Tag Archives: Doc Fingers

Welcoming Fall to Whistler

In may technically still be (and at times even feel) like summer, but for many people the beginning of September signals the beginning of fall.  While many people will have spent this weekend celebrating a certain beverage at the Whistler Beer Festival, in the 1980s this past weekend would have featured a celebration of the upcoming season with the Whistler Fall Festival.

The Fall Festival was first organized by the Whistler Resort Association (WRA, now known as Tourism Whistler) in 1981.  At the time, the Whistler Village was beginning to emerge from a craze of construction and Blackcomb Mountain was looking forward to its second season of operations.  There was a lot to celebrate in Whistler and the festival featured many of the growing community’s arts, crafts, sports, and activities.

The Fall Festival also included a Paint a Snowflake contest, leaving the fences around construction sites covered in snowflakes. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Collection.

One of the local characters showcased at the Fall Festival was Willie Whistler, the new mascot of the WRA.  Willie’s name came from a “Name the Whistler Marmot” contest for children in the area in which the winner, eight-year-old Tammi Wick, won a Blackcomb season pass.  The mascot was created to promote Whistler at local and other events and the Fall Festival, which included time each day to “Meet Willie Whistler,” was his first big event.

Willie Whistler takes a ride with Bo Bo the Clown during the Fall Festival in Village Square. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Collection.

The festival also featured local artists and artisans who demonstrated their crafts in the village, including pottery, fibre spinning, stained glass, and painting.  Performers over the weekend included acts such as Evan Kemp and the Trail Riders, the Alpini Band, and local favourite Doc Fingers, as well as dance performances and Bo Bo the Clown.

For visitors and residents alike, the Fall Festival offered different ways to see the Whistler valley.  Snowgoose Transportation offered free 50 minute bus tours, showing off everything from residential areas to the gondola base in Creekside to the Blackcomb daylodge.  To see the valley from above, participants could enjoy a flight from Okanagan Helicopters, take advantage of Blackcomb Mountain’s offer of free chairlift rides, or, subject to wind conditions, go up in Chuck Bump’s hot air balloon, billed at the festival as the “World’s Largest Hot Air Balloon.”

Evan Kemp and the Trail Riders perform in Village Square. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Collection.

Perhaps not surprisingly, sports and competitions also featured prominently at the Fall Festival.  Spectators could take in volleyball, Pro/Celebrity tennis matches that paired pro players with notables from politics, business, and media, a softball game between the Whistler Contractors Association and the Whistler A’s, or even a parachuting demonstration.  For those looking to compete, the Waiters Race challenged Whistler’s servers to run a timed obstacle course without spilling a drop, and the Labatt’s Great Whistler Water Race relay covered four lakes and the River of Golden Dreams through canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and windsurfing.

A softball game was fun for participants and spectators. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Collection.

Though the Fall Festival was primarily about showcasing Whistler, it also raised money for several different causes.  On the Sunday, Whistler hosted a run as part of the first national Terry Fox Run, raising over $7,600.  The proceeds from a beer garden hosted by the Whistler Athletic Society that evening were also donated towards cancer research.

Local causes benefited as well.  The WRA donated enough funds from the Village Centre beer garden to replace the snowmobile of the Alta Lake Sports Club that had been destroyed in a fire.  Umberto Menghi, who was then opening his new restaurant Il Caminetto, contributed to the festival by both providing the firework display for the Saturday evening and hosting a gala dinner at Myrtle Philip School to benefit the Whistler Health Care Society.

If you look really closely, Chuck Bump’s balloon also featured some advertising for local restaurants. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation.

According to Glenda Bartosh of The Whistler Question, the first Fall Festival was about far more than raising money and generating revenue for the resort.  She reported that the festival “created laughter, high energy and a true appreciation of what Whistler is all about.”  The WRA must have agreed, as they continued to organize the Fall Festival for at least three more years.

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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.

This Week In Photos: March 8

One of the best part of the Whistler Question Collection is that it shows different sides of Whistler as a developing resort, including skiing, contests, parties, school events, construction and scenes of everyday life.

1979

Toni Sailer runs the Molson World Cup Downhill course on Tuesday.

Toni Sailer and Nancy Greene-Raine on the World Cup Downhill course.

A Beetle is carted out of Creekside.

One of the Tantalus Creations seamstresses at work on a vest, part of a line of custom ski wear.

1980

Construction continues in Whistler Village despite the snow on the ground.

The new Public Service building has its finishing touches added and new cells installed, currently unoccupied.

Myrtle Philip pays a visit to a class at Myrtle Philip School, sharing photos and tales of her early days in the valley.

‘Downhill’ Bill Gregory leads a group of cross country skiers down the water town hill in the Fischer Cup.

Myrtle Philip teachers & parents prepare the climbing apparatus for the PE workshop on March 8.

1981

The lineup at the bottom of Whistler Mountain looks like it could use a little more snow, or any snow at all.

It’s not the usual slalom course you see in Whistler, but that didn’t stop this group of kayakers.

The crowd gets out onto the dance floor at Club 10.

Mayor Pat Carleton (centre) congratulates Michel Segur (left) and Jean-Jacques Aaron on the opening of their new club.

How many people can you fit in one hot tub? Looks like we’re going to find out.

1982

Guide Mike Jackobson heads the pack as the powder skiers make tracks on an open slope near Bralorne.

All that remained of the lower portion of the Blackcomb skiers bridge that collapsed Saturday, March 6 injuring two.

Action! Fitness instructor Sue Worden pedals her heart out for Action BC testing Saturday, March 6 while Kevin Ponnock, fitness consultant, records pulse rate. The government-sponsored program includes flexibility training and a diet analysis so that participants can asses their fitness level.

Don Armour (seated) and Peter Zandon give the new WRA computer system a workout. The computer is a major step towards co-ordinating reservations throughout Whistler.

1983

A new sound wafted through the air of Whistler Village Saturday, March 5 thanks to Otto Baumann and his Alp horn. The horns were originally designed to call cattle home or signal nearby neighbours. Baumann, 25, a native of Lucern Switzerland, made this horn himself. It measures 12 feet in length.

At it again! Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain staff squared off for the second round (actually there’s been far more than two rounds guzzled in this competition) of their boat races.

Doc Fingers and the Gortex Blues Band kept the crowd on their feet at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit, Sunday March 6 at Bullets Cabaret. (L-R) Robin Ferrier, Doc Fingers and Jack Levin belt it out for the full house. Not shown is Ferrier’s crutch – supporting his ankle, broken March 4 scant days before the telemark racing season really gets underway.

Foot in the Door titillates the telemarkers at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit held at Bullets Cabaret Sunday. (L-R) Mark Schnaidt, Craig Barker, Charlie Doyle and Rocco Bonito helped the team net $500 toward sending the team to races in Colorado.

M. Robert Gourdin, North American sales rep for Moet et Chandon and Hennessy Cognac, topped off this $24,000 tower of Baccaret crystal glasses with a few bottles of bubbly during a special presentation at Delta Mountain Inn March 3. And how to open a bottle of champagne on such a special occasion? Why, with a Napoleonic sabre, of course.

1984

A typewriter graveyard? No, these are just a small part of the many tons of equipment, from pencils to lasers, being used for Molson World Downhill coordination.

It was a tough choice for judges at Saturday’s air band contest. The contest, held at Stumps in conjunction with the Volvo Ski Show, featured four bands. The Energy Pals, a duo, eventually won and took home two pairs of Blizzard skis. In second place were The Superbs followed by the five-member Culture Club.