A decade of WHOOSSH comes to an end… Retro WHOOSSH will sashay away
A look back at WHOOSSH over the decade and interview with Peter Dinz, founder of WHOOSSH
It is hard to believe that WHOOSSH is already grown up to be 10 years old already. I remember like it was yesterday when the spark of WHOOSSH began. Whistler had a gay social club that went back to the 90’s called QINTM – Queers In The Mountain. It was pretty low key and very much on the down low. I remember first reaching out to the club back in 1994, I was met by two people from the club in a very public space. This was for the safety of both them and me as we still lived in a bit of fear that we could be bashed or even outted. This club went along for a few years until the main organizer left Whistler and moved to Victoria. Nothing really happened until Peter Dinz sashayed his way up to Whistler and started skiOUT, a Vancouver/Whistler LGBT Ski Club in 1999.
Peter Dinz reflects on how WHOOSSH began, “There was a small group of gay friends and every one
knew where each one worked and we would say hi on the stroll but there was not a place were gay and lesbian Whistler’ites could meet for a drink. And if you working in Whistler for the season, there was no place to meet other LGBT friends. Remember, 10 years ago there was no “social apps”. We needed a gathering place, I had the ability to get the word OUT via the SkiOUT LGBT Ski and board group.”
The main motivation for skiOUT to create WHOOSSH was to create a safe place for local, seasonal, and visiting like minded LGBT people to meet and socialize. The club wanted to be sure to give back to the community so there would always be a fundraising aspect to the WHOOSSH parties. In doing so, this would help build awareness that LGBT people actually live and work in Whistler year round.
Finding a Venue for WHOOSSH
Peter explains how the iconic creekside “Southside Diner” became home to WHOOSSH for this past decade. “We had no idea how many people would come to WHOOSSH, or who would close their doors for our private party on a Saturday night. One of the local gay guys (Dave Keen) bought into the Southside Diner, I approached him about closing his restaurant one Saturday night a month (not an easy request) and he IMMEDIATELY said “YES, let’s do it” and the Southside Diner has the been the official residence of WHOOSSH since then.” The primary WHOOSSH team of Peter Dinz, Peter Blitz (Speedee Pete), and Fred Hanley took charge along with countless skiOUT volunteers to help bring the magic of WHOOSSH alive.
Fondest Memory of WHOOSSH
Looking back over the past ten years what was one or some of the highlights I asked Peter? “There have been so many; Our very first WinterPRIDE WHOOSSH party, meeting so many new friends from Whistler, Vancouver and around the world! Impromptu dance parties, the purple pond afterparties, a long-time WHOOSSH’er donating $10,000 to A Loving Spoonful on behalf of WHOOSSH, but the one the stands out for me was at WinterPRIDE WHOOSSH #9 (2014) at Merlins, when the amazing Ms Willie and DJ Smoothie on his sax, did a duet to Patti’s Labelles “Somewhere over the rainbow” I have never heard the crowd go that nuts for any performance, it was magic and amazing! I actually thought the windows in Merlins were going to shatter…LOL” What is your hope or legacy you would like to see with WHOOSSH, I ask Peter, “For everyone to remember that WHOOSSH was the place they met Walt or Anna or Michael or Rohan or Tash or Peter, and raised $70,000 and awareness for so many LGBT charities. It really was community party!”
WHOOSSH Donations have tallied over $70,000 helping many organizations
Over the past decade WHOOSSH has helped many very deserving charities some of them include:
AIDS Vancouver, A Loving Spoonful, H.I.M., Camp Moomba, AIDS Vancouver, People with AIDS (BC Positive Living), McLaren House, OUT in School, EGALE, Teachers without Boarders, Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) ,Okanagan Pride Society, Canadian Cancer Society, East Side Pride, Whistler Medical Clinic, McLaren Housing Society, and so many more. One of skiOUT’s dearest charities is Camp Moomba. Camp Moomba is a summer camp for children living with or effected by HIV/AIDS. The final WHOOSSH, Retro WHOOSSH on Saturday, April 25th will benefit 100% of proceeds to this very deserving charity.
Rooms available in Whistler’s Creekside starting at $153* all within stumbling distance of the Southside Diner and Retro WHOOSSH. Call 1.866.787.1966 or visit online >> *based on a one bedroom suite at Legends on a minimum two night stay.