Blackcomb, B.C., Mar. 3, 2017

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Blackcomb, B.C., Mar. 3, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:39 pm

Our first of 5 days here had a slow start but was overall very promising for our trip. I picked up Liz at Vancouver airport yesterday.

Most of the recent storms have tracked from Washington State into southern B.C. and Alberta but have mostly missed Whistler. The were heard snow surfaces had been a bit tired and firm. That all changed with 10 inches overnight plus it snowed all day today.

The new snow attracted lots of people, and it took half an hour to get our 5-day lift tickets after we arrived at the base at 8:55AM. Thankfully we won't have to do that again, but if it was like that on Friday I wonder what the ticket line will be like on the weekend. By the time we had been through three chairs to the top of Jersey Cream it was 10:45AM.

We started by skiing down upper Springboard and lower Russ' Gold to Solar Coaster. It was a soft cruise over a groomed subsurface on Russ' Gold and still quite soft skiing over bumpier ungroomed sections.

After a quick break in Glacier Lodge we noticed the sign that 7th Heaven had opened so we headed there. It was very windy on top, and the forced exit to skier's left had the wind blasting in your face until you could make a switchback turn to come back under the lift. The upper 10% or so of 7th Heaven was windpacked but soon the snow became softer. We first skied near the lift which became bumpy under the new snow lower down. Next run to skiers' right yielded mostly powder turns.

After 3 rides up 7th Heaven Liz was chilled and had to bail out. I went skier's left this time to Xhiggy's Meadow area. The wind blast in that direction was worth it because the snow was softer and smoother than the first two runs once I had dropped in a bit. On the next ride I thought I would also have to take the Green Line groomer to Rendezvous as the Horstman T-bar and nearby terrain remained closed for avalanche exposure and visibility.

But I saw skiers exiting the other way and followed them down a roped zigzag trail that kept you on the ridge above the Horstman Glacier. I followed several that stepped up to the opening to Big Bang on the opposite side of the ridge from Horstman. While stepping up I noticed an Extremely Canadian guide with 2 clients traversing high and dropping in. The people I had followed were regrouping and motioned me to go ahead of them, so I dropped in and skied to the extremely Canadian guide, who was Steve Clarke. He had been my guide one day at Whistler in 2015 and two days in Las Lenas in 2005. I mentioned Liz and I were going to be with them the next two days, and Steve suggested I follow him here as the visibility was bad lower down in Jersey Cream Bowl.

Steve led us on a traverse right to the Feather Trees, which provided good orientation for the lower part of the bowl. We skied through the Blowdown area to the Glacier chair. One of the clients was exhausted and bailed out, but Steve suggested finishing the day with a Spanky's Ladder run. I was surprised to learn that terrain was open in this kind of weather. We started with the entry to Diamond Bowl, but diverted left to Calvin & Hobbes on Diamond's left side for better visibility. This run curled farther left and eventually dropped down to the bottom of Ruby Bowl.

After a ride up the Crystal Chair, I skied to the bottom and finished with 20,000 vertical feet, about 4K of powder. We expect more fresh snow tomorrow on Whistler, where the Peak chair did not open today. No pics due to the weather: snow, wind and sometimes marginal visibility.
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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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