No one should ever have any expectations about having a peaceful ski weekend at Whistler in high season. Especially when the sun shines. But as we rode the gondola and lifts up the mountain from Creekside, it really didn’t look too busy. We even got up the Peak Chair quickly, and had a delightful run down Peak to Creek, in rather excellent top-to-bottom conditions.
Buoyed by this experience, we picked up a quick lunch and headed to the Harmony Chair about 12.30, the theory being it would be less busy at lunchtime. Good theory, one that often works, but not this day. Ah well, 30 minutes later we were at the top of Harmony Bowl and decided that Symphony must be better.
Wrong again. So after a good 20 minute wait at Symphony Chair, a green groomer to Harmony, and another 20 minutes to get up the chair, we’d had enough of the weekend Whistler bowls experience. And of course here’s the Whistler paradox. We headed down to mid-mountain and found the runs off the Garbanzo Chair completely deserted, with absolutely no one waiting at the chair. Four quick laps on runs like Seppo’s and Bear Paw, one bumpy, one groomed smooth as glass, and we were finally having an enjoyable afternoon. Topped off by a final ripper down the Dave Murray Downhill, the beer tasted especially fine in Dusty’s at the end of the day.
Blackcomb was a much more pleasant experience Sunday. Moving ahead of the mob, we lapped 7th Heaven on fresh groomers, and then did two deserted laps on the Glacier Chair before doing the short hike into the Blackcomb Glacier. Blowhole didn’t look too scary, so I dropped in while Jan negotiated the dodgy looking walk across the top. I felt much more confident on skis, and the snow in Blowhole was wonderfully carveable and forgiving!
After lunch, the morning crowds dispersed and we had the pick of runs wherever we wanted. Bark Sandwich was a sunny, bumpy, empty delight. Ridge Runner was a speedy hoot, and various lines down Glacier Bowl, especially Heavenly Basin, that had softened in the sun were pure spring-like skiing perfection.
I guess we should’ve known better than visiting the upper mountain on Whistler on a high season, bluebird Saturday. But apart from the two hours or so standing in three lift lines, it was really a top weekend. There’s so much terrain here that you can pretty much always find the goods, somewhere, away from the madding crowds. See these pics for the evidence!
Saturday: 8500m, Sunday: 8150m
Season totals so far: 29 days, 15 powder days, 223,200m vertical