Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 5, 2015

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Blackcomb, B.C., Apr. 5, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:47 pm

We planned to ski with Extremely Canadian on this trip as I had in 2005 and 2008 and Liz had in 2004. Usually there multiple groups but with the low snow year bookings have been more erratic in 2014-15. On Sunday there were only 2 other clients, both regulars that ski with Extremely Canadian 20+ days per season. Toby and Neil are both hard chargers with excellent fitness and I was likely to hang with them about as long as I can with Adam, perhaps half a day. We were with Steve Clarke, with whom I had skied in Las Lenas, while Liz skied with Steve Mayer.

Sunday was brilliantly sunny most of the day, a relatively rare occurrence at Whistler, and the snow was still soft from Saturday plus a light dusting overnight. And of course Extremely Canadian knows the places that preserve snow the best and would have seen less traffic on Saturday. We skied a warmup on Jersey Cream, then headed up top to the Blackcomb Glacier. We skied Blowhole then cut high skier's left past the ropes, cruising through very lightly tracked snow. This high traverse eventually leads to an easy entrance to Sapphire Bowl, but we diverted to the convex rollover into Winkie Pop. With the hero snow up top it was all too easy to come into the steeps a bit too aggressively, and Neil fell, losing both skis and a pole and sliding most of the way down with a small cut on his lip. I was of course bringing up the rear, so I gathered his gear and carefully got down one turn at a time.

After Steve checked that Neil was OK we continued on the circuit to Crystal, Glacier and then the Horstman T-bar. From Horstman we hiked 10 minutes or so up to The Stupids. The first chute had a cornice into which Toby knocked an opening, then dropped into a 50+ degree entry before fluidly skiing the chute below.


That was impressive to watch, especially since I heard an occasional scrape in Toby's turns that didn't throw him off at all. There was no way I was skiing that so we hiked to the next entry, which was wide enough I knew I could get in and ski deliberately if the snow was variable. I got lucky with soft untracked powder in my line, which is directly below where Steve is in the red Jacket up top in the pic below.

Neil was still spooked by his fall and skied a mellower untracked line off the 7th Heaven backside and then rejoined us on the Horstman Glacier. Surprisingly Toby said he had a severe sinus headache and decided to call it a day. We skied in the Swiss Cheese area on the way to Glacier Creek, where Toby headed down, while Steve, Neil and I went up Jersey Cream and took an early lunch at Rendezvous. After lunch we skied back to Glacier chair via the race course.

As always my skiing in gates sucks, and later in the day I asked Steve about how I might improve that. It would probably need to take a week-long clinic to make significant headway, and so far I have not been motivated to spend my ski time that way.

We went up Horstman, skied into 7th Heaven and traversed far skier's left in Lakeside Bowl where it wrapped around to more sheltered exposure. Below there is a view up to some of Blackcomb's more ambitious backcountry.

The notched chute in the closer mountain at left is DOA, about a 45-minute hike. Steve Clarke has skied the mountains farther back at right, which are 2+ hours hike or skin from the lifts.

Returning to the Horstman side we skied Secret Bowl into the Cougar Chutes.

The illuminated area at left where Liz and I skied the day before was scraped off some, so we cut into the shaded area at right for softer snow.

Next time up we hiked Spanky's Ladder, skied a lower entrance to Sapphire Bowl, then cut back to Zut Zut, which drains into the bottom of Diamond Bowl. Neil skiing Zut Zut while Steve Clarke films.

The shaded skier's left looked mostly untracked but was less consistent than where I skied in the Stupids. I skied Zut Zut continuously as I was being filmed, but less smoothly than Neil, which was obvious comparing the videos later.

Next time up we took the Horstman T-bar and skied the sunny side Big Bang entry to Couloir Extreme, which is the in the upper center of the picture below.

We then traversed under the rocks and skied the Feather Trees in left foreground above.

Next time up I took a zoomed pic across the valley to Whistler and Black Tusk.

We finished up skiing through Garnet and cutting back skier's right into the lower part of Diamond Bowl. Total for the day was 23,900. This was a spectacular day with great terrain and good snow expertly found by Extremely Canadian. It was a beautiful day but I didn't take a lot of pictures because we were moving at a brisk pace.

Liz had an outstanding day with Steve Mayer. They skied some of the same places we did like Big Bang/Feather Trees, Zut Zut and Swiss Cheese. Liz said Steve Mayer was the best ski instructor of her life, bar none.
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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Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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