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: Whistler 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!


Getting Value-for-Money from Edge Cards @ Whistler

It’s been an odd start to the ski season in the Pacific Northwest. Odd, but sufficiently snowy, which is a lot better than the Rockies!

A huge pre-Thanksgiving dump set up our annual Whistler trip beautifully. Then, express pineapples from Hawaii arrived, ensuring we arrived at a somewhat sodden village for Thanksgiving weekend. Luckily the rain stayed away until Sunday, and the groomer skiing was pretty darn fine and extensive. Even in the rain on Sunday, the skiing was excellent. Just soggy. We bailed early.

Returning two weeks later, another storm cycle had considerably improved conditions. Outer Limits was boney but very skiable, and on Saturday we had lots of fun off the newly opened Peak chair. There were still surprises though, like the mandatory skis off creek crossing on Jersey Cream on the exit from Overbite. We followed a patroller’s example. 🙂

Finally, we sneaked another two days just before the Xmas madness started. This time it felt like winter. The conditions were excellent top to bottom. It was cold and crisp. Virtually the whole mountain was open and it was deserted.

Pics here show how the conditions changed over the month. And thanks to the Edge card deal we have, seven of these nine days were free. Thanks Vail! We’ll be back to use our remaining 3 days of the 5 day Edge card in February.

As we rolled out on the Friday afternoon after a fabulous day, the stream of vehicles heading up the mountain foretold the madness of the arriving Xmas hordes. It was going to be a crazy busy one.

ThxGiving 8100m, 8800m, 8800m, 4200m

December 8-10th 9500m, 10,300m, 9100m

Stevens Pass 4800m

December 21-22 9900m, 10,900m

Season Totals: 12 days 98,400m vert

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


More Early December Whistler Pow

Not a great deal of snow had fallen at Whistler in the 12 days since we left on ThxGiving weekend. It had been cold though. Real cold. Perfect for filling in the mid and lower trails with gun pow. The whole place looked a lot whiter.

A skiff of snow fell Thursday night, freshening up generally firm runs and adding a little give to the off-piste. High cloud invited us to take laps on Harmony, where some of the bowls skied pretty well. Just before lunch we headed up the Peak Chair and as we did, in moved the weather. It was ski-by-braille on the top of the Peak-to-Creek. We bailed at the Big Red Chair, and stayed on mid-mountain ripping groomers for the rest of the day.

A solid 4 inches+ fell Friday night. Early runs on Blackcomb were fantastic. Warming up on the terrain park, smoking pow between jumps, was great fun. Then laps on Seventh Heaven where the trees near the chair were a bumpy soft delight. There was still time before lunch to duck over the top, grab a shot down Pakalolo and head back up to hike to the Blackcomb Glacier. It was a little rugged in places, but there were really nice fluffy turns to be had.

Sunday was a mild storm day. Snow overnight was topped up constanly by steady falls. The upper mountain was socked in all day, so we played mid-mountain on Whistler. Garbanzo was the go-to lift, with no line (it wasn’t busy anyway) and some excellent on and off groomed runs to be had. It was a very fine, fast day.

Friday 9500m, Saturday 8000m vert, Sunday 8500m vert

Season totals 8 days,  58,800m vert, 6 powder days

Footnote: This was our first trip with the S’no Joke ski club, which we joined recently. 80+ members headed to Whistler and stayed in the Listel and Aava hotels – fantastic locations and great pre-Xmas prices. Everyone carpooled up and we shared with another new member (from the UK!) who turned out to be a really nice guy. The downside of this was that we collectively knew no one in the club, and as we arrived 8pm-ish Thursday and missed the arrival drinks, we pretty much hung out together that night and skied together Friday.

Friday night was a fun social with tasty food. We got to know a few folks, but I especially was hampered by an evil cough, so wasn’t exactly on best socializing form. There was a pre-ski meeting Friday morning where we at least got to ride up the lifts with a few members and chat. The group quickly disintegrated when we got to the top but I did manage a few runs with a strong group of skiers. Promising.

Large, established groups are always hard to get to know, so it’ll take time, but hopefully we’ll meet a few good ski buddies downstream. If any turn out as good as out friends from the Desert Ski Club, we’ll be very hoppy indeed 🙂








January pow returns at Whistler

Like comedy, skiing is so much about the timing. After a week of mid-January-doldrums sun and freeze-thaw, Whistler was holding up well, but definitely showing some wear on the Wednesday morning we arrived. By noon it was snowing, and did so on and off until we left Friday afternoon. A good 30cm+ turned the skiing from decent to darn fine. With midweek ‘crowds’ (timing, remember), there was no panic to lap up pow. Like hipsters on fixed gears, we cruised casually around, picking off the best terrain on offer..

A line of fresh on the Blackcomb glacier? Ok …

Untracked lines under Flute and in the Symphony trees? Sure ..

Ripping groomers down Rock n’Roll? Why the hell not …

A clear and cold Friday opened up so many possibilities. Ruby Bowl was skiing like a dream. Dodge the thin rock band into Cougar Chutes, and boot deep freshies were the reward. At 1pm. Mid week in January at Whistler can be a fine thing indeed if you get your timing right.

11,200m, 11,300, 8400m vert

Season Totals: 45 days, 20 powder days, 425,200m vert