Author Archives: russmcduff

Whistler Film Festival Society Spring Fling


On Saturday, March 30 Whistler Film Festival Society is holding Spring Fling – A Taste of Whistler to support its Future in Focus capital campaign.  This après extravaganza runs from 4:00-6:30 at the Hilton Whistler Resort.  More information and tickets at on the WFFS web.

AFOW has pledged $50,000, pending a successful campaign.

Our First Decade

A great article in today’s Question about our impact.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find another group of foreigners that contributes as much to a Canadian community as the American Friends of Whistler (AFOW), a non-profit that passed the $1 million mark in total donations to deserving local organizations”

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, a board member, adds

“It’s really a remarkable organization.  A million dollars is a significant contribution to the well-being of our community.”

TELUS Winter Classic, January 25-26, 2013

Registration/Tickets have just gone on sale for the TELUS Winter Classic, a major fund raiser for our friends the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.   “This action-packed weekend features fun-filled ski events, food & wine galore, our infamous live and silent auction and fabulous live entertainment.”

Inside Scoop: Thursday, December 27, 2012

Please join us for our Tenth Annual Inside Scoop on Thursday, December 27th at Millennium Place in Whistler.  Following a 5:00 p.m. reception, at 6:00 p.m. we will hear informative presentations from RMOW Chief Administrative Officer Mike Furey and Whistler Blackcomb Vice President Doug Forseth.

And Save-The-Date:  We are planning events for the Saturday of the President’s Day Weekend:  February 16, 2013…

Whistler Village Bike Park

A recent grant from AFOW helped to renovate the Whistler Village Bike Park adjacent to Lot 3.

“Our direction this year in working with the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and American Friends of Whistler was to create a safe, progressive, learning skills environment for kids aged four to 12 years old,” said Grant Lamont of Alpine Bike Parks.

Full details in this article in Pique.

Congratulations Ken Melamed

A well deserved honor for former AFOW board member Ken Melamed:  recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, honored for his significant and lasting contribution to the community, including welcoming the world to the resort during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Pique quotes Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden recognizing him as

a proud and gracious ambassador for the community during the Games, and every time a Canadian won a medal, Melamed would ring the bell outside municipal hall in recognition.

The Question notes that he:

was integral in ushering in the 2010 Winter Olympics and also spearheaded many environmental initiatives, including the creation of Whistler2020, a municipal document guiding the resort town’s long-term vision for sustainability.

Congratulations and thank you Ken for all you have contributed to Whistler!

New Program for Americans

Washington State residents have long had access to discounted skiing via the Edge Card.  Whichever your state, new this season is the W-B Gold Card.   Offer ends December 10…


Whistler Search and Rescue “Wine’d Up”

American Friends of Whistler has been a strong supporter of Whistler Search and Rescue.  One of the hot tickets in town is for the organization’s biggest annual fund raising event, Wine’d Up.

Tickets for this October 13 event at Dusty’s go on sale September 1.  They can be purchased by calling the WB reservations line at 1-800-766-0449.  Last year tickets party sold out in just eight days…

WSAR celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  More information in Pique and Question.

Ten Years, $1M Strong

Pique published an informative article on July 5 highlighting the 10th anniversary of AFOW.

“The Whistler community would be roughly one million dollars poorer if not for its American friends.

Those friends care about the community so much they’ve been working to make it a better place for years.

That credo is at the heart of the American Friends of Whistler (AFOW), a U.S. non-profit organization that is celebrating its 10-year milestone this month.”

A founding board member, Bill Kunzweiler, commented:

“I don’t think anybody had that expectation,” he said, of raising $1 million in the last decade.

“Where I think it’s been most valuable is it exposed Americans to the inner workings of the community, some of the needs of the community, and it’s been a conduit for Americans to have a positive impact on the community.”

Jeff Harbers Adaptive Sports Center Opens

December 30, 2011 marked the opening of the Jeff Harbers Adaptive Sports Center.  It is a wonderful legacy to Jeff’s keen interest in supporting the Whistler community:

“(Jeff) believed that the community that gave him so much pleasure should be given back to,” said widow Renee Harbers during Friday’s reception. “He also was a passionate outdoorsman and sportsman, and I know from whatever piste he’s skiing on now, he’d be delighted that his resources are going towards making the outdoors and sports available to everyone.”

American Friends of Whistler contributed $117,000 toward construction of the center.