Whistler, B.C., Apr. 2, 2015

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Whistler, B.C., Apr. 2, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:59 pm

When we booked our Iceland trip last summer, we had a choice of Denver or Seattle as a gateway airport. With the January Colorado trip, it seemed an easy call to choose Seattle this time to ski Whistler. While there has a been decent alpine base most of the season, I knew off piste surfaces were bad when I was in BC mid-February and it hardly snowed at all for the next month. So I cancelled my room reservation in mid-March while still no penalty before we left for Iceland. Fortunately Whistler got 43 inches of snow in the second half of March so we resumed with the original plan and got a good last minute deal at the Listel hotel in Whistler Village for April 1-6.

The bottom of both mountains has melted out so it’s necessary to download at the end of the day.
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Weather was the typical PNW high overcast. We started with Franz’ run, which was groomed but very firm, I presumed due to west exposure and a lot of snowmaking on its lower portion down to 4,000 feet. However the next run down the north facing Emerald chair was similar, so I surmised that there may have been another rain event. I later learned from a snow host that it had indeed rained to Roundhouse level ~6,000 feet March 30-31.

Since there was a cloud on the Peak we tried Harmony, which tops out at 6,900 feet. The Marmot approach trail was congested and slick. The upper bowls were mostly packed powder, though light was flat.
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We ventured off trail on the lower third and the unconsolidated snow near the trees was refrozen. So we skied these firm skier packed moguls here instead.
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Next we skied Burnt Stew trail into Symphony Bowl, again in good snow but flat light. We caught a sunny break at the top of the Symphony chair for this view from Piccolo Peak.
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We skied 2 more runs here. Liz in Symphony with hike-to Flute Bowl at upper left:
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Lower down we get a view across to 7th Heaven at Blackcomb.
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We returned to Harmony but after one run took a break the hut at the top. We were a bit underdressed as the forecast was for 0C and mostly sunny while the reality was -6C and nearly always cloudy. Then we skied the Saddle down to the Peak chair, where the cloud had finally lifted just above it. Liz took a pass on the notchy entry to Whistler Bowl and went around to Bagel Bowl while I took a lap through Shale Slope. I went back up the Peak, skied the upper part of Highway 86 and took the highest traverse to the Cockalorum entry to West Bowl, one of my favorite Whistler runs that I had last skied in deep powder in 2008. The upper steeps were mostly smooth chalk but the lower bowl was probably below the rain line and not much fun with flat light and scattered frozen chunks. I got back up just after 3PM and went up the Peak again as they were giving some leeway on the closing time. Unfortunately the cloud lowered again so my run on Surprise was in good snow but bad light.

This time I had to ski down’s Franz’ again to Big Red. At the Roundhouse the download line was way out the door so I skied down to the Olympic mid-station, where wait was about 10 minutes. I finished the day with 23,000 vertical. The day was a bit uninspiring, with hardpacked or variable snow as high as 6,000 feet and occasional bad visibility above that. The British Columbia and UK spring breaks were much in evidence. The village was very busy, there were lots of kids on the slopes and groomed runs had quite high skier density and thus snow was often scraped down to the manmade base. On the other hand, given the current state of skiing along the entire West Coast, it was worthwhile to be skiing somewhere that any ungroomed advanced terrain was available. Fortunately the skiing was about to improve over the next few days.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Tony Crocker
 
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