Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Tag Archives: Blackcomb Spring skiing

End of 2017-18 Season Summary

Since my last post, life kinda got on top of me. Crazy workload, trips to Europe, trips to Boston. There was time for work and skiing, and not much else. Hence here’s a brief wrap up of April and May skiing, more for posterity than anything else.

First stop was Whistler in early April. Great skiing, light crowds, hanging out with our  ski instructor friend Jess. It was funsies indeed, and a great way to belatedly hit 50 days for the season.

Friday 10,300m, Sat 11,300m, Sun 8300m vert

Saturday work meant we could only make the closing Sunday at Mission Ridge. It was the usual – great base, low crowds, Spring weather. Shame they closed.

Sunday 8000m vert

Work travel delayed the next trip until early May and a week riding Blackcomb. Despite the slightly limited terrain due to the new gondola construction to replace the Wizard and Solar Coaster chairs, there was some magnificent skiing. I love Spring at Blackcomb. Some GoPro footage of this week might emerge sometime if I buy a new laptop that can edit 60fps footage!

Sunday onwards: 6800m, 9400m, 11,000m, 8200m, 10,100m, 11,300m, 8600m vert

After a well deserved weekend at home we headed down to close the season at Mt Bachelor. The first 3 days were hardly Springtacular – the first day the lifts closed at 11.30am due to lightening (!) –  but the closing weekend brought sunny weather, silly costumes and lots of fun skiing.

3200m, 8200m, 6400m, 6300m, 6700m

Season Totals 63 days, 474,900m vert, 17 powder days

All in all, a decent season smattered with some truly wonderful skiing. Given the state of my knee on Sunday 7th January, I’m pretty pleased to still be able to churn out some decent vertical through the end of the season. The knee is far from perfect, but its manageable. Next challenge is biking season, with some long rides planned and serious training needed. If my knee survives that, there might just be some fun and games attempts to at least partially fix the bugger in early Fall.

Anything could happen.

Watch this space!


Starting off Spring at Blackcomb

I don’t think there’s a better place to be on Earth than Whistler Blackcomb in the first week of May. The village is quiet, accommodation cheap (yes, cheap!), there’s restaurant and bar specials everywhere, and of course, some epic skiing, usually on Blackcomb. The weather – it’s Whistler – can be Springtacular, foggy, damp or full on winter. We had them all in 6 days. A fantastic 6 days, of steeps in packed pow, epic groomers, and Springy corn snow under deep blue skies.

Here’s pics from the (mostly) Springtacular days 🙂

Another luxury is the lift times, from 10-4pm. Lie in, relax, ride until it gets too hot (or damp!), head down the slush to the base, and chill in Blacks or Merlins for an apres beer or two. With no lift lines, the vert can be cranked out without really trying. And all for a $159 Spring Pass. It’s heaven.

Hopefully, Vail won’t fuck up this perfect time of year up for many years to come. It really is impossible to beat.

10,300m, 10,000m, 10,900m, 12,200m, 10,500, 5300m vert

66 days, 556,000m vert, 16 powder days


A very warm early May at Blackcomb

Summary of post for busy readers:

  • fabulous Spring skiing for 4 days on Blackcomb
  • It’s ridiculously warm and the snow is melting fast

This was 4 days of some of the best Springy goodness you can ever have on skis. Soft groomers early, dollops of corn by lunchtime especially around 7th Heaven, and epic lines to pick off in the afternoon off the Glacier chair.

The only downside is the temperatures are making the snow disappear very rapidly. The amount of melt in 3 weeks since Whistler closing weekend is quite staggering. This is a stupidly warm Spring. The runouts to the lower chairs were brown mush by the afternoon, and on Sunday rocks appeared on high traffic areas on 7th Heaven. The heat from the previous day did some serious damage.

Run of the trip was an 11am descent of the Blackcomb glacier. A short hike led to innumerable lines of heavenly corn snow down the full length and breadth of the broad glacier. You just picked your line and like Donald Trump on illegal immigration, let it rip without a care in the world. Below the glacier, the run out was slow, and in several places. bare. Walking required. It was worth it.

On 7th Heaven, a lunch time push out skier’s left revealed high quality lines in Lakeside Bowl. Huge radius high speed turns were the order of the day while watching the pond skimmers try their luck on the melting blue edge of the glacial lake. It was all slightly surreal.

As 7th Heaven closed, runs like Cougar Chutes, Pakalolo and Heavenly Basin delivered steep and soft turns. It was actually remarkable how well all the runs held up in the afternoon heat. Our standard last run of the day from the top of Jersey Cream down Zigzag was fantastic at 3.30pm-ish every day. High speed slush riding is epic fun. Just let those rockers ride the snow and hang on.

I hope we get some more in before this crazy hot Spring melts all the snow.

9,300m, 9500m, 8200m, 6900m vert

Season Totals: 66 days, 535, 700m vert, 23 powder days