What’s in a name?

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I’m so mad at my buddy Christopher. He’s president at Sun Peaks and you’d think he’d appreciate my offer to name a few runs on the new terrain that’s opening as the ink on this issue dries, but after I made some suggestions, he said they’re all spoken for. I gave him some of my best and he told me there’s nothing left to christen.

I think he’s just jealous that he didn’t come up with this great stuff himself.

So, as of today, I’m officially making all my ski run names royalty-free, folks, first-come, first-served, for any hill in the country. And don’t believe the superstition that it’s bad luck to change the name of an established run—these names are gold. They’ll bring nothing but snow at night and sunny days once the signage on your trail map is updated.

  1. Given how many people in Canada love Toronto, I know my first suggestion will go fast. Who wants to be the first resort to name or rename their biggest, fattest bowl in honour of the city’s fleshy former mayor, Rob Ford? Perfect if it sits below a hanging glacier with a huge crack in it. Need a spot to centre your next Gay Ski Week Festivities around? Or any time you and buddy want to do a bowl, you could just say, “Hey, let’s do a Rob Ford.”
  1. How about the “Putin Takeover”? If you ski at a big bully resort and it sits close enough to a neighbouring ski area, why not do a land grab on a run that’s close by? All you’ll need to complete the expansion is a little summertime reshaping with a bulldozer so that traffic pours back to your base lodge instead of the competition.
  1. For a really tough trail, unexpected obstacles, changing conditions, poor lighting, a run where you’re knocked silly if you don’t keep your wits about you…how about, wait for it, “The Ghomeshi”! Eh? I know, pretty good you’re saying. I can hear the chairlift chatter already: “You gotta do Ghomeshi early in the morning or it gets packed down pretty bad.”
  1. Old-timers will remember how many hills in the ’70s and ’80s used to let half their runs bump up. Moguls the size of Volkswagen Beetles, top to bottom, sometimes so large, so numerous, they would swallow the young, the old and infirm. It wasn’t just the T-bar ride up that made the laps take so long; the getting down part sometimes required time off from work or school. Today’s billiard-table-smooth slopes were unheard of, about as natural as, say, Accutane. If I were on your hill’s naming committee, you and buddy could put on your GS cruisers and go rip a face, the smoothest one, of course, being corporately sponsored: “The Accutane.”
  1. How about simply “Tar Sands” as an Albertan welcoming mat? Or better yet, pump bodies from one area of the mountain to another on a particularly slow connector run called the “XL Pipeline.”
  1. Who has the longest run in the country? One that seemingly goes on forever? That signage and honour should go to Mississauga’s 93-year-old recently retired mayor, Hazel McCallion. We hear she’s now headed to the terrain park to work on her cork 360.
  1. After agreeing the trail back to the clinic (“Ebola Boulevard”) was too much, Test Editor Ronnie Betts and his lovely wife, Lora, offered a good one for another big alpine bowl. “The ‘Mike Duffy’,” suggests Ron, “you never actually ski it, you just claim to ski there half the time, then, when you get busted, you get a buddy to ski it for you and say you did it.”
  1. You know that big space in the forest or rock face between slopes? “The Gap” could represent your favourite Brit—not the one on his Gap year, the one with the British teeth.
  1. If your ski area’s terrain park typically has an ambulance idling and a few litigation lawyers milling about nearby, I’ve always been fond of dropping RedBull references for something more realistic like “Carnage Corral.”
  1. And finally, Steve Harper’s disinterest in all things skiing doesn’t mean our PM can’t one day be coaxed to your resort for a speech and ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a newly named run. How about “Piste de Prorogue” and close ’er down whenever you want to save the powder for resort brass—or when things just aren’t going your way?

by Iain MacMillan in the December 2014 issue

Iain MacMillan
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