Back in Whistler for the summer
Gus' note: This is the first blog post that I've ever written, so if it totally sucks then I'm sorry.
I recently made the road trip from Colorado to Whistler, BC, to ski on the Horstman Glacier and help coach at Camp of Champions and Momentum all summer.
The first time I came to Whistler was a disastrous trip with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard club when I was 13. The trip began with a monotonous 23-hour road trip from Telluride, Colo., through Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and eventually into British Columbia. Our team was packed liked sardines into a retro-style van littered with trash and unidentified sticky spills from trips prior. The seats were tattered and ripped and you could literally reach into the cracks and pull out 40 years' worth of moldy pocket lint and decomposing goldfish crackers.
The first major hiccup in the trip was that our usual crew of tweenaged park rats was unwillingly going to be accompanied by the older, more regimented group of Telluride mogul skiers. Within 20 minutes of our departure it became very clear that the target of torment for the next two weeks was going to be the mogul coach, Jodie. One afternoon on the walk back to the house from the mountain, I decided to collect all the slugs on the bike path (if you haven't been to Whistler before, the only wildlife that out populates the bears are the slugs) and put them into a massive 7-11 cup, which I later emptied into Jodie's bed. Needless to say, my immature pranks were exhilarating and I knew at that point that I was in love with Whistler.
The second trip I made to Whistler was for High North Ski Camp (R.I.P.) the following summer and this was arguably the most fun trip of my entire adolescence. The coaches would regularly come up with different challenges for the campers with product prizes for whoever could complete them. I remember watching a kid named BJ eat 100 chicken McNuggets in 60 minutes without vomiting in order to win a jacket. Who's to say Peter Olenick's Smith Goggles weren't a worthy prize for streaking a mile through the Whistler village at 5 in the afternoon?
The image of me running through town naked must have burned into the pros' and coaches' minds because they all seemed to remember me when they started seeing me at the top of the courses at major events a few years later.
Between the glacier and the camps, the village, and the people, there is no place that I'd rather spend this summer than in Whistler. Stay tuned to ESPN Freeskiing because I'll be updating this blog throughout the next few months with photos and videos and trick tips and interviews with other pros.
Gus' second note: I'm not sorry if this writeup was subpar. Blame ESPN.