I like Whistler, British Columbia, because of its staggering natural beauty and its heavy snow - you know, the kind of snow that stirs up images of mom's mashed potatoes or the seconds bin at a down pillow manufacturer. But mainly, I like Whistler because I like Canadians, Aussies, Brits, and other members of the Commonwealth of Nations who descend on this master-planned town like tweakers to a methadone clinic.
crummy video of crummy snow from yours truly
I don't like contrived Europa and contrived Europa Whistler is... on the surface. If you look under the stairwells of any Whistler establishment, you are sure to find cases of Europe-in-a-can. Come on! Trying that hard is not becoming. And if you lean too hard on the "stone walls," which adorn the sides of the many "pubs," "creperies," and "pastarias," you are sure to fall through, revealing the Wizard of Whistler. No, you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto, but you're not in the Old World, either.
The interiors of many of the eating establishments are adorned with "bolt-on art" and other fun and quirky mountain sport paraphernalia. (Did they ask to borrow a page out of the Applebees playbook? Egad!)
Needless to say, Gstaad this is not, but it doesn't have to be. On my last trip to Whistler, I actually met one of the guys who helped construct it back in the early 1960s. He said that back then there was no theme, no faux-stone walls, no bolt-on art. It was pure, rugged British Columbia and it was AWESOME.
Like I said before, "prep" is supposed to be authentic, not contrived. Cascadian prep should be no different. To expand on this concept, a world class ski area in a world class country should not be contrived. It should be natural and effortless with a go-to-hell attitude.
Photographic examples of Whistler retailers trying too hard. In the last 6 or 7 times I've been to Whistler, these same Dale of Norway items have not moved one inch (I mean 2.54 centimeters).
And what's with the kits below? Target audience being whom? You don't go to a resort to buy for the next season. You buy for what you need right now.