Whistler’s Homegrown Legends

Think of Whistler as a colour wheel, a kaleidoscope of bright, talented, multi-faceted individuals spinning around a flame of brilliant light.  That light represents the mountains and the town.  Each of these colourful characters shares a common passion. They live and breathe the here and now. They are game changers, humble and unaware, most of them too focused on their schtick to even notice that they are idolized. Little do they know, that years from now our kids will remember them as mountain gods.

Since 1967 Whistler has attracted and bred a personality some like to call the ‘endless child’. This tribe continues to impact the resort scene in some shape or form.  After 12 hours of après on the epic Longhorn Saloon & Grill patio interviewing a wide array of locals to find the who’s who in Whistler at this moment in time, my mission is almost complete. Humble to the core, these are some of the people of today who will impact Whistler tomorrow.

Heather Paul
Skier 1st

Local since 98’ Schtick: Writer: The Chairlift Review
Describe your mountain style? Off mountain, bright and unique. On mountain, functional but fashionable. I’m all about the tight T-shirt with snow pants.
What is après all about for you? The people you are with and the day of the week. Monday: Merlin’s, Tuesday: GLC, Thursday: Dusty’s, Saturdays: Longhorn, Sundays: Dublin Gate
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? Sorry – I hit the lodge, way too many layers! Except for weddings in the forest, then I don’t wear underwear.
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? Winter
Show stopping Whistler memory: I ran the torch through the village for the 2010 Olympics
My tag line: I have an ambidextrous brain.

Greg Reamsbottom
Skier

Local since 99’ Schtick: Lead singer of Whistler’s hottest homegrown band The Hairfarmers
Describe your mountain style? Function over fashion anytime.
What is après all about for you? I’ll take red wine or Whisky. It’s what you do after an awesome day on the mountain when you’re not ready to go home. You bring your stoke to the bar and you keep going.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? Pull over. Find the trees, water the plants.
Show stopping Whistler memory: Playing a jam packed Merlin’s après session after a full moon, fresh powder, bluebird day on the mountain.
Tell us something no one knows about you: They call me Grateful Greg because I play a lot of Grateful Dead cover songs, but I’m really more about the gratitude.

Jonathan Dobie
Snowboarder

Local since 2011’ Schtick: The music man
Describe your mountain style? Off mountain used to be gangster – hip hop until I realized I can’t wear a XXXL forever. Now it’s collared shirts for work. On the mountain – baggy always…I grew up in a terrain park. Earth tones.
What is après all about for you? It’s my favorite time of the day. Hit a patio, untie my boots, cold beer, nachos, friends, sunshine and good music.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? Into the bush
Show stopping Whistler memory: My bro came into town to visit me and I took him to a ‘peak party’. The best on-mountain parties of the season. Left of Red Chair, word of mouth, 200 people and there was a huge snowball fight with people doing flips right through the epicenter of the snowball fight. Fireball, hotdogs….it blew my brother away.
My tag line: For the love of music

Liam Peyton
Skier 1st.

Local since 08’ Schtick: The beer nerd of Whistler
Describe your mountain style? When I was younger, super flashy. Now it’s function over fashion. North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware. I tend to go earthy, plaids or plain.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? Pull over in the trees, bump it out, and get it back in with as little cold exposure as possible.
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? It’s always been winter but I’ve been switching to summer lately only because I can work less, play more.
Show stopping Whistler memory: After I successfully pulled off my first Beer Festival I had to pull over for a little side road moment alone. I did it! The other would be bartending at the Longhorn during the Olympics when the US & Canada Bobsled teams did a boat race with a jug of beer at my bar. Epic Olympic memory!

Wayne Flebbe
Doesn’t partake in snow sports

Local since 89’ Schtick: Music promoter
Describe your mountain style? Rock n’ roll cowboy
What is après all about for you? The Longhorn, they play my mix of music
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? Summer
Show stopping Whistler memory: The Beat Farmers were playing the Longhorn Saloon and the lead singer died on stage. I was there.
Tell us something no one knows about you: Whistler is my family. Even the cops here watch my back
My tag line: I’m the most positive person I know. Always happy.

Julia Murray
Olympic Skier

Local since: I was born Schtick: I power Whistler with my Jules Fuel cereal
Describe your mountain style? Bohemian/yogi/sporty spice. Nothing fancy unless I go out and even then I can’t wear stilettos
What is après all about for you? Always involves a caeser, maybe a couple. When it all ends, you’re still wearing your ski boots.
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? It’s both. Mountain biking + ski touring…we’re happily confused.
Show stopping Whistler memory: Carrying the torch up the mountain and passing it off to Steve Podborski high above the village and looking down on the mass amounts of people and thinking this is pretty cool.
Tell us something no one knows about you: I’m a great dancer. I’m with the Whistler DJ. You’ll find me busting my moves to DJ Surgeon, Vinyl Ritchie and Foxy Moron, SkiiTour, Dj Whitness, Kitkat, Kori k
My tag line: Happy go lucky

Sue Eckersley
Snowboarder

Local since 99’ Schtick: Organizer of the WSSF
Describe your mountain style? All black, I have no fashion sense.
What is après all about for you? It can start anytime and end anytime. It’s about friends and what you feel like whatever, whenever…not just after the mountain. I have been known to close the bar down with my snowboard boots on.
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? All seasons
Show stopping Whistler memory: Putting Justin Timberlake and the Black Eyed Peas on stage together to sing ‘Where is the love” for WSSF in 2005.
My tag line: Party in April, sleep in May.

Robyn Taylor
Snowboarder

Local since 99’ Schtick: 3rd tallest member of The Man Boys – Filmmaker
Describe your mountain style? Ridiculous
What is après all about for you? Celebrating a successful day on the hill with your friends. You’ve earned it. You’ve done what you set out to do. Beer is a MUST then whisky.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? In the trees, I’ve taken some risky pees on the mountain: on a cat-track but not too speedy…
Show stopping Whistler memory: Anytime you’ve had a full day on the hill and no one got hurt and the next day is looking just as good.
Tell us something no one knows about you: I make comments about sandwiches. People think it’s a reflex but I love sandwiches!
My tag line: Eaten by a sandwich on opposite day

Mercedes Nicoll
Pro Snowboarder

Local since 95’ Schtick: Hottie-Pro/Olympian
Describe your mountain style? I like to be stylish, bright colours all the way
What is après all about for you? A cold drink after a long day of riding with friends…that may lead to dancing.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? I go into the bushes, I don’t unstrap, it’s a technique.
Show stopping Whistler memory: I won my first pro-contest here in Whistler. Quarter pipe at the Showcase Showdown and got my first big cheque. I won $500 and bought myself a mini disc player.
Tell us something no one knows about you: I’m clumsy
My tag line: Laugh and smile ALOT

J Michael Varrin
Skier

Local since 94’ Schtick: Prince of Darkness
Describe your mountain style? Off mountain: Disturbed, confused, a non follower of fashion. I wear my cleanest, dirtiest shirt. On mountain: Progressive.
What is après all about for you? Permission to party! You can break the rules but not the principals.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? I pee in the snow and write my name in calligraphy as fancy as I can
Show stopping Whistler memory: My best Whistler moment was in Vegas promoting WSSF. I spent 43K at the bar in Vegas spreading the word about WSSF. The crew came too including Go-Go dancer Ace MacKay-Smith. We took a limo early morning from the strip to Red Rocks to watch the sunrise and I was left behind at the gas station when we stopped to fuel up. The entire experience was ironically Whistler in all of its ways.
Tell us something no one knows about you: “He has a photographic memory”, Feet Banks
My tag line: Act surprised, show concern, deny, deny, deny.

Ace MacKay-Smith
Skier

Local since 86’ Schtick: Multi-talented party girl. Writer, DJ, Go-Go dancer, party planner.
Describe your mountain style? Off mountain: thrift store. On mountain: I love my Mason Industries waterproof ski jeans
What is après all about for you? It’s my favorite. I ended up throwing a 12 hour après WSSF Hot Doggin’ party for those who had to work for the festival.
It’s a perfect powder day and you have to pee…..? I hang back and keep my skis on. Always cover your pee, boys don’t!
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? Both. There is more to do in Whistler in the summer. There are five lakes within 10 minutes of town. You can even portage your SUP through the lakes and still be up on the mountain.
Tell us something no one knows about you: I have also (with some other friends) co-organized an annual après-ski party in the desert at Burning Man for the past 10 years and I’m a mascot (Frosty the Snowman and a Muppet gal)
My tag line: Have a good time, all the time

Dave ‘PEPE’ Petko
Used to snowboard, now I mountain bike!

Local since 94’ Schtick: Tattoo artist (Black Ohm Tattoos)
Describe your mountain style? A dirty punk-hippy
What is après all about for you? I don’t do après – F no! What is that?
Do you prefer Whistler in winter or summer? Spring/Summer/Fall “Winter this year was perfect!”
Show stopping Whistler memory: Too hard to pick one
Tell us something no one knows about you: I don’t like lineups or crowds

Kevin ‘Feet’ Banks
Skier 1st

Local since 88’ Schtick: Writer, editor, character
Describe your mountain style? Eclectic. I have 3 pairs of Salomon Force 9 ski boots from 1991. I’m all about colour on the hill.
What is après all about for you? When the day marries the night …when you celebrate the day you’ve had on the mountain and that you got off safe.
Show stopping Whistler memory: The Nas concert – it was all time WSSF. It’s what the village was built for.
Tell us something no one knows about you: In my hay days, I wouldn’t leave home for less than 15cm of fresh snow. I’d stay home and play Dungeons and Dragons unless it dumped.
My tag line: Fuck crossing over to them, let them cross over to us!

Although these chosen homegrown legends showcase just a slice of the pie, it does represent who’s making Whistler history today. The research shows that partaking in a snow sport is not the only deciding factor as to whether or not you are considered a local legend. A special mention to other worthy tribe members not available at interview time. Whistler, you know who I’m talking about. For Whistler locals, home is where the heart is.

Credit to Christina at Lumin Pictures for taking these epic character shots!

About the author  ⁄ Stephanie Florian

Founder and fearless leader Play Outdoors Media Inc. TV and radio host, adventure journalist, surfer chick, Mom I'd like to rip with.

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