When You’re Gone…
Whistler can really sink its teeth into you. Grab you by the hair, the toes, inject you with adrenaline and PBR’s, and suddenly you’re hooked. It’s a million things that can make you fall – hook, line and sinker – in love with Whistler, and they make the sometimes inevitable, and unenviable, transition back ‘home to reality’ that much harder.
Whilst I’ve been away from Whistler, travelling in the UK for a friend’s wedding, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with one such victim of Visa issues, the Token Englishman of Voleurz; Callum Jelley. I met Cal just over a year ago, three years into his stint in Whistler. A bright eyed and bushy tailed young chap, Cal was a passionate, determined, and hilarious addition to the core company Voleurz, winners of the Intersection competion at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival for both years of its existence.
Cal threw everything he had at everything he did.. Wow, this is starting to sound like a eulogy. He is, I can report, in wonderful health, and has an even fuller head of hair than when I last saw him in Whistler, October 2011. Due to work permit problems between the UK and Canada, Cal had to leave us earlier than anyone would’ve liked, and is furiously working on getting back to Whistler, to indulge in activities of ‘awesome status’ as soon as humanly possible. I was very lucky to be able to catch up with him over a warm pint of beer in a quaint Yorkshire pub, and find out why he’s so desperate to make it back to Whistler.
Please tell me a little about YOU.. Name, where you’re from, occupation..
Callum Jelley, from 2 Rose Cottage, The Shire, England. I’m 23, and a Filmmaker, writer, photographer, salesman, Token Englishman, Voleur.
Why did you end up in Whistler? How long you were there? And what you did when you were there?
Came to Whistler when I was 18 seeking fame fortune and adventure in the world of bikes. Lived in Whistler for 4 years. I made bike films, ski films, wrote for magazines and worked in the greatest emporium of awesome in Whistler, Katmandu Sports.
Why did you had to leave? Was it voluntarily or forced due to visa, home obligations, etc?
Had to leave due to Visa running out. Sadface . But spent two months in Indo then rode a footcycle from Singapore to Bangkok accompanied only by two bottles of the finest scotch.
What do you miss about Whistler?
I miss the mountains. Their presence. My friends, Mason, Mikey, the Voleurz family. Everyone. I miss the people, I miss the bars, I miss the shredding, I miss my life.
What makes Whistler special?
Some combination of a collective ethos to have the best time possible, as much of the time as possible. To be outside and using the environment around you for all its worth. A community that I feel more at home in that being here where I was brought up.
What are the things you remember and cherish the most about your time in Whistler?
Now that is a tough question. Chap laps in the bike park, Sicknics in Garbanzo with Mason, drinking scotch and getting towed into town on my skate, winning Intersection, walks with Chang and Mikey, skiing DOA with Matty Richard after only skiing for 4 days, seeing all my favorite people almost everyday, Kat and Liam in the Longhorn, Harrison in retirement. Sailing around the seas with Rusty, owner of Katmandu, being pirate drunks. Everyone and everything so much, so it’s like my heart is broken being separated.
Do you have plans to go back?
Yes, I’m waiting on an application for a Labour Market Opinion through the Canadian Government. Fingers crossed.
Can you tell us a little about the differences between your hometown and Whistler?
Where you were brought up is always going to hold a special place in your heart, but for me the rolling hills and calm countryside of the Shire doesn’t have enough for me. I need mountains, I need the drama of the landscape and the possibilities of making films with the best and most creative filmakers and athletes in the world.
With any luck we will see our Token Englishman back on his bike, tearing around the village, drinking scotch from tea cups and generally enjoying the amazing awesomeness of Whistler, before we know it. Appreciate what you have, you never know when it might be taken away from you.