Tag Archives: archives

Snowboarding’s History Needs Your Help!

People generally think of archives as big collections of dusty old stuff, but that’s only partially true. For starters, they’re generally kept impeccably clean so that their collections can be preserved in perpetuity. But what I was getting at is that we forget about the constant passing of time. Archives (ours included) are constantly on the hunt for artifacts and documents that will be of historical significance for future generations. Such considerations generally are not front of mind with all you non-archivists out there who are too busy living in the present.

Snowboarding is the perfect example. The profound influence that snowboarding has had on skiing (and beyond) over the last few decades is indisputable. But until recently, there were only a handful of individuals that were concerned with preserving the sport’s heritage for future generations. Thankfully, more and more individuals are showing interest in the snowboarding’s roots.

One way we are working to increase our snowboarding  content here at the Whistler Museum  is Monday’s Whistler Debates event “Has the Snowboard Industry Sold Out?” (full details available here). We’re pretty excited to hear what everyone has to say. 

Obviously it’s a pretty contentious question, even the concept of “selling out” is pretty hard to define for most. One thing that’s for sure, the debaters will have to draw on the history of snowboarding, it’s origins and where it came from, to effectively argue whether or not the industry has “sold out” and given up on its core values (however defined). Regardless of what side ends up winning the argument, we’re sure to get an entertaining and informative discussion that sheds light on the past, present and future of snowboarding.

When we were preparing for the event it became strikingly clear just how absent snowboarding is from our archives. We have an old Prior snowboard, some 2010 Olympic memorabilia (gear, uniforms, etc) donated by Sea-to-Sky athletes like Maelle Ricker, Justin Lamoureux & Tyler Mosher, and a few dozen aesthetic but non-descript photos in our archives.

Right now, according to our archives, this is the history of snowboarding. Help us fix this. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS

Right now, according to our archives, this is the history of snowboarding. Help us fix this. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS

This is clearly unsatisfactory. Even moreso because this fall we will be completely revamping out permanent exhibits here at the museum, with almost half our space being dedicated to new displays portraying the history of skiing (and snowboarding) here in Whistler.

We don’t want snowboarding to get short shrift, so here it is: Snowboarders, we want your stuff! If we want to properly represent the history of snowboarding in Whistler–and there’s no denying that snowboarding has been hugely influential on Whistler’s development, and vice versa–we need historic gear, photos, clothing, race bibs, and any other artifacts and documents that shine light on this story. Check your closets, attics, crawl spaces, or mom’s basement. We know this stuff is out there. And we promise to take better care of it than you do!

If you’ve got stuff to donate, get in touch with our Collections Manager Brad: archives[at]whistlermuseum[dot]org

For those who are interested in brushing up on their snowboarding history, thankfully there’s been a ton of great online video content produced in the last few years. Good starting points include Vice Magazine’s “Powder & Rails” series, Push.ca’s “Living Legends” series, and this video produced by Whistler-Blackcomb a few years ago, featuring local shred legends including Graham Turner, one of Monday’s debaters:

Hope to see you all on Monday, and for those of you in Whistler, have fun at the rest of the WSSF events as well!

“For Those Tired of Questions…”

Usually, if you’re looking for a laugh, you don’t seek out your local newspaper. Of course, as we’ve made clear over and over again in this space, Whistler is no ordinary town. We’re blessed with more out-of-the-boxers, more trixsters, and more contrarians per capita than most small towns, and their presence has coloured our history remarkably.

Back in 1977 a group of free-thinking  and creative souls began publishing the Whistler Answer. In its first iteration the Answer ran until 1982, and it made a short revival in 1992-1993. The Answer provided an alternative voice for a growing community full of ski bums, squatters, hippies, and other counter-cultural types. Even its title was irreverent, a playful response to the Whistler Question, the only serious local paper at the time.

The Answer’s content was witty, creative and cherished by (almost) all who were around to read the originals. Few publications could have managed to fit in so much censor-maddening drugs, nudity and profanity while maintaining such a consistently hilarious and good-natured tone.

The first cover of the Whistler Answer, launched April 1st 1977.

The first cover of the Whistler Answer, launched April 1st 1977.

 With that said, we are extremely excited to announce the launch of the Whistler Museum’s latest on-line exhibit, the full digitization of both runs of the Answer, Whistler’s original underground newspaper. It can be found at www.whistlermuseum.org/whistleranswer, or from anywhere on our main website under the “Exhibits” drop-down menu simply click on “Whistler Answer.”

While it often featured stories that weren’t covered elsewhere, due to its heavy satire and quirky record-keeping the Answer’s main historic value stems less from its recorded facts than from its expression of the spirit of the times. The Answer provides a window into the oft-reminisced “Old Whistler,” an idyllic era that pre-dates our valley’s hyper-development and fast-paced urban atmosphere.

The guerilla newspaper’s content was inherently iconoclastic and irreverent, and when we look back upon that era in Whistler’s history, quite often the youthful, free spirit of the “ski bum” community is considered just as important as the more conventional historic figures: politicians, developers, business leaders, and so on. A core element of Whistler’s historical narrative is that many of the rebellious, counter-cultural youth went on to fill these more “serious” roles in later years.

With the benefits of hindsight one can see the extent to which those counter-cultural elements that the Answer represented actually became the mainstream in Whistler. With that in mind, a playful browse of the Answer catalogue is perfect fodder to debate whether Whistler’s free spirit is truly long-gone, or alive and well.

Hard-hitting journalism, December 1992.

Hard-hitting journalism, December 1992.

Either way, times have clearly changed. Consider how the Whistler Answer is now digitized, text-searchable, tablet-friendly, and has been given a permanent on-line home, but the original 1977-82 run was hand-drawn, hand-lettered and hand-pasted by the light of kerosene lamps in a local squat. That, in its own right, is an apt summary of Whistler’s mind-numbing rate of change in recent decades.

The original idea to digitize the Answer was born from a conversation between Whistler Museum staff and original Whistler Answer editor Charlie Doyle in 2011. Funding for the project was generously provided by the University of British Columbia’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, as part of their British Columbia History Digitization Program.

Freestyle Fitness Flashback

Skiing is here! As exciting as that is, it’s painfully obvious to some of us that we’re just not ready. The extended patio season we enjoyed was great while it lasted, but how it now lingers on our waistlines, not so great.

Everyone’s talking fitness. All the local gyms and trainers are hawking their get-fit-quick schemes, but let’s face it: in this drive-thru, on-line world people have become slow and soft. So where better to look for fitness tips than the old school, when everything in life was harder, especially the muscles?

Fret not. We’ve scoured our collections and found some retro ski manuals with  some fitness tips from the heyday of freestyle. They’re certain to have you schralping the slopes in style, pirhouetting around your panting pals. Here we’ve compiled the 5 most essential training techniques that we gathered from our archival research, free for your benefit:

Tip #1: First off, it’s essential to do your ski workouts ON SNOW.

Do the knee press so you ski best.

Working out in a cushy, climate-controlled gym just won’t cut it. To get maximum ski performance out of our bodies, we need to train them in the appropriate environment. Too cold?  Tough.


Tip #2: Fundamentals. Before you dial-in your double corks, you need to learn how to do a proper helicopter. Muscle memory is key, repetition is your friend.

Forget that junk about leading spins with your head. It doesn’t matter how hard you force it, with a proper track suit every trick will look buttery smooth.

Tip #3: Strength is over-rated. Too many athletes-in-training neglect flexibility. Develop a well-rounded stretching program and stick to it. A good rule of thumb: the more uncomfortable and ridiculous the stretch feels, the more ridiculous and uncomfortable it looks.

Limber up to throw down.



Tip #5: Proper turn technique is way tougher in a full-body cast. Practice falling like a Hollywood stuntman and you’ll be shrugging off your yardsales as if they’re the latest hot trick.

Break dance or break yourself.

BONUS TIP!: We all know that in reality skiing is little more than a fancy, convoluted mating ritual. So work on your kip-ups. They never fail to impress the opposite sex at apres.

For bonus points, try this move on the GLC bannister.

So ignore what your personal trainer has to say about interval training, vo2, anaerobic threshold, and all that jazz. This isn’t rocket science. With these 6 simple rules and a little ol’ school gusto, you’ll charge harder, ski longer and be the envy of your crew. As the saying goes, “first call, last chair!”

Missing Question Issues for Whistler Museum Collection


The Collections Department has also been endeavouring to complete the museum’s collection of Whistler Question issues.  At this point we are missing quite a few.  If anyone out there has any of the issues on our list that are in good condition we would be more then happy to take them off your hands.  If you would like a copy of the list you can email us at collectionassistant@whistlermuseum.org

Missing Question issues from the Whistler Museum collection

1976: Apr. 28, June 2

1978: Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Mar. 8, Mar. 22

1991: Feb. 2

1994: Aug. 4

1995: Dec. 25

1996: Jan. 1, Dec. 26

1997: Jan. 2

1999: Aug. 31

2001: Aug. 30, Oct. 11, Dec. 6

2002: Dec. 19

2004: Mar. 4

2005: Jan. 6, Sept. 8

2006: Feb. 9/2006

2007: Feb. 8, July 5

2008: Jan. 3, Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, Mar. 6, Mar. 13, Mar. 20, Mar. 27, Apr. 3, Apr. 10, Apr. 17, Apr. 24, May 1, May 8, June 5

2009: Jan. 1, Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Apr. 2, May 28, June 4, Dec. 10

2010: Aug. 12, Nov. 4, Nov. 25

2012: June 14, June 21