Tag Archives: tennis

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.

This Week In Photos: July 12

This week seems to be full of races!  With the Garibaldi Cup, Molson’s Whistler Bike Race and the beginnings of the Whistler Half Marathon all making appearances, July would seem to have always been a very active month in Whistler.

1979

Paul Tattamanti and Eugene Rochfort at the Stage 1 turnaround at Whistler in the rain on Saturday. By the end of the weekend, Rochfort was celebrating as part of the Anglia-Norco team that won the Garibaldi Cup.

Mayor Pat Carleton and Alderman Al Raine with Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Vander Zalm and his wife Lillian.

The Blackcomb view from the 4,000 ft. level looking down one of the runs towards the school and the Town Centre.

Vic Hurford’s crew at work on the Blackcomb Road.

1980

New location for Town Hall puts municipal buildings adjacent to the Public Safety Building (PSB) on the north side. Upstairs meeting room in the PSB will be used for Council Chambers.

Blackcomb’s mountain top restaurant takes shape before a shrinking backdrop of peaks and glaciers.

The wedding hall in Whistler set with finery ready for a post-nuptial feast.

Betty Vogler slams a service over to her opponent during the first women’s open tennis tournament on Sunday.

Dale Arsenault completing the first hang-glide journey from the top of Whistler to the base facilities near Highway 99.

1981

Cyclists climb as part of Molson’s Whistler Bike Race.

The $300,000, three-room addition to Myrtle Philip School begins to take shape.

Betty Vogler, winner of the women’s singles.

Birthday boys Murray Coates (left) and Doug Schull cut their giant cake.

Peter Andrew, Willy Schaeffler, Nelson Bennett, Bob Bartley, Bill McCance, Lorne O’Connor, Boyd Stuwe and John Hanna discuss the new downhill course plan.

1982

Delta Mountain Inn’s General Manager John Pope surveys the main lobby of the hotel as workmen add finishing touches.

The guest rooms at Mountain Inn feature luxurious appointments, including original artwork. This one was decorated in tones of royal blue with beige and rose bright lights.

Molson’s Whistler Bike Race passes through the Whistler Village.

Phil Anderson of West Point Cycles could have stolen the show in the Celebrity Race with this two-star wheelie. Celebrities, including Whistler’s Mayor Pat Carleton, tested their skills on similar race vehicles during the Sunday afternoon race.

In honour of the first annual ‘sailpast’ of the newly formed ‘Whistler Yacht Club’. Commodore Jan Holberg takes the salute as the motley array of boats passes the reviewing stand on July 12.

With the families and godparents gathered together, Rev. Ed Wallace recites the baptism service to the Roberts family (left) and the MacKenzies on the occasion of the christening of their children on July 10.

Under a Rest lifted their voices in perfect harmony to give Whistlerites a taste of a capella singing on Friday.

1984

Whistler T.V. Society members Floyd Eclair, Richard Heine and Albert Bryjack went up to adjust the society’s channel 6 antenna atop Sproat Mountain last Sunday.

Whistler’s Bottlemaster Harry Carman with just some of the new-fangled bottle types that have flooded the market.

Ready to go! Finishing in a time of just over 1:12, Alan Carr won the second annual Whistler Half Marathon last Sunday, beating out a crowd of more than 200 other runners. Carr says that the course was as hilly as he’d ever seen, adding that he trains only about four or five days a week, one half hour a day. Neil Waken placed second in the 13.1 km race.

Stew Muir gets a shot of diesel from Art Den Duyf’s tank at Mons.

Someone is chopping down trees on Ruth Buzzard’s property. Buzzard recently received permission to build a campground on a 15.3 ha (38 acre) site between White Gold and Mons. But despite no trespassing signs and notices asking that trees not be cut, at least a dozen trees have disappeared. Now a large area of the future campground is almost bare.

Whistler landscaper Leigh Finck donated time, plants and energy over the weekend to spruce up the Chamber of Commerce Information Centre at the gondola.