Heading north of the border with my wife and son for a relaxing vacation get-away in British Columbia, I found myself really looking forward to the turns we’d fin at Whistler Blackcomb. Andy tagged along with his wife, and Todd also joined in the fun. This trip was Andy and Todd’s first to Whistler, and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed at the Villas-Snowberry, and had ski-in access from Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler is an excellent place to get in some great turns, being the biggest mountain in North America, but there is also plenty to do for people who don’t like to ski or board all the time (aka my wife). The last time I was at Whistler was 5 or 6 years ago, so I was amazed again at the beauty of the BC mountains when we pulled in. The first evening everyone got settled in at the condo, and after dinner we hopped on the shuttle bus and headed in to the village. We walked around looking for a place to get a beer with a 6 month old and ended up in one of the many pubs of which I can’t remember the name of. After a good brew, we headed back to the condo to get ready for the next morning’s riding.
The first morning we decided to ride Blackcomb. The morning dawned with beautiful sunny skies and about 10 inches of fresh from the day/night before. We started off on the 7th Heaven Express, and Andy ended up getting a nice rock gouge in his base on the first run, but I was able to get this nice pano shot…..
That morning we made a few runs off of Chainsaw ridge and dropped into Couloir Extreme, which was decent on the first run but a bit tracked for run two. After that, we were off to explore the Glacier Express and Jersey Cream chairs, and ended up making laps off of Spanky’s ladder. The snow was light and fresh as we descended into Ruby Bowl…..
The Sapphire, Garnet, Diamond & Ruby bowls off of Spanky’s offer black and double black terrain, with some triple black thrown in if you want to get really sketch. The runout below the bowls is quite long, like several miles long to get back to the Glacier Express, but well worth it when the snow is good.
By the time we decided to make the next run, the weather started to cloud up a bit. The snow remained stellar though, and we dropped into Garnet & Diamond Bowls. Below is Todd entering Diamond Bowl….
After the long fun day of powder turns on Blackcomb’s backside, we made the several thousand foot descent down to the base and rode via a trail directly to our condo complex. Dinner and showers followed, and I headed back into town with my wife and son to do a little shopping. Well my wife was shopping, I was looking for a good pub to grab a beer! After roaming around the village for bit, we took the shuttle back to the condo and settled in for the night. Everyone decided to take the next day easy, so Todd went cross country skiing while Julie and I headed into the village with Andy and Sabrina The plan was to take the Whistler Gondola up to the mid-way on Whistler Mountain and enjoy the views and food. Here’s a shot of the Village with the Longhorn Saloon (one of my favorites) in the background.
We purchased some single ride passenger tickets, boarded the gondola and headed up the hill. Julie was inspired by the views, having never been to any big mountain range outside of Oregon, and the weather couldn’t have been nicer. We snapped several photos and explored the Roundhouse for awhile before getting some food.
Here’s a shot of Whistler’s Peak Chair from the exit ramp of the Gondola….
After lunch, we headed back down to the valley to explore the village. The girls visited many of the shops, and I even found a t-shirt that I ended up buying. Shaun started getting fussy after a hour or so, so we ended up heading back to the condo for a cold beer and dinner. For the final day of our stay, we spent most of our time riding Whistler Mountain, but did manage a few runs on Blackcomb as well. In the morning, we spun laps on the Peak and Harmony chairs, though we did venture out to the new Symphony express to check out the Flute Bowl. Here’s a shot of some of the vast backcountry taken early in the morning….
There was a marked difference in people on the weekdays as opposed to the weekends. We found several good steep runs off Harmony Ridge in the Harmony Horseshoes that kept us busy all morning.
Towards the afternoon, we found some good snow on the west side of Whistler off the Peak Chair and towards Creekside. We dropped into the upper part of Whistler Bowl, traversed the upper part of the West Cirque, and headed into the West Bowl. The initial entry into Whistler Bowl was pretty steep moguls, but the moguls yielded to wind packed powder the further west we ventured. The terrain in the lower part of the West Bowl was really nice, and not too many people were hitting it. Lower down, the we found lots of powder shots on the way to Highway 86 which took us back to the Big Red Express Chairlift.
I snapped this shot down near the bottom of one of our runs, looking back up towards Whistler Peak and the West Bowl. Whistler Peak and the Peak Chair are in the upper left of the photo……
Soon it was time to ride down off the hill, and we headed to the Whistler Village through the snow-making machines blowing snow all over the lower trails. That evening, everyone went out for dinner and brews in the Village. The next morning everyone packed up gear and headed back for the states. Of course as soon as we left, it started dumping again and the mountains got about 2 more feet of snow. I’m thinking we’ll all be heading back again very soon! Below is parting shot of the Whistler Blackcomb backcountry from near the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain.