The resort of Whistler is second to none when it comes to embracing new extreme sports or adrenaline junkies.

A new demonstration sport was recently launched in Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It’s called Highway Barrier Slalom (or Bumper Shindig). This new extreme sport will test the driving skills (and nerves) of even the most hardened driver. To make the sport more challenging, residents were given no advance warning and there are no rules.

Andrew Younghusband, the host of the reality TV show, Canada’s Worst Driver would be impressed with this demanding vehicular obstacle course.

Residents realized something was brewing when hundreds of inexplicable yellow pylons and red traffic barrels appeared along the Sea to Sky Highway one morning.

The objective of the game is to drive along the Sea to Sky Highway and avoid hitting the randomly placed yellow pylons, yield signs, flag people and/or traffic barrels, while steering clear of oncoming motorists and getting to your destination in one piece.

If this appears too simple, increase the danger by driving at night, in the rain or during a snowstorm without snow tires. The highway crews will increase the risk level by shifting the road lines and markers on a daily basis. You must avoid the cordoned off bus lanes and the uncontrollable urge to swerve your vehicle and hit the yellow pylons, at all costs.

Bumper Shindig has been a good boost for B.C.’s troubled economy, allowing B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation to dust-off hundreds of unused traffic signs collecting dust in their government warehouses.

No one is sure why all these traffic changes took place in October, when the Olympics don’t begin until mid-February. Not even Whistler’s transit buses are allowed to drive in the bus lanes until then.

A frustrated Whistler posted this rant on Craiglist. “I have been a Whistler local for 10 years now and even I get confused at what is on the road. It’s like a secret society colored pylon code… In the paper, they describe that although the pylons look confusing, the areas will be opened up in four different levels over time. Great… what do we do to unlock these levels?

Another local writes, “Did they forget it snows in Whistler? I would like to know how the highway is going to get plowed with all the yellow pylons in the middle of the road? The snowplow is going to take them out before they’ll be of any use. Or are there going to be piles of snow in the middle of the road? As if we need more hazards on the highway. Just another stupid idea gone too far.”

Mainroad Howe Sound Contracting, the firm responsible for clearing the highway will use snowplows to clear the highway, while smaller bobcats will remove the snow that has accumulated in between the yellow pylons. Just to raise the danger levels, during the Olympics, the plow operators will be accompanied by armed military personnel to minimize the risk of possible hijackings or ambushes.

Mainroad crews never had a chance to test their snow clearing strategies this weekend, given that the tropical Pineapple Express arrived this afternoon and washed away all the snow.

The Lower Mainland and Howe Sound areas are now under a flood alert until Tuesday.


Pina Belperio

Welcome to Word of the Rings, a new blog that aims to serve as a one-stop examination at what’s happening behind the scenes in the lead up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. Pina...