Tag Archives: swimming

This Week In Photos: August 9

1978

The ski jump emerges from the forest onto Lost Lake.

Paul Burrows carries a couple cases inside Whistler’s liquor store.

Okanagan Helicopters help with the construction of the Little Red Chair on Whistler Mountain.

Sailing on Alta Lake, a popular summer pastime.

1979

The parade travels through Squamish during the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival.

Ian Moratti gets stuck into the log in the open chop.

Mike Carney (left) and his father Owen on the birling log.

The cabin built on the shores of Daisy Lake for the movie set of Strange Companions.

The 13-unit, concrete finish condominium block to be built by MacArthur for Riverina Developments at #8 Bayshores.

The Bow Helicopter Aloutte Machine after the crash.

Pemberton Information Booth, in front of the Pemberton District Library.

1980

The doors of the former Filling Station Restaurant will open again – under a new name and management. No one is saying just what the new restaurant will be like at its location next to the Whistler Creek Lodge.

Summer skiers hike up to ski down the Horstman Glacier.

A visitor to the Whistler/Pemberton area points out a feature of Nairn Falls, a scenic attraction only minutes from either town that many visitors miss.

Lost Lake south shore from two angles (see photo below) showing where a beach and picnic ground will be.

See caption above.

Swimming lessons are much more fun when you’re with a friend – and a competent instructor like this one. Lessons are on now at the Whistler Creek Lodge.

Some of the lakes on the golf course. Tees are constructed and greens are being worked on now.

1981

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream… sunbathers enjoy some of the upgrading at the old Rotary Wharf access to Alta Lake. The Municipality has brought in tons of sand and moved the Rotary wharves to the beach at Lakeside Way.

Hummingbirds take flight around the owners of Whistler’s newest gift shop (l to r) Fran Carlberg, her son Greg and daughter Lisa Knight.

Athletic Society President Roland Kentel applies a coat of paint to the Society’s first project – bleachers for the ball field behind Myrtle Philip School.

Excitement abounds at the ‘boat races’ at L’Apres Beach Party on August 6.

Geisha with a Sony – one of Roger Hale’s satirical comments on new tech society.

The Mountain Inn takes shape – precast concrete wall forms are put in place on the eight storey building.

1982

Although it only lasted three days, the BCGEU strike at the local liquor store was viewed by some imbibers as near-fatal. But liquor store staff (l to r) Rod Harris, Ian Frew, Diane De Gusserne and Allyson Edwards still maintained they had a clause that refreshes.

Steel tower pipes for Blackcomb Mountain’s new lift No. 6 lie waiting for attention in Parking Lot C. Construction is right on schedule for the $1.6 million project to be completed by November.

Swimmers set off on a mile-long swim during the Molson’s Fun Swim, which started from Wayside Park on Sunday.

Paul Clarke and Karen Edwards assemble the first of the emerald green and white signs in the municipality’s new signage program.

1983

Not quite the last spike but David Lane of Vancouver gives it all he’s got as BCR crews work on gauging the tracks at the Green River crossing 10km north of Whistler.

One of the competitors vies for position in the triangular race.

Bill Hoosen (WMSC consultant) and David Zelmer (vice president of International Land Corp.) answered questions from the public on the Blueberry Trail Estates development and shared a proposed model at the public hearing August 8.

Kevin C. Griffin, newest staff member at The Question, limbers up his fingers for the flurry of reporting that awaits him. Griffin, a native of Vancouver, is a recent graduate of Langara’s accelerated journalism program and has a B.A. in political science from UBC.

Reporters attending Monday’s press conference announcing $138 million to improve Highway 99 seized upon the opportunity to poll the reaction of Mayor Mark Angus. Whistler’s mayor later commented that although he doesn’t like to bite the hand that feeds him, he does feel that highways dept. has taken too long with past construction projects, interfering with tourist traffic to the area.

1984

Bob Lawrence, Pemberton conservation officer, holds an injured young goshawk he recently rescued. The goshawk is considered uncommon to rare in North America, and is also found in Africa, Madagascar and parts of the southwest Pacific. Adults reach a size of up to 63 cm in length.

Two separate water main projects last Wednesday caused the water to most of the village, Alta Vista and Brio to shut off from 9 am to 3 pm. Workmen from Coastal Mountain Excavations installed a water main connector to service the soon-to-be-built waterslide while a crew from Kal Sprinklers laid a water main extension to the new Municipal Hall and Village North Lands. According to engineer Doug Wylie, the lack of water resulted from a combination of the two projects and Kal Sprinklers failing to open a valve. Usually, says Wylie, there are enough loops in the water system so that if one section of the water main is turned off, water can loop through other pipes to the affected areas.

Schultz Brandt, a familiar figure around town, held his seventh annual tea party Sunday. It’s not just an ordinary tea party, though Schultz’s tea collection contains 200 varieties including 82 black teas from all over the world. In addition to his marvellous collection of teas, Schultz has a smaller but equally comprehensive assortment of teapots.

Members of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club took a swing into Lost Lake during the balmy weather last Saturday. Although it seemed we had a lot of sun last month, CBC radio weatherman John Paschal says it’s quite normal for this time of year.

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Summer Adventures of Mollie Stephenson

It’s a story everyone in Whistler has heard – young person comes to the valley to work for a season, but ends up staying a few years longer than expected.  What makes the story of Mollie Stephenson unique, however, is that she first came to the Whistler valley in the summer of 1926.

Mollie Stephenson at Rainbow Lodge, 1929. Philip Collection.

In 1924, after having graduated from Ladysmith High on Vancouver Island, Mollie moved with her parents to Victoria where her father served as the reverend at St. Saviour’s Church in Victoria West.  Mollie spent the next two years enjoying life in Victoria as a young woman, including swimming at the Crystal Garden and attending tea dances at the Empress Hotel where she and her friends would try to outdo each other at the new dance the Charleston.  As Mollie said, she adored the Flapper Age with its “beads, feathers and best of all the short skirts.”

Mollie enrolled at Normal School (what teacher college used to be called) but was unable to attend as a bad chest cold turned into bronchitis and her doctor prescribed a drier climate.  Alex and Myrtle Philip were advertising for girls to work in the dining room and Mollie left for Alta Lake in May of 1926 intending to attend Normal School in the fall.

Life at Alta Lake soon cleared Mollie’s cough and in July she transferred from the dining room to work as a wrangler and guide for the rest of the summer.  Each day she would spend 12 to 14 hours out in the forest with the 15 horses Rainbow Lodge had use of.  Trail rides were popular with Rainbow Lodge guests and Mollie would often take groups for breakfast at Lost Lake, Green Lake or near a stream.  Lam and Sam, the cooks, would pack ingredients and every rider was given a job, whether building a fire, making the coffee or preparing the pancake batter.  By the time the food was ready everyone in the group would have a hearty appetite.

A picnic during a ride included a tablecloth and china as well as jobs for every guest. Philip Collection.

When September arrived Mollie was already looking forward to her next season at Rainbow Lodge and instead of returning to Normal School in Victoria accepted a temporary job at the Uppingham School kindergarten in Oak Bay.

Mollie Stephenson pretending to ride a foal at Rainbow Lodge. Philip Collection.

By June Mollie was once again en route for Alta Lake where she found a few changes: George Thompson was now manager of Rainbow Lodge and Pearl Thompson had taken over the post office.  (Over 60 years later Mollie and George married – she was 83 and he was 90.)  Luckily George had bought the horses Mollie had previously worked with for continued use by Rainbow Lodge.  Again Mollie worked as a wrangler and guide.

Early in the season a man arrived at Rainbow Lodge asking about an abandoned copper mine.  Mollie had found the mine the previous year while exploring the trails on the mountains and offered to guide him there.  He brought in a crew and made a deal with George to use packhorses to bring in mail and supplies.  Three from Mollie’s group were picked: Danger, Ginger and Dark Devil.

While taking the horses up to the mine one day Ginger, who happened to by carrying the explosives, got caught between two trees.  Mollie had been warned by one of the PGE rail crew to be careful of any sudden blows or jolts to the packs containing the dynamite and she was terrified while working Ginger out from the trees.

Mollie arrived at the mine and recounted her harrowing adventure over lunch, proud of having gotten herself out of a dangerous situation.  What she didn’t expect, however, was for her tale to be greeted with laughter from the men at the camp.  She soon discovered that the warning of the PGE rail crewman had been a joke at her expense; the sticks of dynamite and the caps were kept in separate packs and Ginger had never been in danger of exploding.

Bill MacDermott, Mollie Stephenson and Lena Hanson at the cabin on Singing Pass en route to Red Mountain. As well as working as a wrangler, Mollie hiked, swam and attended Rainbow Lodge events. Philip Collection

Though Mollie spent the majority of her time at Rainbow Lodge working as a wrangler, she also participated in other aspects of life at the resort including dances, masquerades, tennis, hiking and swimming.  She once even out-swam visiting naval officers, a tale that is perhaps best told through her own words:

I loved swimming, although racing never appealed to me.  Swimming for miles was like an interesting hike but on the water.  I had been swimming across the lake all summer, although never the length of the lake.  One day a couple of naval officers staying at the Mons Hotel asked Alex Philip if any of his guests would join them in a friendly race from McDonald’s cabin, at the south end, to the River of Golden Dreams, at the north end.  Alex approached me.  I explained that I wasn’t into fast swimming or racing, but as there were no other contenders I would swim along with them, on condition that they didn’t expect me to win.  Soon they were ahead, but when we were more than half way across we hit an unexpected glacial current that took one’s breath away.  At this point the fellows had had enough and headed to the beach.  The “tortoise” kept on going until I walked onto the beach at the River of Golden Dreams.  There was a huge bonfire burning and Myrtle had a warm blanket to wrap me in.  My prize came after dinner when the two officers asked me to dance with them!

Mollie spent several summers at Rainbow Lodge and, like many who have come after her, unexpectedly fell in love with the area and its outdoors lifestyle.  Though she went on to marry and live elsewhere, Mollie will always be remembered as one of the first seasonal workers who just couldn’t keep away from the Whistler valley.

In 2010 Mollie’s daughter sent the museum part of an autobiography that her mother wrote, including information about her time at Rainbow Lodge.  The bulk of the information we have about Mollie Stephenson comes from her own writing.

Swimming Through the Ages

With the sun hopefully returning to Whistler to stay the local lakes are once again teeming with those who prefer to cool off in the water.  Looking through photos in our archive it’s easy to see that swimming has always been a popular summer pastime in Whistler, one that has changed relatively little in the past hundred years.

Swimming at Rainbow Lodge on Alta Lake

While Alex and Myrtle Philip operated Rainbow Lodge Alta Lake was the most popular summer destination for days spent in the water.  Not only did the lake make a hot summer day tolerable but with views such as those seen from the shore it would be hard not to enjoy your surroundings.  Like today, guests and residents alike could be found splashing around the docks, though for some the idea of a cool swim doesn’t appear to have been such an appealing one.  Although diving boards have disappeared from Whistler lakes the water is still cold enough to cause hesitation in some people.

Diving board and a hesitant swimmer on Alta Lake

The only glaringly noticeable difference between swimming in the early twentieth century and swimming now is the bathing costume, or swimsuit.  Though the same strokes are used to move through the water it is rare to find someone on the beach in apparel similar to that modeled by Jean Tapley, Katie McGregor and their friend.  Though not covering quite as much as the popular two piece suits of the nineteenth century which included a knee-length gown and trousers to the ankles, these suits are still very modest compared to those found today.

Jean Tapley, Katie McGregor and friend

Alta Lake, along with Lost Lake, Alpha Lake, and others, is still a popular place to spend a day, whether you live here or are visiting.  Though Rainbow Lodge is now gone (apart from a few cabins still at Rainbow Park) it is still possible to have the same swimming experience as the first guests to Whistler.

Swimmers and boaters enjoy the docks at Rainbow Lodge