Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 3, 2015

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Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 3, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:08 am

Blackcomb’s lower mountain is also melted out, but the Excalibur gondola from the village bypasses that.

When you get out to load the Excelerator chair, it’s only 3,700 feet, so they are still making snow to keep that connection going.

We took a couple of warmup runs on Jersey Cream, which has similar altitude/exposure to Whistler’s Emerald chair. There were some firm spots, but not as widespread due to less skier traffic. Knowing higher means better snow, we headed up top to the Blackcomb Glacier. There’s a short hike above the Showcase T-bar.

We were pleased to find soft winter snow, much better than anywhere we had skied Thursday. In this low snow year the lip to Blowhole is much diminished and formed about halfway down about here.

The pleasant conditions prevailed all the way down the Blackcomb Glacier. View back up glacier at left, Ruby Bowl at right

It was another overcast day with just a few sunny breaks. We dressed better this time and until 2PM or so the visibility was adequate on the upper terrain. Having found the best snow, we repeated circuits back here the rest of the day. This is easier than before because the new Crystal chair installed 2 years ago comes down to the glacier exit trail, so it’s no longer necessary to ski all the way down to Excelerator.

Liz took 2 more glacier laps while I explored 3 Spanky’s Ladder runs. By coincidence I met Steve Mayer of Extremely Canadian with a group at the top of Spanky’s. I had skied with him in Las Lenas in 2005 and La Grave in 2008. I skied the direct line down Diamond Bowl, which had excellent snow top to bottom. Partway down I saw Steve leading his group through the constricted Wild Thing chute.

Next lap I skied Garnet to lower Ruby, which is the easiest line from Spanky’s, just to check that Liz could go there. The bottom of Ruby’s had some scraped off areas as it is the most frequently skied run back there. The exit from Ruby goes around the left side of the creeks below while the main runout from the glacier and other Spanky’s bowls is to the right.

I feared that the Spanky’s runs would be very constricted this season, but in fact coverage was quite good. Thanks to Extremely Canadian I skied numerous variations by the end of the trip and now have a far better understanding how to navigate that entire area. My final run was into Sapphire Bowl, where I was fortunate to find the sideslip and traverse in far skier’s left. Once I got in there the fog rolled in so it was very deliberate skiing despite very good snow. Liz got caught in the same fog on her last Blackcomb Glacier run and we reconnected in the hut at the top of Crystal.

Our final run followed the Solar Coaster chair down Springboard in snow and occasional dense fog and finally to Green Line and the Excalibur download. The download line was shorter than any at Whistler. Blackcomb was consistently less busy during our entire trip than Whistler even though there was far more good snow to be found. Perhaps it was due to more intermediate runs being open at Whistler, even though the condition of those runs was not that great. I skied 25,500 vertical on Friday.
Ski Records
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
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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