Mike Douglas shows us around his home resort of Whistler, BC

The Godfather of freeskiing and Salomon TV supremo on his home turf of Whistler

How many years have you been skiing?

I started at the age of 10 on a school trip; I’m 46 now, so 36 years.

Why base yourself in Whistler?

I grew up on Vancouver Island, skiing Mount Washington, but came to Whistler in 1988 thinking I’d give myself a year to get skiing out of my system after high school. It didn’t quite happen!

Tell us about your first skiing experience at Whistler

Vancouver Island is not that far away, just 100 miles or so as the crow flies, but the ski experience is very different. You’d drive for an hour, get to the hill with nothing there: just a basic lodge and lifts. I couldn’t believe Whistler was actually a town, with people living there. Most of whom were as into skiing as me.

How many days have you skied Whistler over the years?

For 15 years in a row I had more than 40 days a year summer skiing, never mind winter! There was a time, when I was
super-actively skiing and travelling, that I’d card over 200 days a year. The Whistler pass records how many days you do, and last winter I think mine was something like 50 days on the hill.

Best day ever skiing Whistler?

That’s a tough one to answer. The best period was during the Olympics in 2010. Locals were skeptical and I was no different, but once it started the electricity was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I was out every night as there was always something cool happening, while the ski hill was deserted.

“There was a snowdrift buried… I flew through the air for another 50 feet” | Adam Clark

Favourite funny crash story from Whistler?

One time I was all cued up for a famous Whistler cliff called Air Jordan. I waited for the camera to be ready, and there were 300 or 400 people in the lift line watching. I made the cliff all fine, but on the run-out there was a snowdrift buried. I thought I had more time to get my feet out from under me than was the case, and I flew through the air for another 50 feet.

Have you ever been banned or chased by patrol?

Not really. I’ve been warned to drop my speed as much as anyone, but I realised pretty early on that if I didn’t tow the line it would cost me a ton of money.

Tell us something we don’t know about Whistler?

Greg Stump was my neighbour for four years, and Seal, when he was married to Heidi Klum, lived here for a while. He was
a snowboarder and really into it. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also stayed in a house near mine 15 years ago and taught snowboarding!

One thing we shouldn’t miss in resort?

Take a run on the Blackcomb glacier. For North Americans that’s the closest they’ll get to European high-altitude skiing.

What’s Whistler’s best dish?

We’ve arguably some of the best Japanese food in the world. I like a place called Sushi Village (sushivillage.com).

Is there anywhere we should avoid?

Not really. Just have a good attitude to weather. It’s often raining in the valley, socked in and grey, but by the end of the first or second lift it will be cold and snowy, or sunny.

Fall-Line Skiing Magazine
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