Invocation: Rewriting the 20-centimetre rule for Georgian Bay


Man, oh man, I love living here. We really do have it all. In the summer, there’s hiking, biking, climbing, and as I’ve recently discovered, some pretty epic surfing. In the winter there’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking and, for those hardcore enough, pretty epic surfing.

But with the winter season upon us, there’s one thing—in the interest of fairness—that I think we need to clear up. Many of us who’ve settled here along the shores of Georgian Bay have previously lived in other mountain towns. Whether it was Whistler, Fernie or elsewhere, there’s a good chance your employers abided by the 20-centimetre rule.

This logic behind this legendary rule is brilliant. Folks have chosen to live in these mountain towns for a reason: To enjoy the best ski and snowboard conditions on the very best days. So, when Mother Nature dumps 20 centimetres or more on the slopes, businesses open late so their employees can be precisely where they should be. There’s no note from your doctor needed, no ridiculous excuse about your car not starting, just a simple understanding that if the conditions are that good, you should be on the hill.

Sure, this might mean your cappuccino isn’t available precisely when you want it, or maybe you can’t ship that package at exactly 9 a.m, but it’s a rule that’s in place for the good of the town, the employees, and, I’d personally argue, the greater good of all mankind. These are sacrifices I think we’d all be willing to make.

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That brings me to my current dilemma. For those of us who live here, with Blue Mountain and an array of fantastic private resorts out our back door, don’t we deserve the benefit of such a practical rule too? We too are here to enjoy nature’s bounty, to shred our butts off when the conditions are good. The only hiccup we face is that we don’t often get 20-centimetres of fresh pow overnight (although this season is looking promising). But I can assure you that official 20-centy rule or not, NO ONE is showing up early (or possibly at all) if and when that happens.

What I’m proposing is that we amend this well-thought out rule for our Georgian Bay conditions. Obviously the 20-centimetre rule should go on the books immediately, but we should consider other options as well. My suggestions: The North Chair rule for mornings when 10-plus centimeters have fallen since the runs were groomed after day skiing, the 4 p.m. fresh corduroy rule for those who wish to duck out early and follow the groomers, and the shorts and t-shirt day rule, for those epic, sunny spring skiing days when you really should be putting in a few runs and sharing a pitcher on the patio after.

Thankfully, as I sit here among the ranks of the self-employed, I pretty much invoke these rules at will already. But for those of you who don’t have the same luxury, feel free to share this article, call a staff meeting, stage a ski-in or do whatever it takes to make your slope dreams a reality. And for those of us who may find a Fresh Corduroy-rule-in-effect sign on the front door of your business—you have our mutual understanding and our respect.

So go ahead, get out there and enjoy the season—I know I will.


2 thoughts on “Invocation: Rewriting the 20-centimetre rule for Georgian Bay

  1. I enforce these rules!! Living with one of those crazy winter G-Bay surfers, I know all about setting work aside for the weather conditions. Today looked a little like this: 7:30 wake up, check the forecast for waves…quick shovel, cause hey! it snowed a bunch last night!! Dig out snowboard and boots, pull on winter gear, and book it to Blue Mountain. First day up the chair! Blue didn’t get hit with as much snow as Wasaga did, so crazy-winter-surfer-one was a little let down in his expectations of fresh powder. That’s ok, come home for a little lunch, and then it’s time to put on a different kind of winter gear! One that’s measured in millimeters and made from neoprene. He’s off to the beach in Tiny, to step into the frigid G-bay waters, and catch some of the epicness that Allison was talking about. This guy lives for surfing! And if the waves aren’t cooperating, then he surfs the snow, or the concrete. Rain days are usually spent studying surfing through watching contests online.
    This house runs on the ’20cm’ rule, the ‘winds are pumping in the right direction’ rule, and ‘the sun is shining’ rule. Pretty much any excuse to bail on work.
    After all though, aren’t we living up here so we can live the dream? Live the everyday adventure!

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