maneuvered into a convenient parking stall in Village Square Sunday, April 17 and since it was a no parking zone, Payless Towing was called to the rescue. The tow truck driver decided it was best not to touch the classy chasis… but the brazen owner did get a ticket.

You put your right foot in… Debbie Gurlach (far right) leads her jazz dance class through a routine Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 at Myrtle Philip School. (L-R) Jan Alsop, Jennifer Marien and Kenny Melamed follow the leader.

Donna Hauschka (left) registers voters for the May 5 election. Debby O’Hanley of Whistler and David and Jimmy Wong of Richmond sign up for their right to vote.

1984

The Bedrock Allstars rocked the Brass Rail last week with their tunes. Keyboard player Bob Muckle and guitarist David Osborne comprise the duet and are based in Vancouver.

Caboose 1836 rolled into Whistler last Tuesday and was promptly lifted off the BC Rail track onto an abandoned sidetrack at the Sabre Trucking yard at Mons. Once refurbished the caboose becomes the new home of the Chamber of Commerce Information Centre. The Chamber purchased the old car at the bargain basement price of $1,500.

Jane Brandon and Eric Wight were the winners this year in the Valley Championship Series held on Blackcomb.

After just eight months managing 76-room Tantalus Lodge, Hugo and Giselle Stam were chosen over 49 other hotels in the US and Canada as Mangers of 1983-84. The award was presented in Bellevue, Washington at an awards banquet April 6. Hotels were judged in five areas: service, congenial staff, cleanliness, hospitality and letters from guests. The secret, say Hugo and Giselle, is teamwork. Having operated their own hotel in Europe for 12 years, and being involved in the hospitality industry for most of their lives, they see hospitality as an attitude, and hotel management as a people-oriented business. And, Giselle adds, without the help of their sons Hugo Jr. and Roger, things would be a lot harder. But before they embark on a summer outdoors tour program a trip to Hawaii is on Giselle and Hugo’s agenda. The trip is part of the Managers award, presented by Marketing Plus Corporation of Bellevue.

Air Travel to Alta Lake

For most of the year floatplanes overhead are a common sight (and sound) above Whistler.  Today, these planes land and take off from Green Lake – an everyday occurrence.  But in the 1920s floatplanes were an adventurous way to arrive at Alta Lake.

The first record of a floatplane landing on Alta Lake was on August 31, 1922.  While floatplanes were not a common mode of transport, a fair number did arrive and take off from the lake.

The first plane to land on Alta Lake, flown by Earl Leslie MacLeod.

In 2011, Betty Jane (BJ) Warner (nee Matheson) shared her memory of a floatplane landing on Alta Lake in the late 1920s.  She was only four or five years old at the time.

The Matheson children and their mother spent the summers of 1927 to 1934 at a cabin on the south end of Alta Lake.  Betty Jane’s father Robert Matheson stayed in Vancouver to work but sent up letters and supplies, most notably marshmallows.  The cabin was rented from William “Mac” MacDermott and Mac became a close friend to the family.  In the summers he chopped their firewood, checked the oil in the lamps, did general repairs when needed and went hiking with the Matheson siblings Jack, Claudia and Betty Jane; in winter he would spend Christmas Day with the Matheson family in Vancouver.

Mac, Mollie Stephenson and Lena Hanson at the cabin on Singing Pass en route to Red Mountain.

One day, Mac had taken Jack hiking, Claudia was reading n the shade and Betty Jane was paddling by the shore of Alta Lake with the young maid who came to keep an eye on her.  What happened next is best said in Betty Jane’s own words.

Suddenly, a loud thunderous sound and something deafening roared across the sky.  It reached the far end of the lake, seemed suspended, turned, then menacingly approached us, skimming the water like a giant torpedo.  It came lower and lower and as it became closer caused all about us to vibrate and rumble.

I was terrified and along with Evelyn (the maid) and the dog we fled into the cabin, followed by my mother, who, fearful of an overhead crash, ordered us to protect ourselves under a huge canvas that covered our woodpile.

It was my father, of course, and his pilot friend who chose that day to surprise his young family on what was, proudly for him, his first flight… What a let-down it must have been for him to be met by the dismal sigh of his terrified children huddled under a tarp and an upset wife, tearful and near fainting, scolding him for traveling in such a dangerous contraption.  My brother missed it all.

This was the first time Betty Jane had ever seen an airplane, a memory that remained with her for over eight decades.  As she recalled, “The Space Age was upon us, but to this young person the marvel of it all was the gigantic tin of Moonlight Marshmallows that came with it.”

This Week In Photos: April 12

The photos we share through This Week In Photos are only a very small part of the Whistler Question Collection.  The full collection can be viewed online here.  If you see a photo you love, photos from our collections can be purchased, either online or by contacting our Collections Manager John Alexander, and certain sizes can even be printed for you at the museum!

1980

A bird’s eye view of Creekside.

And a fly-over view of the Whistler Village, or what there is of it so far.

Somebody was spending a lot of time in a helicopter this week – here they flew over Cheakamus Lake amid the mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

BC Tel and BCR towers on the west bluff of the Black Tusk.

WORM’S EYE VIEW of the new drugstore and office building in the town centre. This building should be one of the first to be finished this summer.

Question Editor’s Assistant BJ (Brad) Cooper.

1981

Nancy Greene-Raine takes to the polls April 11 with help from Pat McMillan.

Joe Cannon, with his personality-plus, gave the Question this comment on life during his April 10 show at the Brass Rail. His flexible voice worked its way masterfully around tunes from Bob Dylan to Gordon Lightfoot to Elvis the Pelvis. Cannon has quite a remarkable way with audiences, not to mention photographers.

The Municipal Hall on a snowy, windy day.

Mrs Turner’s class thanks Mr Strathers after their field trip to the drugstore.

A class also took a trip to visit the local RCMP detachment.

1982

Michell Brown and Doug Smith hold up the Price Waterhouse Trophy, which they won in junior skiing competition at Blackcomb Mountain on Sunday.

Some Whistler residents could do with a few lessons in tidiness and cooperation. This scene at the Mons garbage compactor tells a story.

The latest development in the Cheakamus Canyon project is the diversion which carries vehicles through the rock cut rather than around one of the most dangerous corners on Highway 99.

The Mountainside Inn has come a long way from the pouring of its foundations,

A friendly game of charades is played out in someone’s living room.

1983

A gift of two mountains was presented to Washington Governor John Spellman (right) by Mayor Mark Angus (second from right) during his tour of Whistler last week. Washington hopes to develop its Early Winters Resort. Governor Spellman was accompanied by Senator Alan Bluechel (left), Mrs Jeanne Erlichmann Bluechel and Mrs Irene Spellman.

Mountain Square buildings in various stages of construction. Some hotels are missing, giving a clear view through to Sundial Crescent.

First place winners in the Mouton Cadet Spring Festival held April 9, 10, 11 on Whistler Mountain. (l to r) Dave Murray, Nancy Smith, Jim Parsons, Toby Shale. Back row Xavier deEizaguirre of Mountain Rothschild and Werner Schonberger, president of Featherstone & Co.

An innovative storage system for the Mouton Cadet atop the mountain.

Alta Lake Live

We love to share the photos we have in our collections, but did you know that we also have a huge collection of video footage?  Not all of it has been digitized, and even less is currently available online, but we hope to remedy this in the future.

Today we’re sharing four films of Alta Lake from the Petersen Collection that show the lake in different years and seasons.

Up first is a film from around 1960 showing skaters on the frozen lake.  With a game of hockey going on, it looks a lot like winters on Alta Lake today.

While we have many photos of sail boats on Alta Lake most of them are black and white.  This film captures the sails in all their colourful glory.  Taken during a regatta, this footage may just be of the Alta Lake Sailing Club’s first “Regretta”.

Another film of boating, this time from 1970, gives a closer view of some of the cabins and other means of transportation along the shore.  As a bonus, the film also includes footage of the PGE moving a building from the side of the railroad tracks.

Last, but certainly not least, we have footage from the 1974 Regatta hosted by the Alta Lake Sailing Club.  Based out of Dick Fairhurst’s Cypress Lodge, the location may seem familiar to those who sail on Alta Lake today.  The full day event included a tug-o-war, pie eating contest, sailing (of course) and more.

Other films available online can be viewed here.  We hope to add more soon!

This Week In Photos: April 5

Depending on the year, the photos from each week of the Whistler Question Collection show a very different side of Whistler.  Some weeks are dominated by photos of skiing and resort events (like Labatt’s World Cup Freestyle this week in 1980) while others demonstrate a community similar to many other small towns (think an Easter egg hunt and the completion of a new playground).

1980

Scott Brooksbank shows fine form in the men’s ski ballet portion of Labatt’s World Cup Freestyle event.

Stephanie Sloan shows her ballet style on a socked-in Saturday competition.

Combined champion Hedy Garhammer thanks the crowd while runners-up Janice Reid and Lauralee Bowie stand by.

A competitor flips over the aerials portion of the event.

1981

Getting ready for a toast to the newlyweds! (Can anyone identify the newlyweds?)

New smiling face at the Whistler Post Office – Barbara Jennings sorts the mail.

Kristi King and Garth Leyshon head out from Whistler on their way to Squamish.

Man and dog pose at the Whistler Vale Hotel.

 Pat and Kay Carleton enjoy a toast from the goblets given to them at a surprise party on April 3 to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

The new snow on Blackcomb provides a pleasing backdrop to the Whistler Village plaza.

1982

The Walk-A-Thon from Mt. Currie to Vancouver in support of a Youth Centre passes through Whistler.

Hundreds of kids showed up for special treats courtesy of E. Bunny on Blackcomb Sunday. despite heavy snowfall.

Whistler Mountain Ski School instructors hand out certificates and prizes following an Easter race.

Yummy in the tummy! Alyssa Wilson, 3, enjoys Easter treats the bunny brought to the schoolyard Easter morning.

Not even a blizzard on Easter Sunday kept kids from using the new Adventures Playground, recently completed at a total cost of $3,624.11.

1983

A sure sign of spring – Connie Kutyn decks out Whistler Village in its finest banners designed by Suzanne Wilson and Penny Domries. Banners tell the story of Whistler’s theme “Summer Side of the Mountain”.

A brand new surrey with a fringe on top is the latest addition to Mountain Carriage Tour Co. Visitors may enjoy an old-fashioned ride through town.

Ears to you, said this creative skier – one of the many who paraded on the mountains in Easter finery, or funnery.

This strange aquatic being was pulled from the depths of Green Lake on Saturday, April 2. Mons Towing driver Denver Snider hooks up the stolen van that the RCMP frogman discovered. The van had been stolen from Burnaby, stripped and pushed into the lake.

Only place a man can get away from it all… Trevor Weakley, originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, took a three-day tour of Whistler with friends and unfurled the kiwi colours in the full Easter sun.

E. Bunny delighted hundreds of kids in the annual egg hunt at Myrtle Philip School.

Patricia Fennell turned up Sunday in her finest Easter bonnet.

1984

You know spring is definitely here when Tapley’s A’s start their annual tryouts.

With the Whistler Valley Housing Society’s 20-unit project at the gondola base near completion, potential renters had a chance Thursday and Friday to see what they’ll get. Another open house is set for this Saturday afternoon.

Whistler’s Gourmet Club met for yet another Epicurean celebration Saturday. Members of the five-year-old club were treated to a six-course (not to mention many rounds of hot saki) Japanese meal prepared by this month’s hosts Ted Nebbeling and Jan Holbery. The club tucks in together once a month, and has sampled the cuisine of just about every country on the globe. Left to right are: Ted Nebbeling, Judy Grant, Doug Schull, Laurie Vance, Jan Holberg, Lance Fletcher, Buffy and Nigel Woods, Drew Meredith, Judy Fletcher, Mike Vance, Jan Simpson, Peter Grand and Wendy Meredith.

Celebrating Whistler’s World Cup Downhill Races

Historically, in the month of March, Whistler would be hosting a World Cup Downhill event.  Up to 500 weasel workers would be working 12-hour days preparing the racecourse, installing safety nets and removing and moving snow throughout the course.  These volunteers were as important to the success of the event as the downhill racers themselves.

Thousands of ski-race fans would descend on Whistler, filling up hotels and making reservations a necessity to eat at many of the world-class restaurants in Whistler Village.  Pubs and bars would be full to capacity and the village would be enshrouded in a party-like atmosphere for close to two weeks.

Whistler attempted to host its first World Cup race on March 7, 1979.  Due to weather, the race was cancelled.  Three years later, in 1982, Whistler successfully hosted the World Cup Downhill event.  This race took place on a course on the north side of Whistler and its finish was in the newly completed Whistler Village.

Peter Müller of Switzerland finished in first place and two Crazy Canucks, Steve Podborski and Dave Irwin, finished second and third, respectively.  The 1982 race was capped off with a huge celebration because Podborski tied Müller for the overall Downhill World Cup title.

Thousands upon thousands of spectators jam Whistler Village Square for the World Cup presentations.  Whistler Question Collection, 1982.

This would be the only race held on this course.  Racers complained the north side course was too flat and Müller even joked that he should bring his cross-country skis to the next one.  The downhill course was moved back to the south-side course and every other World Cup Downhill race held in Whistler was held on this course.  The racecourse was later renamed after Crazy Canuck Dave Murray, who succumbed to cancer in 1990.

Whistler hosted the World Cup Downhill event again in 1984 and two years later in 1986.  In 1989, Rob Boyd became the first Canadian to win a World Cup race on home soil.  If you ask many Whistlerites here at the time, they can tell you where they were when Boyd crossed the finish line.

Local boy Rob Boyd atop the podium, 25 February 1989. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS.

Prior to the Olympic Games hosted in 2010, the last successful Downhill Men’s event was held in 1995.

From 1996 to 1998, the FIS moved the North American stops to earlier in the race season, leading to three consecutive cancellations of the Whistler stop on the World Cup circuit due to snow and weather conditions.

Will Whistler host another World Cup Downhill race?  Or will it be an event that only appears in Whistler’s past?