A few weeks ago we spent a long weekend up at Whistler, BC. It was Nick’s Spring Break, which happens too late in the year for us to visit my parents in Colorado (their snow is usually bad, or gone by then.) This year one of Sue’s law practice clients traded her some time in a condo in Whistler as partial payment, so we took advantage of it. The snow was fantastic, and we had three sunny days of skiing, and one very cloudy one. Nick & I skied together for two days… Sue’s back gave her trouble so she could not ski as much.
If you are a skier, and have never been to Whistler, make a point to do so before too long. After the 2010 winter Olympics the secret will be out and it will likely be too expensive, and too crowded.
The two mountains there are truly HUGE. The runs are all phenomenally long. The really long runs in the Rockies are merely “average” here. I’ve never skied on the east coast but the runs there must be mere hops compared to the leg-busting monsters on Whistler & Blackcomb. This photo was taken about 1/3rd the way down the far run on Blackcomb’s “skier’s right”… meaning Blackcomb Glacier, and down to the top of the Gondola.
From the top of the Showcase T bar, you climb up to the entrance of the Blackcomb Glacier, then traverse out onto the steep upper slopes, and down the bowl to this spot. That alone would rate an awesome run anywhere in the world. The day that Nick & I went down and I shot this photo above it had snowed about a foot of powder on the glacier. Visibility was poor, but the snow was awesome. By the time we reached this point my thighs were on fire and I needed to lie down and rest. Nick, being 13 years old was ready for more! Ah to be young! After the rest, we then ran for what seemed like miles down the cruiser run that leads to the top of the gondola. I swear this lower part was as long, or longer than Vail’s longest front-side run, Riva Ridge. We could have continued down to the village, but instead opted to download on the Gondola. It was our last run and we were pretty worn out. “Spring Conditions” ruled on the lower mountain, which means that it was slick and hard since the snow had gone through countless freeze/thaw cycles and who knows how much rain for good measure! The day before I had skied the “Peak to Creek” route on Whistler… in 25 minutes… so I don’t think I could have done the Glacier to Village run at Blackcomb and survived.
You can see all the pics from the trip here.
It was a fun few days, with the only real bad thing being Sue’s sore back and Nick having his rental skis mistakenly “stolen” the last day at lunch. He and I came out of the Roundhouse on Whistler and his skis were missing. We searched everywhere for them and finally found a nearly identical pair one row closer to the building than where he left his. When he tried them on they were just a hair too short, so we know that whoever took his was releasing out of the bindings all the way down! We ended up downloading instead… very bummed out. The rental shop was very cool about the whole situation thankfully.
The drive home was interesting, as they are tearing up all of highway 99 to get ready for the Olympics. They have a real challenge to get that road done before 2010! I miss the old 2-lane harrowing cliff-side road up Howe Sound’s stunning fjiord. Hard to see a challenging road fall to the inevitable “progress” of safety and ease of travel. Sigh.