Lounging With Locals: Karen Stefanson
My Whistler story is the opposite of most people who move here for one season of winter fun and then carve out a lifestyle so that they can stay. I moved here for a job and then discovered all the excitement after I arrived! I was serious about my career in the city but my subconscious must have wanted a change because after a brief visit, I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in jobs in the resort. A few days later, he sent me a job posting and within a month, I was living in Whistler.
I was unsure about my sudden decision to change towns but I quickly met new friends who opened my eyes to the Whistler lifestyle. Within my first year: I skied after a 12 year break, learned how to snowboard, explored the fine art of après, took up cross country skiing, trail rode my mountain bike, and finally just relaxed for the first time in years. Living in Whistler has helped me to create a balanced lifestyle with an amazing job, great activities and awesome friends.
Tell us an interesting Whistler story.
“Really? Whistler closes down certain streets at night for bears to safely cross the road? What time? Will I be able to get back to my house?”
Thankfully, I did not bolt out of a party on my first night in Whistler based on a joke to pull a fast one on the new girl. I moved to Whistler on a sunny afternoon in 2006 and I was relieved I loved my rental suite as I had only seen it over the internet. And bonus, the only friend I had in town was having a BBQ that day so I was raring start my new life.
I left the party feeling my gullibility survived and I was confident I could easily fit in as a local. However, as I drove back to my place that confidence took a nose dive as I arrived to my street and I had no idea which house was mine! No one warned me there were no street lights in Whistler and it is seriously dark! I nervously drove around the block numerous times, narrowed it down to a couple of potential houses, parked in one wrong driveway and was so relieved when I eventually found the door where my keys fit! Now, six years later, I still love seeing all the stars (but I always keep a mini-flashlight on my key chain)!
What makes Whistler Awesome?
Easy question – it is the people! My job involves connecting with local businesses and every day, I am amazed by the creativity and talent in our community. Everyone here has made the choice to live in Whistler so there are amazing stories about how people arrived here and how they are working to create a life for themselves in this town.
What’s Whistler’s best kept secret?
Summer! Yes, we are a winter resort but the summers are fantastic too. I love riding my bike to work, people watching as I eat lunch in the sunny Village Square, hitting a bucket of golf balls after work, and then biking straight to a beach for a swim with friends. And that is just Monday to Friday so imagine the weekends…..
What do you really want to say to the world?
To Whistler and the world – Whistler inspires! Whether you are here for a weekend or the rest of your life: the mountains, people, and energy are a magical combination!