Like with all the good things, the time has come for The Whistler Question to end. And while The Outsider has been my proudest contribution to this humble publication, my Questionable experience began a few years before that.
I was fresh off a sort-of internship with Pique in early 2012, hungry for paid writing work and trying my hardest to ween myself away off of the all-too-familiar world of ski instructing. I took every job that the breeze blew my way, as long as it involved forming words into a sentence. The Whistler Question had a lot more pages in those days and was engaged in an ongoing advertising arms race with Pique Newsmagazine, so I bounced between long-form features for Pique and filled the rest of the time for The Question with community news, local sports and the odd interview with would-be rockstars, DJs and gangster rappers from Surrey.
After the Pique’s acquisition by The Question parent company Glacier Media, things actually got easier for me. I have to give huge shout out here to former Pique staffer and Question editor Andrew Mitchell, who pleaded the case for The Outsider column to the publishers and got it off the ground in late 2013.
Andrew moved on shortly after that and I naturally fell into the role of the go-to freelancer for most Question stories under its illustrious new editor Alyssa Noel, who had recently discovered that leaving Whistler is easier said than done. I was offered a part-time role in the newsroom, which I gladly accepted under the condition I would start once I returned from my six-week ski expedition to Tajikistan. That trip gave me about six months of Outsider story ideas alone.
I began to hit my stride with Outsider after about a year, when I began to take a page from Pique columnist G.D. Maxwell and occasionally tell it like it is. I received curt emails from Whistler Blackcomb after endorsing the contemporary looseness of Gaper Day. I called bullshit on BC Parks and their lack of transparency on the issue of grizzly bear habitat in the South Chilcotins. But most incendiary of all was calling out our own entitled Whistler selves on everything from cutting lift lines on powder days to boozing down the River of Golden Dreams on our poor, departed friend Floaty McFloat Face. When you hold up a mirror to a community that holds recreation so dear, you’d be amazed at what you see sometimes.
But I’ve always striven to keep the outlook positive overall. We do live in one of the most beautiful and raddest outdoor places in the world, occasionally we just need to remind ourselves of that instead of taking it for granted.
It’s been a helluva ride writing this weekly column for you all over the last four years, one that I’ll be eternally grateful for. I won’t say good bye just yet as I have hope The Outsider can rise from the ashes of this longstanding community newspaper. If there’s one thing this journalism game has taught me, it’s persistence.
A final shout out to all the team at the Whistler Question; Sarah Strother for steering the ship, Alyssa Noel for keeping the engine room firing on all cylinders, Tessa Sweeney, Amy Allen, Susan Hutchinson and Kate Whitley for keeping us afloat and Lou O’Brien for making sure we hit our scheduled sailing time every week.
See ya round, Whistler.
Vince Shuley is ever optimistic. For questions, comments or suggestions to The Outsider email firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @vinceshuley.