In the 7 ski seasons we’ve had in the Pacific Northwest, 5 have been spent at Whistler. And for good reason. It gets reliable early snow, is not crowded, has epic terrain, and staying and dining/drinking in the village is a highly relaxed experience at this time of year. The metaphorical Thanksgiving calm before the Xmas storm.
This year was rather odd. By two days before Thanksgiving, Whistler had already broken its monthly snowfall record. In November. Over 5m of snow had come down in 2 weeks of virtually continuous storms. This had left a huge base up high, and despite mild temperatures in the village, there was skiable coverage all the way to the base.
We unfortunately missed the huge storms. The benefit though was that Ski Patrol finally had chance to open the alpine lifts and terrain at both Blackcomb and Whistler. The best skiing of the weekend was a crisp, clear day on 7th Heaven, where about 3 inches of windblown made for perfect high speed crud-cruising off the groomed. We also had runs in variable but fun conditions down Diamond Bowl, Cougar Chutes and a couple of the easier drop ins to Harmony Bowl (it was foggy). Add some high speed cruising on empty trails like Rock and Roll and Zig Zag, and pitchers of the respectable Alexander Keith Red Ale in Merlins were well earned by the end of the day (pics here).
It gradually warmed up and by Sunday the snow was quite spring-like and corning up by all accounts (I bailed that day – 3 days was a big enough test of my relatively newly screwed together collar bone). My consolation was wonderful cappuccino and steak and potato pie at Moguls Coffee House in the village. This was almost good enough to make up for missing a ski day!
3 days: 6600, 7700, 7300 vertical metres
5 days – 30,400m vert