Day 2 of my yearly trip to Whistler. The snow stinks, and you can’t really do anything outside of groomed runs, but storms are on their way. The base is decent, but really way too low for this time of the year. In places you see the base of trees, and the snow covering the rest of the mountain looks threadbare and thin. Snowmaking equipment is on all day and night.
The big news, this year, is of course the Peak2Peak gondola that gets you from Whistler to Blackcomb (or the other way around) in 11 minutes. I skipped it on day 1, but I felt like going to the “other side” yesterday, so I jumped the mountain.
Two things stand out:
- 11 minutes is really, really fast if you consider the alternative (going down the mountain and riding back up). Besides, you skip all the low terrain, which means most of the beginner land and the high annoyance areas
- The Whistler web site makes it look like a huge thrill ride, with the gondola suspended high above the valley floor. It isn’t, the gondola is still quite high up, but the arc of the gondola line follows the valley much more closely than you’d think.
So, while the ride itself is not the thrill it looked like at first, it’s still a pretty neat run and beats any vertical gondola. You get good glimpses of both mountains and of the village from high above, which is nice.
The termini of the gondola are very well chosen, as they offer the whole variety of high mountain terrain on both ends. Whistler’s terminus is at the Roundhouse Lodge, perfect location for the mountain. You get there extremely easily from the Village by taking the gondola, or otherwise from Creekside by jumping on the Big Red chair from Midstation. From the Roundhouse, you easily access all the advanced terrain on Whistler mountain: the Peak chair is just down the hill, while there is a trail that leads to Harmony chair.
The Blackcomb terminus is Rendezvous. Again, easy access from the village, as well as easy access to the more advanced sections of the mountain: a cat track leads to 7th Heaven, everybody’s favorite blue terrain, and Jersey Cream lands you right to Glacier Lift, with some of the most awesome boarding areas in town.