It was a 2.5 hours from Vancouver to Whistler. I almost bypassed Whistler because getting from there to my next stop would have meant backtracking back to Vancouver in a “normal” winter, but it looked to be clear, so stopping at Whistler meant I would get to ski on day 2 and it would break up the long drive to Sun Peaks.
It took a while to get out of Vancouver, so I didn’t start sliding down the mountain until noon. My Squaw season pass gave me $25 off, leaving with a $98 CAD ticket for the few hours. Right now, we Americans get almost a 20% discount because the CA$ has been dropping.
I was going to ski the Whistler side, but there was a crowd because one of the gondolas had almost fallen off or something, so they’d shut it down for a while (something about kids getting crushed or something… but I probably have that wrong). So I headed across the plaza to the Blackcomb gondola.
They were supposed to have had some snow a couple of days earlier but, like everywhere, it’s been warm. I headed up as high as I could as quickly as I could. Getting up to Jersey Cream for a warm up and Glacier to get to the very top, I used the T-bar(!! There are two or three of them up there) to get to the sunny Blackcomb Glacier side to ski 7th Heaven a few times.
The snow report said “packed powder.”—any condition with the word “powder” in it is better than Tahoe these days. Nothing in the west is getting the amount of snow it should and Whistler-Blackcomb is no exception; most everything was covered, but some off-piste areas were a bit thin over the rocks. Considering that it had been a couple of days since they’d had snow I was surprised that there was still soft, loose snow to be found, off-piste. And you might manage to find patches of untouched in the trees. I found the soft stuff slightly warmed over… I’m probably being overly critical since I wasn’t on my fat skis—it wasn’t even what I’d call sticky or heavy, just not fluffy 🙂
So I managed to get in bumps (the good, well-formed kind), trees, (short) steeps, nice off-piste chop, and groomers. And, as expected, icy and crusty towards the bottom 1/4 of the run to the bottom.
And, I didn’t know this, Whistler closes at 3p until the third week of January! So that cut another hour of my day! (Although my legs appreciated the early retirement—it was only my 2.5th day this season).
All-in-all, a good first day of my trip. I love mid-weeks; the longest line of the day had two people in front of me.
I took a break for some food at Earls (because I remember they have really cute waitresses) and to try to figure out how long I might be able to drive and to know where my options for sleeping may be.