Boy in the (Whistler) Bubble

When one thinks of a bubble-like environment, images of sterility, utter boredom, and isolation spring to mind. Most bubbles I would not want to inhabit, mostly because it probably would mean that I had something the rest of the world wanted no part of (ie supervirus) or the world had something I wanted no part of (ie supervirus). Either way, not something I want to deal with.

I just spent three weeks in a bubble that I have come to really enjoy. This bubble has nothing to do with apocalyptic plagues or immune-deficiency issues. The Whistler Bubble is much more enjoyable, and the only disease I have heard to be lurking around this particular bubble is the occasional STD, which seemingly goes hand in hand with the lifestyle of resort towns.

The Whistler Bubble is anything but sterile, thriving on all outdoor (and some indoor) activities which inherently involve getting down and dirty. Boredom is a vague concept, as there are more than enough fun things to do, even for the most ADHD-afflicted youth, many of which come to the Summer Gravity Camps, where I was coaching for the three weeks. Like a translucent sphere, the rest of the world does seem distant, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Why keep up on current world events when the local newspaper reserves the majority of its pages to local issues, toonie race results and farmer’s market schedules?

By definition the area within a bubble is relatively small, hence a car is not necessary. Bicycles reign supreme in Whistler, connected by the extensive web of paved paths known as the Valley Trail, the amazing web of trails in the Whistler Bike Park, and the many more kilometers of cross country and downhill trails that lace the Whistler Valley. Just don’t try and ride your bike through the pedestrian-only Village or the by-law enforcers will be on you faster than a fat kid on a smartie, and will dole you out an equally hefty fine.

A bike quiver, while not mandatory, does make time in the Bubble even better. Mornings I would ride on my road bike to the Bike Park via the Valley Trails, soaking up the fresh air and warming up the legs. After breakfast the roadie would get swapped for the Stinky, and I would proceed to shred the Park up all day. After the day of coaching in the, the Stinky would get washed off, lubed, and stabled for the night and the Lacon Inc would come out for some pumptrack laps in the evening light. Then, back to my borrowed chalet on the road bike, maybe venturing into the Village for an ice cream (walking my bike, of course). A dip in a lake (a few of which are conveniently located beside the Valley Trail) was also an evening requirement. My XC bike had a three week hiatus due to coaching for SGC. I would have brought it too, but there is just not enough time in the day! And my legs would have fallen off after less than a week of trying to keep up my routine plus a daily XC shred.

It was a bit of a shock to the system to leave and return home to Vancouver. It is easy to become complacent in Whistler’s alpine utopia, so it was good to get back to the hustle and bustle of city life. It is comforting to know however, that Whistler is just up the road from the city, waiting for me in all its bubble-like perfection.