If it only took 1,332 people to colonize Australia when the first fleet landed there in 1788, then Whistler, which hires 2,000 Aussies a year, probably isn't even a part of Canada anymore. At least, that's the way it feels every Australia Day.
I’m meeting my fixer at the Longhorn Saloon—de facto main terminal for Whistler’s Australia Day comings and goings. I needed a tour guide/translator/security detail and his qualifications are as good as they come. A deep-pit underground miner from Queensland, 200 pounds of meat and muscle, he stands a head above the crowd, is not afraid to throw a punch, can charm a waitress into an extra shot with a sly grin and a generous tipping hand, is familiar with the sleeping arrangements inside the Whistler lockup, has been pepper-sprayed by the RCMP and can drink a Canadian softball league under the table. And he works for beer.
I’m late for our rendezvous. I sweet-talk the doorman into letting me pass, even though the bar is on lock-down until a wave of people washes out the door. My apparent sympathy for the doorman’s predicament as one of the few non- Aussies on staff, forced to work this shift, acts as a secret handshake. We roll our eyes that après circa 3 p.m. is actually this messy.
My fixer is holding a table for us in the corner of the patio (did I mention he’s my little brother?). I try to gauge how long I’ve kept him waiting.
“How long have you been here?”
“I can drink a beer in two minutes.”
“I’ll get you another then,” and I push my way into the bar.
ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN SBC SKIER MAGAZINE - TO VIEW THE FULL ARTICLE IN ALL IT'S GLORY, HEAD OVER TO WWW.SBCSKIER.COM | AUTHOR: LISA RICHARDSON | PHOTO: ERIC BERGER | ISSUE 10.4