Mike Truelove has welded thousands of mountain bike frames (over 1,000 for Chromag alone!) and, though some things stay the same, seen a lot of changes along the way. We are very excited to be joined by Mike this month to learn more about the bikes we ride and the evolution of mountain bike design!
Event begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 ($5 for Museum or Club Shred members) and are available at the Whistler Museum or over the phone at 604-932-2019.
There will be limited tickets available for in-person Speaker Series in accordance with the capacity of the Whistler Museum. Speaker Series events will also be streamed live – contact us to register for the livestream at 604-932-2019 or events @ whistlermuseum.org.
Despite skiers and snowboarders charging down the mountain together today, there was a time when single-plankers were strictly not allowed. Skier complaints and safety concerns resulted in both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain remaining closed to snowboarders until the late 80s. Snowboarders were forced to ride smaller undeveloped hills, head to the backcountry, or hike up the mountain while avoiding the watchful eye of mountain staff.
The acceptance of snowboarding was slow because of the perception that snowboarders were dangerous, uncontrolled and uncivilised. The laid-back alternative lifestyle of snowboarders often clashed with that of skiers, and it was not uncommon for skiers to hurl disdain at snowboarders when they were finally allowed on the mountain.
Early snowboarders to Whistler tell stories about being spat on, chased by snowcats, and getting shovels thrown at them. As Ken Achenbach remarked, “We were called menaces to society, it was wicked man”. All a snowboarder had to do to grind the gears of some skiers was wake up in the morning. Even Hugh Smythe, Blackcomb General Manager, was derided when the decision was made to welcome snowboarders to Blackcomb for the 1987/88 season.
Special rules for snowboarders in resort areas were commonplace at this time. In some resorts, before they were allowed on the lifts, snowboarders had to agree not to use foul language. Similar to many East Coast resorts, Blackcomb went a step further. Unlike skiers, snowboarders were initially required to pass a proficiency test to be licenced to ride Blackcomb. The test cost around the price of a day pass and snowboarders had to prove they could turn both ways and stop safely. A certificate was presented upon passing which allowed the recipient to load the lifts with their board.
Aerials were also originally banned on Blackcomb, with lift tickets confiscated from those who dared leave the ground. Blackcomb was a popular freestyle mountain but riders were required to keep an eye out for patrol when practicing for fear of losing their passes.
It may be hard to believe in the age of triple cork 1440s, but all inverted aerials were initially also banned in snowboard competitions due to concerns over spinal cord injuries. It was not unusual for professional snowboarders to deliberately disqualify themselves in competitions by pulling inverted aerials, including the crippler, in protest of this rule. The rules were eventually changed to prevent medals being awarded only to those who followed the rules and showcased the tamest tricks.
As a new sport, the snowboarding community in Whistler was small and tight-knit. Being so outnumbered, snowboarders would instantly be best buds with anyone else riding a board. This did not last long however; snowboarding was the fastest growing sport in the 1990s and despite the growth slowing, the community today is so big there is no way anyone could know every snowboarder on the mountain.
For more on the history of snowboarding, join us for our first in-person event for 2022. In this Whistler Museum Speaker Series we will be talking about the history of snowboarding in Whistler with local snowboarding legends Ken Achenbach and Graham Turner.
The event begins at 7 pm on Monday the 28th of March. Tickets are $10 ($5 for museum members) and are available at the Whistler Museum. We look forward to seeing you there!
We won’t be hosting our annual Kids Après at the museum this year, so (like last year), we’re making it possible to take some of the museum experience home! Our Kids Après Activity Book shares some of the stories from our exhibits alongside colouring pages, trivia, mazes and more that the whole family can enjoy.
For the Family Day Weekend (February 18 – 21), we’ll be creating more Family Day Kids Après Packages that will include an Activity Book and the supplies for two Kids Après crafts. We will be posting craft videos (similar to the craft videos created by our amazing students over the past two summers for Crafts in the Park) online here on February 18 so that you can craft along with us at your convenience at home.
Family Day Kids Après Packages are free and will be available at the museum from 11 am Friday, February 18. Please note that packages will not include scissors, glue or colouring supplies. If you do not have these, please contact us.
The 29th annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is right around the corner! This week of January 23 – 30, 2022 will be chock-full of events dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and fun. Coinciding with this year’s festivities, the museum is pleased to announce the launch of a new temporary exhibit titled Pride & Progress: From the Grassroots Altitude to the Fearless Whistler Pride and Ski Festival.
Opening to the public this evening, Tuesday, January 25, 2022, the exhibit will take visitors through a visual and descriptive history of Whistler Pride.
The challenges and triumphs leading up to the world-renown festival we know today weave a fascinating narrative. The story begins in 1992, when Altitude – as it was known then – covertly hosted around seventy participants for a gay ski week at Whistler Mountain. From these humble beginnings, the festival continued to grow, welcoming more guests and hosting increasingly renowned performers with each year, all the while working to create a safe space for the LGBTQ2s+ community in our mountain town.
The story of Whistler Pride wouldn’t be complete without an exploration of the relationship between the LGBTQ2S+ community and mountain sports. Centering on Pride House, the LGBTQ2S+ pavilion established during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games was a beacon of courage, visibility, and support for queer athletes to be their authentic selves. As the struggle for acceptance continues, this section of the exhibit invites visitors to reflect on the presence of homophobia in sport, and the importance of safe spaces to create awareness and encourage important conversations.
The exhibit will also feature artifacts, photographs, and films from the past 29 years of the festival in its various forms that will give insight to these historic Pride events. Thanks to Dean Nelson, former festival director (2008 – 2018), for donating many of the artifacts and archival materials being used for the exhibit.
We’re also happy to announce that our extensive collection of Whistler Pride records and materials have now been officially catalogued, rehoused, and published on our online database. Here you can find descriptions on various events, promotions, photographs, and audiovisuals to name a few. Please browse through at your leisure for more information on the history of the festival.
We will be celebrating opening night of Pride & Progress: From the Grassroots Altitude to the Fearless Whistler Pride and Ski Festival on this evening, January 25, 2022 with evening hours from 6 to 9 pm. We will also be open from 11 am – 5 pm on Wednesday, January 26. As ever, entry is by donation and masks are required for all visitors to the museum – we hope to see you all here! Otherwise, the exhibit will be on display during our normal operating hours until April 19, 2022.
Not quite ready for an in-person visit? Our 2021 Speaker Series conversation with Dean Nelson is also available to watch on our YouTube channel here.
Chris Monaghan is the assistant archivist at the Whistler Museum and Archives. He has been here on a Young Canada Works contract through the fall and winter.