A Norwegian Would

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In advance of the upcoming Winter Olympics, I received an email last week from a Norwegian journalist looking to pick my brains about Whistler. How this person got my name I’m not sure..but it doesn’t really matter.

Oh, the irony.

Here I am, after working as a television broadcaster in Vancouver and environs for close to twenty-five years and I’m completely out of the loop (workwise) as the biggest event in the city’s history hits town. Not only that but people from Norway are asking me for tips. I may still be writing television features but this current batch has nothing to do with the Olympic Games.

The Norwegian contact wondered if I might be able to steer him toward Whistler people who would make interesting story subjects.

What could I do? It has been a long while since I attempted to extract some measure of quirky appeal from that neck of the woods. There were a couple of outstanding artists and craftsmen who immediately leapt to mind..(and I gave the Norwegian the info) but neither of those folks lives in Whistler. They sell in Whistler because that’s where the money is..but they live and create their art in more economically equitable climes.

That’s the problem with big money and gentrification….it homogenizes an area. It makes it all very bling but also very bland. There were a lot more interesting characters in Whistler before it became such a ‘world class’ resort…before you had to lay out a zillion bucks to kick back and sip a cup of cocoa. When the so-called world shows up for the Games later this month there will be no mention of the fact that most of the kids who work the ski slopes, the shops and the restaurants  have to sleep six deep, like cord-wood, in the most basic of accommodations just to afford their jobs. Truth be told, some of them don’t really care. They’re there for the skiing and the skiing alone.

When The Frau and I go to Whistler it’s always in the summer…never in the winter. I can’t handle the winter crowds. We can’t afford the winter rates. Even the summer costs, though,  have begun to escalate as the village continues its successful promotion as a year-round resort.

But interesting characters? Sorry Norway, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

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