Whistler, BC (November 30, 2009) – Sometimes it’s better to earn your turns.
Item: Thanksgiving Weekend
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With Whistler-Blackcomb reporting record snowfall for the month of November—already 217 inches, which is half of their yearly average—I made for the great white north this thanksgiving weekend in anticipation of Blackcomb’s opener on Thursday, followed by the Whistler alpine on Saturday.
Blackcomb on Thursday was nice—knee deep fresh, sunny skies, and a 10am first ride on Seventh Heaven provided high speed pow laps into the afternoon and access to the steeps off Spanky’s Ladder and Sudan’s. But that was just a warm up for the Whistler alpine, accessed via the Peak 2 Peak, where flat light shut down our late afternoon hike on Thursday, but provided a glimpse into ski cut steeps that were ready to go with a little legwork.
Friday dawned clear and cold—perfect conditions to grab our backcountry gear and hike the conveniently groomed cat track to whistler peak. Setting out on the first gondola out of Creekside, we were on top of the rime-encrusted peak by 1030 and staring into freshly bombed west cirque, which lay full of untracked storm snow. A lap down to the red chair produced numerous face shots before crust took over midway down, evidence of warming temperatures during the week. Another stroll up the cat track lead to a rocky entrance (despite significant snowfall, the wind has kept snow off the ridges) to untracked chute off little whistler, and more fresh through Glacier Bowl with no one but our crew in sight—an undoubtedly rare experience at Whistler.
When Harmony Chair opened to the public amidst flurries and growing crowds on Saturday, it was easy to sit back and milk some mellow turns out of the fresh that remained—with a little legwork, we had already had Whistler Peak to ourselves for a day thanks to a few laps on the stairmaster to the top.