Whistler, it’s a town with a heartbeat. A place where the people and the landscape become one. The mountains are reborn with the seasons, each offering a unique method to explore and appreciate them. Shaped by ancient glaciers and the power of the ocean, Whistlers deep valleys have beckoned adventurous souls here for over 60 years. These like-minded individuals have made their mark on the community, in the hearts of others and left footprints in the mountains we call home. There is a shared love for this place by all that live here, but their individual personalities couldn’t be more different. We want to celebrate these individuals that are shaping and leading our community. There’s no denying that mother nature carved this wildly beautiful place with her power, but it’s the people that give this town a heartbeat.

Join us as we celebrate the souls that are intertwined with the identity of Whistler as we roll out our Characters of Whistler series. This collection of residents believe pushing the limits is the norm, they aren’t content with the status quo. They strive for excellence, see the big picture and know how to instill change. They’ve each found their own way of showcasing what they love – our town – and sharing it in a unique way.


Artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, motivators, movers and shakers, creators, innovators and those who foster growth in others – these are the people we celebrate. These are the people that love our town, the mountains around it and the people in it. These are the people that are making the future Whistler. Living legends. The characters of Whistler.

Follow along on Gibbons Whistler Facebook for the full episodes and teasers on Gibbons Whistler Instagram and Apres Lager Instagram. For further exposure on each Character of Whistler, we’ll be doing a blog feature to dive even deeper. 


Johnny “Foon” Chilton, a man’s name that is interchangeable with the concept of being connected to where you live and how you play. Johnny Chilton is the man behind the local Pemberton based company Foon Skis, but he’s so much more than just a man that makes skis. He’s a man that knows the calculated impact of every action he takes or deliberately chooses not to. He is inspirationally intune with mother nature and over time has developed a sustainable relationship with her. Watch Johnny’s Character Video below and read this article about him to try and wrap your head around just how incredible he is for the Whistler community. here.


A humble soul, Kris Kupskay – or “Kups” as most know him – is constantly surprised when people want to purchase his work despite nearing a decade of doing exactly that. Infused with wit and oozing with grace, any interaction with Kups is as memorable as his artwork. Bigger than his biggest mural is the collection of community project’s he chooses to pursue and a big part of why we choose him as a true Character of Whistler. Not only is he a visionary in the arts, but he is all about sharing his talent and marrying it with the mountains we love so much. Read on about Kups here. 


Nadia Samer, a Whistler lady with intentions as pure as gold. She’s building a legacy much bigger than the mountains that form her epicenter and this is what we admire most about her. Overcoming injuries, maintaining a career as a professional athlete and in the midst of pursuing a medical degree, she somehow manages to donate much of her time to encouraging females to get involved in the outdoors and participate in the Whistler community full heartedly. Oh and just to clarify, when we say professional athlete, it’s not just in one discipline – she’s a professional skier, snowmobiler, speed flyer, and avid downhill mountain biker. No doubt here, Nadia Samer is most definitely a Character of Whistler. Read more about Nadia Samer in her dedicated blog post here.


A loveable lady, whose name needs no introduction – Mercedes Nicoll as you know her is a snowboard halfpipe Olympian (x4), a professional snowboarder, and a captivating action sports personality. The Mercedes Nicoll we want you to meet is all of those things and more, the one that you don’t often get to see is what truly makes her a Character of Whistler. She generously donates her time to bring our community together in a variety of ways. She makes everyone she meets feel part of something bigger with her warm personality and contagious smile. Read more about what Mercedes is up to currently and why we think she’s a genuine Character of Whistler here


You’ve seen his work in magazines, online and adorning our beautiful town. A name that is well known and respected within the Whistler community, Blake Jorgenson undoubtedly fits the bill of being a “Character of Whistler“. Clocking over 25 years here Blake has seen his fair share of changes to the landscape and the community of Whistler. His stunning images provide inspiration for all to get outside and embrace the ripe adventures that fill the Sea to Sky corridor. Photography aside, Blake has touched many lives and bettered the town that we call home – a man living his legacy no doubt. We often reference his work and accomplishments but few of us really know the backstory on the man behind the photos. We’re thrilled to expose the happenings behind Blakes lens in this Character of Whistler episode. Read more on the Blake Jorgenson blog here.


The most consistent thing about this Character of Whistler? She knows how to have a really really really good time, all the time. Ace MacKay-Smith is a friendly face at nearly every noteworthy Whistler event. From event planning, DJing, dancing, decor design to supporting events as a passionate community member, Ace’s presence always elevates the atmosphere of any gathering. Planting her roots here over 30 years ago this radiant ball of energy known as Ace MacKay is deeply intertwined with the Whistler that we know and love. It’s easy to say that she’s an integral part of Whistler, aka “Character of Whistler” material, read the full story on Ace Mackay-Smith here.


Her shinny soul beams through her contagious smile and is apparent in her welcoming approach. Heather Paul is an instant friend to all who have the good fortune of meeting her and it is this superpower of connecting our Whistler world in a positive way that has her on our radar as a Character of Whistler. Heather is the biggest instigator for the performing arts in Whistler and has crafted a thriving theater culture around it through her hard work and by pursuing her passion. She was also a very deserving recipient of the Whistler Citizen of the Year Award in 2017. It’s not just her accomplishments that make Heather Paul a true Characters of Whistler, it’s also her approach to life, work, play, family and community that somehow she seems to gracefully intertwine them in a beautiful way that encourages her own personal growth and growth for all who surround her. Read more about Heather Paul here.

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year-round snow seeker, photographer and writer.