I love the fall. I wouldn't call it my favorite season, but compared to the tendency of Whistler's population to openly hate on the short, dark, rainy days of pre-winter, I would consider myself somewhat of a fall advocate. Why?
The activity pace slows down after mid-September and yes, that can be a good thing. After trying to cram in every possible recreational opportunity into the 12 or so weekends between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox, fall gives you the chance to give your body a break and prepare for the winter.
Everyone likes to daydream about a perfect world that switches instantaneously from laying on the beach to surfing two feet of powder, but if that were the case there would be a lot less appreciation for our favourite seasons. Rest and recharge to make every day of the impending winter count. And if you're lucky enough to be part of the Whistler's annual Hawaiian migration, enjoy your days on the beach while we're all left up here bundled in Gore-Tex, hoping for an early mountain opening.
This also wasnít your typical fall. The bike trails have been in their best shape of the year. After work rides are no longer possible without bike lights ó or at least a strong headlamp ó but over the last few weeks the days have had the perfect combination of sunshine and cool temperatures. Those cool temperatures keep the dirt tacky, perfect for high-speed cornering.
Trail crews have also been hard at work finishing up the seasonís work without any forest fire hazard warnings to slow them down. Both the municipal crews and WORCA have done a lot of great work this year, including some improvements to the often used but seldom improved Blueberry Trail. Someone even put in a new swing at the lookout, which is becoming my favourite hangout spot on dog walks.
Colder mornings are also the best for rock climbers; the rubber on those uncomfortable shoes is at its stickiest, and less sweat means less chalk on the hands, giving greater purchase on the rock. Hikers and runners similarly enjoy their exercise without drowning in their own perspiration.
And then there's the rain ó the biggest reason why Whistler residents love to hate the fall season. It restricts many of the aforementioned activities, or at least limits the lengths of sessions, but rain can also force you to come up with hobbies or pastimes that are not weather dependent.
It can still be physical, like the climbing wall at The Core or dropping in at one of the valley's several spin classes, but everyone should have some form of non-physical stimulation ready that isn't sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Itís great for those wet days, and crucial in case of early season injury. Missing large chunks of prime winter will get anyone depressed, so be proactive and counter it with an indoor project that will put your downtime to good use. Teach yourself a new skill, start a blog, finally get around to organizing your digital music collection and, if you're feeling up to it, hit the gym for some dryland training.
As I type this column the change from October-surprise-sunshine to November-heavy-rain is upon us and the weather nerds will soon start to monitor the freezing levels hour by hour. Instead of counting down the days until shred time, set a goal of what you can accomplish before opening day. It may just be what your fall season has been missing all these years.