In the summer of 1980
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a little town nestled in the Coastal Range Mountains called Alta Lake BC. The town was home to a diverse group of hippies, rednecks, and other assorted characters who collectively called themselves locals. These locals loved to ski and they knew they lived the best ski town in the world.
The town existed only to give the locals a place to eat and sleep when they weren’t skiing. The mountain had been developed specially for them. Every now and then someone from out of town would show up to pay money to ski but they were generally discouraged. These annoying visitors were known to the locals as turkeys. It wasn’t good to be a turkey in Alta Lake BC.
The inhabitants of this little town spent their winters skiing and their summers recovering. There were no grocery stores in town. There were no red lights. There was no police station. There was no bank (there had been but someone stole it). There was no laundromat. Almost nobody had a television. Nobody cared. It was about the skiing and in all likelihood the challenges of living in this town selected only the lunatic fringe that would look past the multitude of inconveniences and focus on the incredible skiing. Whatever the reason the locals were a fairly cohesive if somewhat eccentric group of people
They lived on L’Apres pizza and Peterburgers, wore clothing made by T Shirt Al, went to Cosmic Fred’s movie nights every Sunday evening, and they skied. And skied. They hung out at Peak Corner with Rox , Bino, So and Swilly or in one of the blowbooths with Rabbit and Longbranch Mike and skied some more. They discussed philosophy with Bosco at Chateau Ghetto and watched Peter Helicopter do prairie chickens and then skied some more. Locals could always be recognized by the special sunglasses, Vuarnet #4002H that they all wore almost all the time. Those sunglasses served as a form of identification – they let everyone know the wearer belonged to the tribe.
In Alta Lake BC there used to be a sign at the top of GS (a run off a lift called the Blue Chair) that proclaimed “CAUTION! Fast Skiing Area, Long Skis Only!” This was strictly enforced. Locals liked to ski fast. Skiing Don’t Miss under a full moon was popular with some.
The locals had the entire alpine pretty much to themselves as it took between a half an hour to an hour to hike up Little Whistler and drop into one of the bowls. There was always a crucial chute full of untracked powder to be had. Then there was the incredibly long run down the north side of the mountain that was little more than a vehicle access road to the town’s garbage dump – and in this dump one could buy a piping hot cappuccino or hot chocolate. There was Franz’ run … Read More