Whistler Day 5 – The Bane of My Existence

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I talked about White Out conditions on Day 3. Those conditions were a joke compared to Friday’s outing. Friday we did Fresh Tracks which is breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler and first access to the mountain before opening to the public. It was snowing so we were looking for a good time. It was puking snow on the mountain all day. The freeze line was kinda high so at one point we were skiing in rain. It was awful returning to the freeze line because then you’d get cold again.

The peak was insane. 60 – 80 km/hr winds and absolutely zero visibility. I wanted to take a picture of what I saw but it would be the same as posting an image of a white square. All you saw was white, there was no way to determine which way was up or down. Gravity sometimes helped and other times the winds were pushing you so much you just prayed there was no cliffs around to fall off of. There was a reason why the Experts light was flashing at the bottom of the Peak Express chair.

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Eric and I are crazy. We hit the peak 4 or 5 times that day. Each time the weather got more and more extreme. The liftie must have been wondering about us, because we were some of the few people repeating their trips to the peak. We skied West Bowl in the mess and couldn’t see a damn thing. The snow was great there though. We also tried looking for Bagel Bowl but it was impossible. My hands were getting cold and my will to take this punishment was waning. So finally I said, I can’t do this peak shit anymore. Eric replies, Okay lets got up to peak (the lift line was zero) and hit Harmony chair. Stupid me said Okay. The route to get to Harmony from the peak of Whistler was disgusting. There were drifts everywhere so you would get stuck. The wind was so cold and I was screaming my head off the whole time. I couldn’t see Eric at all and when we did find each other, we said forget Harmony and lets get the hell out of here. The peak was the bane of my existence and I was done with the mountain. Nothing sucks the will to ski from me, but this storm had won. Snow or no snow. It’s a good thing we didn’t goto Harmony chair because they had closed it. We were the last people on peak too because they closed it also. That’s mountain weather for you.

I’m sure you are wondering about some of these runs I’ve taken so here is a link to a pdf mountain map and an interactive map. I’ll do a list of all my runs in the Day 6 post.

Whistler Day 3 – White Out

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It wasn’t clear and beautiful today. It was windy and we were in the clouds on the top of Whistler. It was snowing towards the end of the day which was a plus. I hear that lots of snow is coming on Friday; I’m praying to the snow gods that it’s true.

Whistler didn’t have the fashion I was expected. Blackcomb seriously kicked Whistler’s ass in terms of style. Although, I have to give props to the older gentleman I saw rocking a purple jumpsuit, that was hot. Skiing and snowboarding are the only sports where you will see men wearing the most ridiculous colours like purple and neon green. I love it. I didn’t see any Pucci or Prada on the slopes either.

So I didn’t take any style pictures so I thought I would break down my own ski style. It’s not all that fashion forward and leans on the more practical side.

My jacket by 686 is for snowboarding actually. I didn’t buy it with the intention of using it for skiing, it was just suppose to be a warm winter jacket. It was downfilled and I liked the cut. It works well for skiing as it blocks the wind and allows movement. I really would like to get a great gore tex shell and a nice fleece to be honest. The key to staying warm is layering after all. Those are purchases for much later.

My pants are a relic from when I last owned ski equipment, which was about ’92. I realized how out of touch I was with advances in ski equipment when I first came to Whistler. I rented the high performance skis which are about at eye level now. When I last had skis they were measuring them to the tip of you hands elevated. The skis now are much shorter, fatter and carve like a son of a bitch. It took a bit of adjustment. I realized how ancient my ski experiences were when I read this passage in the Ski & Snowboard Guide to Whistler Blackcomb describing the Chunkys Choice run.

Considered a classic when bump skiing was the rage! Dust off that “daffy” with which you used to impressed the chicks. Scott boots, Spalding skis and Schneider stretch pants required!

I actually owned a pair of stretch pants back in the day, you don’t see that stuff around now, that’s for sure. For the record I started skiing in grade 4 which is over 20 years ago.

I had friends talk to me about the shopping Whistler. It sucks, it’s mostly stuff you see back home, The Gap and Billabong. The only store that has me jazzed was The North Face store. I went in tonight and was a little disappointed. The women’s section is pretty small. I did see a 3/4 length silver down filled coat that I really like though. Speaking of The North Face, my gloves are from them. They have a little stash pocket that you can put hand warmers in. They also have special fabric on the thumbs for wiping goggles, which is a nice touch.

There is nothing you can do about a helmet, they look dorky, but it’s better than a head injury. I’m not a recreational, lazy daisy skier. I like to go fast and I go hard. It’s always a serious workout when I go skiing out here. That is a trait of all my outdoor pursuits I’m not there to take it easy, I’m there to work my butt off.

One of my favourite runs is the black diamond Dave Murray run on Whistler. It’s used alot for downhill races and training that it’s closed alot. It’s a great run, fast, steep grade, no moguls. You can get into a rhythm of short turns really easily. I prefer short turns to the wide and long ones.

I’m contemplating trying the Ziptrek tour so I can fly around at 80km/hr on a cable through the trees.

Whistler Day 2 – Apres Ski

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Today was the first day on the mountain and it was spectacular. My friend Eric and I spent the day on Blackcomb and it was completely dead. Lift lines were non-existent and you had free run of the place. We did Blackcomb glacier once and stuck to runs around the Excalibur, 7th Heaven, SolarExpress and Glacier lifts.

I am within walking distance to the mountain, this mornings trek was like a death march. I have new boots that aren’t quite broken in yet. My feet hurt and continued throughout the morning. By the end of the day though, they were all good.

I’m liking the K2 One Luv skis too. They are pretty fast but controllable.

I’m kicking myself for not bringing my camera today because I saw lots of interesting ski wear out and about. Oh well, tomorrow.