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For several weeks in February, the eyes of the world will be on Whistler, BC, as it hosts the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the appetite for a story to go with the place will be extreme. Stephen Vogler has that story, and in this book he tells it fully for the first time. Vogler is one of those rare Whistlerites who actually grew up in Whistler and he has for some years been running a one-man crusade as writer, broadcaster and author of books to prove his hometown is not only a bona fide community, but a uniquely interesting one. Whistler begins in the days when the town had a mere 500 year-round residents who referred to weekend visitors as "turkeys" or "gorbies". His parents were old-school European alpinists who had given up a comfortable life in Vancouver so they could teach their children how to yodel and schuss in an appropriate setting. People like them, with names like Ples and Wilhelmsen, had developed the ski hill in the 1960s and together formed one of Whistler's founding cultures. The other founding culture was a swarming, partying mass of snow-hippies who lived rent-free in rough squatters' shacks and liked marijuana as much as they did not like wearing clothes.
Their "high" spirits melded with the soberer tradition of the transplanted Tyroleans to produce a hybrid "only in Whistler" character that is equally devoted to serious skiing and unserious living. It was no accident that the first Whistlerite to win an Olympic gold medal also tested positive for cannabis, and successfully defended himself by arguing that just breathing the air in his hometown was enough to put him over the limit. If anybody doubts that story, they won't after reading this book.
Stephen Vogler has written for national publications such as The Globe and Mail and Explore Magazine as well as for CBC Radio's Ideas, DNTO and Outfront programs and he is the author of Whistler Features. Stephen earned a spot at the May 2002 BC Festival of the Arts Otherwords literary festival for his short fiction. He moved to Whistler as a child in 1976 and now raises his own family there.