Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 6, 2015

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Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 6, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:41 pm

We returned to Extremely Canadian's meeting spot at 8:30AM. Overall W/B was much less busy Sunday/Monday than it had been Thursday-Saturday, but on Monday EC had a full complement of 12 other clients who were there for the standard 2-day clinic. http://www.extremelycanadian.com/2-day-clinics.html We were warned that it would take a couple of runs to sort out groups, but after Sunday's pace Liz and I didn't mind.

The first day of the clinic is scheduled on Whistler, to we went up there and took 2 laps on the Peak to Saddle/Glacier Bowl. The day started sunny and warmer than Sunday. Here's Liz at the top with view to Black Tusk and the Tantalus Glacier at right on the other side of Howe Sound.

I was in Wendy Brooksbank's group with Andy from Hong Kong and two British women Jody and Sam. They are friends since childhood and meet up for skiing every year even though Sam now lives in Bali. Sam had arrived to Whistler via skiing in northeast China, South Korea and 3 weeks in Japan. This group was a bit more instruction-oriented though we were still moving at good clip. The instruction on always being focused and prepared in the steeps was well-timed because some of the snow had set up from the prior sunny day and we had a mix of conditions through the day. Our first 2 runs with Wendy were into heavily moguled Whistler Bowl.

We returned to the Peak chair via more wide open Shale Slope and Surprise. The real "surprise" came on the next run to Cockalorum/West Bowl.

Sunday afternoon's sun must have gotten here, because Cockalorum was all refrozen and not too smooth either. Wendy's instructions were quite precise and we all got down the steeps intact. Sam popped out of a ski partway down but wasn't moving that fast and didn't fall.

Back up Big Red we went into the Roundhouse for lunch, and all the EC groups took the Peak-to-Peak over to Blackcomb for the afternoon. The locals were mostly skeptical of the Peak-to-Peak when it was built before the Olympics for $50+ million, but it has come in very handy this season.

Our first Blackcomb run was via Spanky's Ladder to Zut Zut, same video run as Steve Clarke had done Sunday. Here's Wendy skiing down the spine skier's right to set up filming.

Here's Sam skiing Zut Zut.

Zut Zut had packed out into smooth but fairly soft chalk. I thought it skied more consistently than on Sunday. The bottom of Diamond Bowl remained in good shape also.

Next lap we went up Horstman and skied to the main entrance of Couloir Extreme.

The center tends to get bumped up or skied off, so we traversed into the shady section next to the rocks known as False Face. This was good discipline for holding a tight line, as far skier's left near the rocks was soft chalk while the snow was melt/frozen if you strayed too much to the center. Since I was third in line I saw by example where I belonged on the run. The runout lower center in Quasar had excellent snow as well.

From Glacier chair we next took the Showcase T-bar and hiked up to Blowhole.

Here again the snow on the shadier side was best.

It then clouded over as we made our way to Winkie Pop. Wendy suggested skier's left here, just past an avy control bomb mark. Yesterday's powder had been packed down and some of it had melt/frozen. Though I had seen Neil's fall on Sunday, I didn't quite appreciate how steep Winkie Pop can be. I was careless and strayed too far right onto some frozen snow. When I stopped I was following Wendy's reminder to keep my lower arm poised down the hill, firmly weighting the downhill ski. In this position I could still touch the snow with my upper hand! With frozen snow, not great visibility and a 45+ degree pitch, I probably spent 3-5 minutes slowly backing up with an occasional sideslip. I finally reached the chalky snow at skier's left that was only 40 degrees or so and skied down very carefully.

We barely made it to Glacier chair 3:05. They let us on there and also onto the Horstman T-bar. The skies opened enough for us to get a distant view of one of Wendy's more impressive backcountry achievements.

She bootpacked and skied the couloir from the top of the peak at center right in the pic above.

Our final run was in Pakalolo, illuminated here in a picture taken midday.

This was once again an exercise of holding your line in the smooth chalk skier's left and not straying into the bumps and more variable snow skier's right.

With sun all day Sunday and most of Monday, overall conditions returned to what we first saw Thursday/Friday. As soon as Extremely Canadian saw this, they adjusted their standard program and moved over to the better snow on Blackcomb. This was another excellent and educational day of skiing in somewhat more challenging conditions. Our group skied 9,000 vertical on Whistler and another 16,200 on Blackcomb. I crossed the one million vertical benchmark on my 49th day of 2014-15 for the 6th consecutive season.

Whistler/Blackcomb are expecting over a foot of snow this coming weekend, so their season has quite a bit of life left.
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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