Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler/Ben Girardi
As we all do our part to Stay Home, we can often find ourselves reminiscing of our favourite places to travel to. For many, this place is Whistler.
When Vail Resorts announced the closure of all of its resorts around the world in mid-March, Whistler, like the rest of the world, started shutting down. This includes restaurants and shops, parks and every business not deemed essential. With so many locals from Whistler and Vancouver eager to get back to the trails and parks, our Mayor, Jack Crompton, has urged visitors to please, stay away… for now.
Outside the spring weather flips from unseasonably roasting to West Coast downpour – nothing out of the ordinary here. Holiday Weekends come and go with a peace and tranquility Whistler hasn’t seen in decades. The world everywhere has slowed down allowing more time for yoga, puzzles, sleep and introspection. Wildlife can be seen exploring neighbourhoods including a rare Grizzly Bear sighting.
Signs are posted throughout town, urging everyone to stay home, keep their distance, avoid gatherings and be safe. We feel a glimmer of hope when more and more restaurants offer take-out or grocery delivery to feed residents. Local artists continue instruction with online paint nights to feed the creative side and bars share their favourite cocktail recipes. Friendly grocery store clerks corral shoppers and customers awkwardly avoid neighbours.
Whiski Jack is not exempt from the many hotels and businesses who have essentially closed their doors. We isolate and quarantine now, so that we can open sooner. Premier John Horgan announced BC’s plan to slowly and cautiously re-open businesses last week giving us hope that we can start to welcome you back by early June.
The past few weeks our teams have been planning and preparing for the return. Although many staff have had to return to their homes around the world, those of us left are taking on different roles. Efforts are focused on the annual spring cleaning and maintenance. Rental cancellations and new bookings are being processed at the same time. The phones are ringing with owners wondering what’s going on in Whistler. At the office it’s all hands on deck and our amazing staff are up to the task.
Our units are mostly empty, save for a few staff who have been spread out to allow for better isolation. To give back to our local community we have been taking monthly rental bookings at more than fair rates – for those who have been kicked out by landlords returning to their otherwise rental units and locals needing to space themselves from sick or at-risk roommates. These rooms would otherwise sit empty so why not?
Every day we inch closer to a clearer picture of this strange new world. Expect Whiski Jack to follow set guidelines including adequate gaps between stays per unit, extra extra cleaning and sanitation of all areas you’ll be in contact with and flexibility with owner stays and guest bookings. Online check in is required to minimize physical contact with our staff. Unfortunately, hot tubs, pools and fitness facilities will remain closed for the unforeseeable future.
Although nearly all summer events are cancelled, Whistler Blackcomb is rumored to be open for Canada Day… There is hope that we may be able to give guests and locals a chance to enjoy the alpine experience that has shaped our identities for so many decades.
So, what’s it like in Whistler, you ask? It’s kind of how it used to be each spring when Whistler was just becoming a world class destination. It’s quiet – for now.