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Back from Whistler

2007-01-09 3 min read Snow Updates marco

{moszoomimglink:Whistler mountain}If Heavenly thinks it’s heavenly, it really should never visit Whistler. I stayed all of one week, with the best snow I could imagine, the best mountain(s), the best lifts, the best lodges, and frankly the best people.

Let’s start with the snow: the snowfall total is rapidly approaching 30 feet, and you saw it everywhere. The snow is deep, fluffy, amazing. We had a snowstorm on Christmas day (which is when we flew in) and we spent the first day (Boxing Day in Canada) driving our boards mad in the fresh powder. There was one bowl in particular where we loved zipping down, afraid we would catch something and be forced to walk for an hour, only to realize it was almost impossible to fall.

There was no significant snowfall during the whole week, but what was there stayed fresh and crunchy, and there was no ice sheet modification anywhere to be seen. The snow just got more and more compact, but stayed eminently snowable. On New Year’s Day, of course, there were another 20 inches falling, but that all happened after we were in our cars leaving the place.

While the snow was astounding, so was the mountain – or the mountains. I spent the whole time trying to find ever more excting places, and there is certainly a lot to do and scope out. The terrain is vast (over 8000 acres) and well defined. You can have standard runs down the mountain, trees, bowls, paths – you name it.

Blackcomb mountain, in particular the high reaches, were my favorite. The area called 7th Heaven boasts everything from bowl to trees and ends in a lift that is quite uncrowded; Glacier is a run that goes right next to a glacier, with its incredible blue hues.

Whistler mountain is typically more crowded than Blackcomb, although it’s not clear why. I would have avoided it mostly, but on the last day I discovered the marvel of snowboarding that is the Symphony bowl – a brand new area opened for the first time when we got there. It’s snowboarders’ paradise, with runs tight enough that skiers can’t mogul them out, a huge bowl on top with a rim that takes five minutes to traverse and a fast blue run going down the hill that is blacker than anything I have seen in Northstar or Heavenly.

The food was good, too. While the restaurants and lodges seemed to be a little inefficient, there were plenty available, and they were really big. A nice touch were the warm-up huts on the tops of the mountains (both Whistler and Blackcomb). Food choices were varied, and the food was actually well prepared – down to the fries, which easily get undercooked and barely edible in Tahoe resorts.

Finally, a great surprise were the people: lines were structured to feed into the lifts, and there was no terrible elbowing. As a matter of fact, everybody was so well-behaved, there were no line-nazis required to make it work!

All in all, Whistler gets 10 out of 10 in my book. It’s really hard for me to go to the local snow (the little there is) by now.