WHISTLER DIARIES – THE BACKGROUND FILES

I used to be funny, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I was probably even more deluded back then than I am nowadays. Each month I used to really try hard writing something that was really entertaining to read but still had a decent theme running through it. The featured column from around issue 73 of Dirt Magazine and ran around March 2008, is an example of where I tried to be funnier than I was capable of being possibly. Again, the bulk of the column is a weird rambling tangent which breaks off into several sub-tangents before getting around to the real point of the matter. Then it breaks off into a prickly bush of more tangents before summarising and signing off. Enjoy…Sorry there’s no photo or jpeg of the published column. Like about fifty percent of them I have never actually seen them in print myself.

Gone are the days of postmen suffering from ruptured discs, hernias, or broken nails because gone are the days where they had to hump around giant sacks of beautifully handwritten letters. Nowadays there are strict health and safety regulations in place to make sure that Mr. Postman does nothing more strenuous than humping Mrs. Cox from no.26.

These regulations have also been complimented by the advent of other new age forms of communication such as email/Facebook/Bebo/MySpace/Messenger/forums, giving Mr. Postman even less reason to stuff your letterbox and even more time to stuff your missus’ letterbox.

This is all good and well. The environment is saved from having its lungs chopped down (which in turn means the environ-mentalists are made even more worthless), Mr. Postman is saved from injuring nothing more than his banjo string, and your mother/wife/girlfriend is too preoccupied with the postman to notice that you have buggered off for a weekend trip away with the boys to some far off riding spot, again.

However, the problem with the changes in communication methods has meant that people really don’t think before they shoot off a brainless lousy email. Think about it, back way back when if you wanted to write to someone asking them a question it would mean going through the whole rigmarole of getting your nice writing paper out, filling your fountain pen with ink, starting with your own address at the top right hand corner, the recipients address below it on the left hand side, thinking of the correct way to begin the letter, structuring it in proper English (AN NT RITE N FKNG TXT TLK), making your point clearly, then trying to remember the correct way to close the letter. God forbid if you made a spelling mistake, because that would mean tearing it up and starting all over again. This could mean that by the time you had finished writing a letter you had forgotten why exactly you were writing it in the first place.

But if you did remember why and you persisted with your written request you still had to tramp the miles and miles over hill and dale to the nearest village postbox, before realizing you still needed to find a stamp for the letter, which could mean you were waiting days for Doris Elderflower the post office geriatric to get back from the village hospital with a cast iron hip replacement. So by now maybe the whole of your teenage years has passed you by and your request has been made obsolete. And more so, by the time the letter was actually received and then replied to, you were already pushing up daisies.

This was all good because it made you think about whether it was worthwhile writing in the first place and if you were mad enough to persist then you really had to think hard about what you were saying.

Every week I get a few emails in my inbox asking the what, how, when, and where of doing a season in Whistler. Most of them seem to be asking if I can put them up when they get there, get them a job, and maybe hook them up with my missus. Err….FK U M8!

Maybe I could make a fortune setting up a Whistler information company and put out pamphlets or have an office in London, hold conferences preaching the knowledge and charge a fortune for it. Instead I have decided to put all the valuable information out there for free right here right now.

First up, flights, because the most essential thing about doing a season in Whistler is getting there in the first place (don’t laugh, one guy didn’t even realize Canada wasn’t on the National Express bus route). You want to find the flight with the most possible connections and the least amount of baggage allowance. You do this because you want to make the flight as culturally stimulating as possible and because you don’t need to take your bike with you as they are so cheap to buy once you get to Canada.

Also make sure there is a connection somewhere in the USA. When the US Customs and Immigration agents ask you why you are entering their great land tell them you have come to “bomb down some hills”. At which point they will invite you into a private VIP room where you will be treated to a first class welcome to the USA. Trust me its great.

If you are thinking of going to Whistler with the intention of working to make your keep then there is a few majors things to remember; firstly, don’t bother letting some bloody London office rip you off for a work visa; secondly, tell the Canadian Customs and Immigration agent at the border that YES you do intend to work whilst you are in Canada, and NO you don’t have a work visa. Canadians love the British accent and sense of humour and will probably offer you their job, their home, and their daughters’ hand in marriage.

If you do manage to drag yourself away from the party that the border guards throw for you then you need to think about where you are going to live. But really, you don’t need anywhere to live because you will be either riding the lifts of the bike park all day everyday or partying all night in the GLC or the Longhorn. If you do ever feel the need to have a little sleep then a good spot to curl up and catch 40 winks is the A-line rock drop.

Like I said earlier, you don’t need to take a bike to Whistler because they are so ridiculously cheap to buy there, especially with the current strength of the Canadian Dollar. A lot of people ask what is the best bike for riding in Whistler, well I am going let you into the locals secret; Any bike is perfect for a whole seasons worth of Whistler riding as long as you don’t look after it. Don’t ever lube your chain, clean your bike, or perform even basic maintenance and you will be fine. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

A lot of people ask about bears in Whistler. Yes, there are loads of them and yes, they will attack and eat you. Bear attacks in the Whistler Bike Park have become such a common occurrence that the Bike Park have begun giving out bear bells with every season pass they sell. If you come across a bear on the trail then the only thing to do is kiss your own arse goodbye. Trust me, bears are the hardest and scariest trail features in the whole Bike Park

After a while you will become tired of riding your bike and you will want to go find yourself some lady tail to ride. Well forget it, the nine ladies that live there already have a boyfriend, already have genital herpes, and they already hate you. So don’t even bother. Just be prepared to leave your libido at home when you fly out to Canada. Or if you are desperate there is a very lively and thriving gay scene in Whistler. Its raining men.

Finally, never ever leave the safe confines of the Bike Park whilst you are there. The other 200km of trails in the Whistler valley are as enjoyable as picking your nose whilst driving over potholes at speed. And don’t even consider riding in Pemberton, Squamish or the North Shore. Anything you have read or seen of the trails there is total horseshit propaganda put out by rival tourism executives jealous of Whistler. If it’s not in the Bike Park then it’s not worth it. My advice is to only ride A-Line for the whole of your season.

In truth, just don’t go to Whistler. The riding is better at home anyway, the beer is better at home, and you don’t have to put up with a bloody transatlantic flight in cattle class if you stay home. But please, if anyone dares still go there this coming summer and finds that anything I have written here is not true then please feel free to write me a letter saying so.

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