An Ode to Whistler: I should be dead.

I always knew this time would come, I just never knew when or in what way. It’s time for me to say goodbye to Whistler and say; thanks for almost killing me.

Never in my life have I stood on the precipice of death and laughed. I mean that literally. Figuratively I’ve stood on the precipice many times and laughed until I cried, but Whistler provided the unreal opportunity to really be slamming on death’s door.

It was the first time I’ve ever skied in the glades. My friend insisted that my 186 cm long skis would be fine for navigating through trees and I stupidly and naively believed him. I was doing horribly. I pizza’d my way through the glades like a retarded 5 year old while my friend effortlessly manoeuvred and sped his way through on his snowboard. The pizza technique was hardly working and I continued to build speed. My friend had stopped up ahead and I came at him like a rampaging animal before I noticed he was stopped at the edge off a small cliff. I wanted to stop but just screamed ‘OH SHIT’ instead as I plopped over the side head first. Luckily the powder was deep, so when I landed on my neck and continued ricocheting off small rocks it wasn’t that painful. My friend looked mortified as he jumped off the cliff after me, determined to stop my limp body. And yes, I was completely limp. In the face of death my body went into rag-doll mode and I didn’t even try to stop myself from sliding down. I couldn’t feel anything. All my brain could think of when I was tumbling down was the Whistler newsletter headlines: Gay Boy Tumbles Off Cliff And Dies. It would be my last claim to fame. Luckily the whole ordeal was less dramatic than I make it seem, the powder slowly built up around my head and stopped me from sliding down further. I lay motionless for a few seconds, mentally scanning my body for injuries. When I realised nothing was broken I burst out laughing. I was unable to get up because of the way I was laying, so I stayed there and laughed for what seemed to be ages before my friend caught up to me.

This has been my whole whistler experience. I’ve fallen off cliffs (twice), I got a major concussion from stupidly not wearing a helmet, I got a second concussion, I suffered through bronchitis, the flu, throwing up in garbage cans at work from bad hangovers. I’ve fallen off stripper poles, cut my lip from the sharp edges of a snowboard, been trapped in a gondola because of a bear.

Whistler has been life on the edge, and I’ll never experience anything like it ever again.

Mainly it’s been the people that made Whistler a memorable experience. The friends I have made here have been the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. Sure, they have also been the ones to influence me to take that one last drink on a night out that gets me (almost) kicked out of a club called Maxx Fish (Technically they did kick me out but I came crawling back in like a cockroach when they weren’t looking). They’ve been the ones to convince me that drinking 5 jugs of beer the night before bungee jumping is a good idea, or the ones to cheer me on as I funnel an entire bottle of red wine (please don’t ever try it, I actually almost died. But it didn’t stop me from funnelling an entire bottle of Fireball on a seperate occasion. Or funnelling half a bottle of Okanagan peach cider either. Please don’t. Just don’t.).

As you probably guessed, a lot of my fondest memories are fuzzy from a night on the drink. But that’s Whistler life. You really haven’t experienced Whistler until you drunkenly walk up a ski hill at 3 am comforting a crying friend in between throw-ups yelling ‘You’re beautiful! *throw up* Any guy would want you! *throw up*’.

I’ve done many things since I’ve been here. I’ve tried to get recognition as Whistler’s only drag queen (my drag is atrocious but borderline ok when you have no competition). I’ve learned to snowboard so that I can finally be that guy that can say snootily, “I ski AND snowboard.” I’ve zip-lined, hiked, camped, bobsledded, paddle-boarded, sat in a dingy down a river, and more.

Working for Whistler was a pain made better by the people I worked with. Every day I would go to work happy to see all my friends, less happy to deal with stupid customers. Believe me, the customers were stupid. Full on stupid. I was working as a rental tech (someone who sets people up with their ski equipment) and the amount of times I would measure someones feet but they insist that the boot I give them is too small and make me go up three sizes larger is unfathomable. Don’t try and fight me on it bitch I’ve been trained 2 weeks for this!

Living on the poverty line was hard. Mr. Noodles and I became close acquaintances. It didn’t help that I spent most of my money on alcohol but I will never regret that for one second.

I’ve seen some bizarre shit as well. I’ve watched a girl piss on a bathroom floor, a girl took a shit in front of me once, I’ve seen people skiing naked. Once I saw a friend fall down an entire set of concrete stairs. I’ve drunkenly played bumper-cars with laundry carts in a hotel parkade. I got my drink drugged once and watched the trees melt upwards and everything I looked at was shades of red.

This place will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve come so far from who I was before to who I am now. I feel more energised about life. Feel more positive about things. And it’s really cool to be around people who just don’t give a fuck about who you are. We all came here for the same reasons: to have fun and make friends. I feel like I’ve accomplished that and more.

Every person here has affected me in brilliant ways. It didn’t matter if it was a best friend or someone I met drunk at a bar once, everyone had a story to tell and piece of their story will stay with me forever.

I know an ode is supposed to be a poem, but I can’t put all of this into poetic words. The entire experience was poetic and I am unable to capture that in any significant way. The best way I can are with these words I have put in writing here.

A piece of Whistler will always be a part of me wherever I go. I may leave, but it will never be forgotten.

I’ll send it into the next life,
Cody Oak.

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