Whistler Through Instagram – The Realities
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Whistler Through Instagram – The Realities

#WhisLife is written by Harry Patchett, an Australian/Canadian on his first winter season living and working in Whistler, BC. Below, he shares his experience and first impressions as a new arrival to our mountain town, hyped on the selective portrayal of Whistler through Instagram.

Harry Patchett

On the Tourism Whistler website I’d stare at their backdrop photo. The mountain runs looked like a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with mint chocolate sauce dripping down the slopes. It looked so tasty.

Before coming to Whistler I scrolled Instagram daily on #whistler. The pictures revealed secret spots, action sports and the tourist traps to avoid. It also showed me what my age bracket are up to and where I should get my first drink.

Instagram only shows you the best of days and most memorable of moments so my expectations of what I would arrive to in the fall was skewed. I didn’t yet know the difficulties I’d have to overcome to get to experience the special moments in Whistler.

Instagram image: Powder snowboard shot.

Blue skies and pow days make for great Instagram shots. Photo: Scott Martin

For one, I looked forward to easily finding a location to live with fluffy white covers in bed and a view straight through to the mountains.

Instagram image: View of the mountains from bedroom in Whistler.

View from the bedroom window bragging rights. Photo: Matt Kingsmill

Turns out finding a place to live is like the moment the patient goes critical on the operating table – alarm bells and flashing lights. If you have staff accom then congratulations, but I don’t. I trawled the Whistler Winter Facebook group and snagged a two-week rental of a bedroom in a house with a couple of Canadians. I’ve got a view to constant construction and a glimpse of a mountain top if I get the angle right.

The usual occupant of my room had skipped off to Mexico, which made sense as the weather is shit here this time of year. However, that’s what you have to put up with if you want a decent job and that chance of a good room for the season – it’s competitive to say the least. You just have to envisage the gram images of powder filled slopes as you zip up your jacket to the incessant rain.

Instagram image: Lost Lake Whistler

Living the dream in Whistler. Photo: @jacsainsbury

It was dark when I arrived in Whistler so I was forced to wait until the next day before seeing this type of mountain glory. I woke to low hanging grey clouds that drizzled rain. It kept up the water works for the next week.

It’s snowing on top, the blue skies will come.

I told myself on my daily morning walks in the rain to the bus stop.

Whistler is a party town, but during the day the people are tucked up adjusting to the cold and seeking sanctuary in the warmth of where they need to be. This is thankfully where Instagram couldn’t misconstrue reality. The evening shows there is serious drinking, dining and more drinking underway.

Instagram image: Getting boozy in Whistler

Whistler does know how to party. Photo: @emmabeds

The rain has passed and I’ve seen the mountain peaks on a blue day with wide paths of grass cut into the mountain ready to be transformed into that ice cream again. Before the mountain opens I look forward to Thursdays. The #tbt (throw back Thursdays) #whistler shows me what glory is on the way.

We’re at the middle point of November and life in Whistler is about to accelerate really fast…

Harry Patchett