Skiing in Whistler-Blackcomb……..

January 28, 2011

Is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in Europe. Firstly, being less than 150km from the coast, when the snow comes in it tends to be a little bit heavy and wet at first. This also means, as it dries out, it has amazing stability. Thats not to say it’s totally safe but it is a little more predictable than most places.  The  annual average snowfall here is around 33 feet (about 10 meters), but having said that it has been almost double that the past two seasons according to my current room-mate and Blackcomb local, Mike.

Onto the terrain, well that is quite simply mind blowing. As a skiable domain, it has nothing on the size of the Portes de Soleil where I live in France. Having said that, from the top lifts at around 2600m elevation, it is not uncommon to ski all the way down to around 8-900m elevation, for those who don’t ski, thats a real long vertical drop for any resort worldwide. There is alot of options when skiing off piste, in-bounds. This means that being off piste is still patrolled and reasonably safe, but the terrain is still steep, many couloirs, cliff drops etc. On my first two days we did 6 laps of a face which was heavily loaded with at least 20-30cm of fresh even thought the snow report only suggested 5-10cm, it was accessed by a 15 minute hike through a narrow chimney up to an open face. This is how accessible alot of untouched stuff is, especially if you have a good local guide, and there is definitely more than what I’ve skied so far and a whole lot more steeper and more exposed stuff which I look forward to seeing more of ASAP!!

There is also un-patrolled, out of resort boundary skiing, and this stuff is unbelievable, quite a few crew spend weeks camping out in back bowls and skiing insane lines everyday. This even more so, I want to see some of, it really is another world out there and the skiing is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Anyways thats enough jabbering on for now, it looks like a snowy, stormy day on the mountain tomorrow and I’ll be up first lifts so we’re first into the alpine area for freshies if it is snowing……….  I’ve taken some photos and will post them soon, however none of them are on the mountain cause there is no time wasting in the race to get the first of the new snow with the crew I am riding with…….

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