One of the great things about the #WhistlerUnfiltered project is the number of different Whistler locals who have jumped on board to share all the different things that makes their lives in Whistler so awesome. This week we’re hooking up with 22-year-old Whistler filmmaker/photographer/artist and lover of all things extreme Eric Beckstead to talk about local culture, summer, and the value of the “secret spot.”
Whistler Insider: What’s happening in this shot?
Eric: Just chilling. These are a couple buddies that I grew up with in Calgary who moved to Whistler not long after I did but we had all been too busy to hang out. One day they called and said “lets hit this spot” and we got there just as the sun was going down and had it all to ourselves, which is kind of rare. It was a gem of a day.
Insider: This looks like the kind of place that can get crowded pretty easily. Talk about what makes Whistler’s “Secret Spots” special.
Eric: I think it doesn’t matter where you live, everyone has a local or special spot they like to go with their friends. In a city it might be a certain coffee shop or café that you love or that is away from the usual crowds. For us it’s often a hike to a hidden lake or viewpoint, preferably with something extreme involved like cliff jumping… or a pow stash in the winter.
Insider: What happens when a secret spot becomes un-secret?
Eric: Yeah, that happens. The dock in this picture is not there anymore because too many people went up there the other day and now there are boards missing and it’s totally trashed. It’s not even a problem of too many people– all you need is the one dude who doesn’t understand how it all works, how to respect the dock or be safe on the ropeswing or whatever. But someone who cares about the spot will go rebuild that dock. The thing about Whistler is so many of us come from somewhere else but we are all here for the same reasons and we share the same goals and pursuits. Lots of people understand the value of these sort of spots.
Insider: What’s your favourite thing about summer in Whistler?
Eric: It feels like time slows down a bit– those summer nights just holding onto every last second and soaking in it. Whether you’re down at the lake lingering after sunset or camping out all night under stars, it just feels like everyone comes together in the summer a bit. It’s just about meeting new people and taking it nice and slow (when you’re not sending it in extreme ways of course!).
Insider: What about Whistler people? What do you like most?
Eric: People push it. They are really creative because this is such an awesome place to have a clear mind and focus on whatever you do. Whether it’s art or sports or anything, we’re just surrounded by a lot of people doing the same things with tons of talent, and that pushes everyone to shine out here.
Insider: If you had friends in town for the weekend and they could only do three activities what would you tell them to do?
Eric: For sure, you gotta float the River of Golden Dreams. That is a classic float and something everyone can do. (Editor’s Note: There are guided tours available but if you decide to go at it on your own be aware the police are issuing tickets for open alcohol, littering or not having a life jacket. Please be respectful and keep the river clean and pristine).
Number two, I’d say everyone should jump in a lake. The higher the place you jump from the better.
Last, I’d just say do something extreme. Pushing it in a way you wouldn’t at home. Could be biking or hiking up a mountain onto a glacier, bungee, zipline…whatever. Just do something out of your comfort zone that might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Insider: Favourite summer patio?
Eric: It keeps changing on me but that is a good problem to have I guess. These days I like El Furn. Every time I go there I see people I know and everyone who works there is super friendly and treats you right. Plus it’s five-dollar food and good sized portions, you can’t go wrong with that.
Eric is currently working on a web-series called “Off the Wall Kids” alongside his friend and collaborator Anna Lengstrand. The series showcases local athletes, artists and entrepreneurs while focusing on the lifestyle and culture of the Whistler community. Check out their latest episode.
Be sure to keep checking and contributing more epic Whistler photos to the #WhistlerUnfiltered page and you can always get helpful advice on finding your own sweet little pieces of Whistler at the Visitor Centre in Whistler Village.