My Whistler — Full Circle for Local Olympian
By Katherine Fawcett / Images By Joern Rohde
Name: Michael Janyk
Occupation: Alpine Skier and Executive Director, Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Michael Janyk meets every qualification to be crowned a local hero. The 39-year-old Whistlerite is a three-time Olympian, coach, B.C. Ski Team consultant, former program director for the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club, and co-founder of the Mike and Manny Foundation (mikeandmanny.com), the latter with fellow World Cup downhill skier and Olympian Manuel (Manny) Osborne-Paradis. The foundation’s mission is to “provide financially free opportunities for youth to discover themselves through sharing our passion (for) skiing.”
When he was a young skier, Janyk was part of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s (WMSC) J4 program. The 2021-’22 winter season marks a full-circle return as he takes over the reins as executive director for the WMSC — one of the strongest ski clubs in Canada. The position allows Janyk the opportunity to engage with the community and the sport he loves, on the mountains he calls home. wmsc.info
What is your favourite pastime or activity and why?
Does napping count? If not, then mountain biking in the summer, skiing in the winter, or a nice simple, quiet, long dog walk in the woods with nothing else to do.
What is your favourite ski run and why?
Banana Peel, mostly because we thought it was called Papoose for the longest time, but Papoose is the run beside it. Banana Peel is short, but it’s always empty, with lots of space for big turns and a few side hits that are fun to rip with kids. Other notables are Christmas Trees, West Cirque and Lower Gear Jammer.
What is your favourite food and why?
Burritos. Anything Mexican, with beans, rice, guacamole and salsa is good with me. Plus, it’s tasty and the best bang for the buck out of any food.
What is your favourite place for après and why?
Dusty’s on a normal day — great live music and friendly faces. But, if we’re feeling a little more upscale, then Bar Oso in ski boots is a great way to go. Great cocktails in an intimate space.
What is your favourite drive and why?
I enjoy Duffey Lake Road on a sunny winter day. It’s stunning. Coming back into the Pemberton Valley from Lillooet, seeing the lake at the top of the pass with the steep mountains and glaciers overhead is unreal.
Where is your favourite place to take in nature and why?
I won’t say my favourite. There’s gotta be some secrets left… so an enjoyable spot is sitting on the bench at the Lost Lake dog park that looks up at Whistler and Blackcomb. Another spot is the Big Timber lookout off Kadenwood. You’ll know why when you get there.
What is your favourite place to catch the sunrise or sunset and why?
The Kees and Claire Memorial Hut on the Spearhead Traverse. Set just above Russet Lake, it illuminates in reds, oranges and yellows in morning and evening light. Sit in the comfort of the hut with a coffee, tea, beer or wine and enjoy!
What is your favourite place to splurge and why?
The Rim Rock Café. The food and service are consistent and so great. So friendly, and you feel like you’re at home.
What is your favourite place to learn about local culture and history and why?
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a great place to start to gain perspective of the original keepers of these lands. Paired with this, take a hike to Nairn Falls and read the folklore along the way.
What is your perfect day in Whistler?
A sneaky midweek powder day with small lift lines, lots of snow, and good friends to enjoy après with!
Lucky you live in Whistler because…?
We’re close to nature. The bike, hiking, ski trails are so close, and it’s paired with world-class amenities. I also feel lucky because the underlying community of locals is so amazing, inspiring and supportive. The people are actually what makes it so special.
If you were a visitor, you would want to know…?
Get to know a local. There’s always someone willing to help, share a story or a special spot.