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‘Operation Brownhill’: Whistler secretly preparing for a future without snow

Confidential report details ‘extreme measures’ in the works
Whistler: World’s Biggest Snow Globe?

UPDATE: We hope you enjoyed this year's April Fool's Day story! In truth, there is no such thing as Operation Brownhill—though maybe there should be.


Whistler officials have long talked publicly of the longer, hotter, drier summers predicted under climate modelling, but the impact of such a change has always seemed a somewhat distant reality.

Now, a new confidential report shared with Pique shows some of the “extreme measures” Whistler is willing to take to keep the local tourism economy alive.

“Operation Brownhill,” as it’s referred to in the report, consists of a series of escalating acts the municipality and local stakeholders can implement to ensure the visitor dollars keep flowing and no local landlords ever have to lower their rents.

The measures start off relatively benign, listing things like investing in weatherproof opportunities, before swiftly escalating to what the report refers to as “extreme measures.”

Prepared for Whistler by Puerto Rican consulting firm Empresafalsa-Malchiste, the report details several drastic tourism scenarios for Whistler.

“A lack of frozen precipitation need not spell the end of skiing in paradise,” said Mala Traducción, president and CEO of Empresafalsa-Malchiste, in the report.

“The beautiful people of Puerto Rico have much to teach Whistler about brown-slope alpine skiing.”

Cerro de Punta, Puerto Rico’s tallest peak, measures 1,340 metres at its tallest point, a far cry from Whistler Mountain’s 2,181m or Blackcomb’s 2,436m—but that hasn’t stopped the island paradise’s exuberant population from tearing up its slopes for centuries, Traducción said.

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence proving Puerto Rico’s earliest Indigenous inhabitants, the Taino, who existed for hundreds of years on the tropical island before Spanish contact, often spent their leisure time sending the slopes of Cerro de Punta using skis fashioned out of the tough skin and spear-like snout of the native giant blue marlin.

“Puerto Rico and indeed its people are resilient and resourceful,” Traducción said.

“We would like to share that gift with the white world of Whistler.”

The report is separated into two categories: Brownhill Skiing and White Forever.

In the first category, Empresafalsa-Malchiste floats ideas for coping with a future with less snow in the valley.

As a first step, the report suggests native Taino elders be relocated to Whistler permanently to share the ancient crafting technique for brownhill skis—as well as how to manouevre them on dirt and rocks.

The report notes Traduccion also owns Puerto Rico’s largest commercial fishing company, and can source as many giant blue marlins as necessary for the unique skis.

“We are aware of Whistler’s immense housing crunch, but fear not—our elders are perfectly comfortable sleeping under bridges or in the alcoves of storefronts, and they are accustomed to eating very little,” Traducción said.

Another idea floated under the Brownhill Skiing category is simply called Dirt Denial.

It suggests technology like augmented and virtual reality incorporated into products such as the Apple Vision Pro could “trick” skiers’ brains into thinking they were still skiing a winter wonderland, even when the snow is long gone.

Specific zones of the mountain could be equipped with enhanced safety measures—think kiddie guardrails at a bowling alley—while specialized ski suits would lessen the blow of falls on dirt and rocks.

“The technology is not there yet—either in physical suit design or visuals—but it is coming,” Traducción said.

Where things take a shocking turn is in the White Forever category.

Empresafalsa-Malchiste holds absolutely nothing back in its proposals, noting it is only answering the prayers of Whistler and its millions of annual guests.

While Vail Resorts has employed cloud-seeding tactics to increase snowfall at its properties for decades—a form of geoengineering—the practice has yet to come to Whistler.

Empresafalsa-Malchiste suggests Whistler Blackcomb skip that step entirely, and move directly to a giant, refrigerated dome.

“Not only would such a structure answer the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s prayers for complete, God-like control over every aspect, emotion and thought in the resort—weather and conditions included—the marketing is worth the spend alone,” Traducción said.

“I ask you to imagine a poster with five simple words—Whistler: World’s Biggest Snow Globe.”

But that’s not all. Still in the vein of geoengineering—and taking a page from an iconic episode of The Simpsons—the report suggests Whistler consider blocking out the sun over the resort for a predetermined amount of time every day.

“Doing so would theoretically allow more control over temperature, and in turn, snow conditions,” Traducción said.

“Though to be fair, we do not have snow in Puerto Rico, so this theory still requires testing.”

One theory the consultant is more confident in takes a concept already in play locally—relocating lifts to higher elevations as climate change delivers less snow—to a frightening extreme.

In a last-ditch effort, Empresafalsa-Malchiste proposes excavating the whole of Blackcomb Mountain and stacking it atop Whistler, instantly doubling the resort’s elevation and securing its winters for generations to come.

“Such an idea sounds implausible, admittedly, but Empresafalsa-Malchiste works with only the finest minds in construction and engineering, and they assure us the work is not only possible, but essential,” Traducción said.

Empresafalsa-Malchiste’s head engineer will no doubt be familiar to astute Pique readers, having had his hand in seemingly every harebrained scheme floated in the resort in the past decade.

“Excavation is more than sweaty grunt work, hairy chests and veiny biceps heaving and ho’ing under the hot, summer sun,” said the eccentric entrepreneur and passionate nudist Pené Esposti, when Pique reached him by phone from his new home in Puerto Rico.

“Excavation is but an expression of universal intimacy—cupping and caressing Mother Nature’s sweet, natural bosom; gazing upon her eternal, matronly form—knowing in your heart of all hearts it can be made better with the rugged touch of a man.”

Esposti estimated it would only take “a couple of decades or more” and a few tens of billions of dollars to fully extricate Blackcomb from the Earth and reposition her on top of Whistler.

“Or Whistler on top of Blackcomb—whichever the community prefers,” he said.

“We want to be good partners with the good people of Whistler and respect their wishes.”

Asked about the labour requirements for such a task, Esposti said his company, led by his three adult sons Ano, Pubico, and Palle, has fostered a deep relationship with Puerto Rico’s Indigenous Taino.

Over the course of several months, the four men lived amongst the Taino, sharing their food and beds, bonding over their shared love of being naked all the time.

Esposti described a deep and passionate connection with the ancient people, one forged not in intimacy, but a profound, otherworldly understanding that modern-day rules and structures and norms only get in the way of good, naked living.

“The Taino are unburdened, in any sense of the word. They swing freely in all directions,” Esposti said.

“They will have that mountain dug up—whichever one the people of Whistler decide, of course—in a couple of decades, tops.

“In the meantime, they can sleep under bridges and in the alcoves of storefronts.”

Asked if he had any other messages for the people of Whistler, Esposti said only to wish every Pique reader a very happy April Fool’s Day, however they choose to celebrate.