Final Whistler diary

I have one more day to write about. Can you tell I’m in total denial and if I don’t write this post it’s like I never left B.C.? I wish the 25cm we are suppose to get fell last week in B.C. while I was there. Sigh

Sigh, I will get it up as Saturday was the best day.

Whistler Style

I look a couple style shots for you all. So here they are.

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Hands down the hottest outfit on the mountain was by this British woman (who was the 2nd black person on the mountain besides me on Sat.). She was a wearing an Adidas by Stella McCartney snow suit. It was hot and I told her so. I didn’t take a picture though 🙁

There were a lot of great outfits on the mountain. I got the shots I could without having to talk to people and explain the whole fashion blogging thing.

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 5 – Expert Status

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I feel like the skier I should be finally. Today really helped my confidence in my ability which sometimes waver. Eric couldn’t join me on the slopes today so I thought I would be alone, but Mo saved the day. Mo is an incredible skier and saying those words doesn’t do the man justice. It’s disgusting how good he is. He also has his level 2 teaching so I wanted to make sure that I used his time and advice wisely.

After he saw me do a couple runs, he looked and me and said “You’re a good skier, what the hell am I suppose to teach you.” I breathed a sigh of relief, I’m doing it right. I should let people know that I first started skiing in Grade 4 and that’s over 20 years ago. I also had a lot of instruction during my younger years. That is growing up in Richmond Hill for you 🙂

So, Mo knew I wanted to hit up blowhole today. He decided that I should be trying some other harder runs too. So we went to one of his favourite runs the double black diamond, Coulier Extreme off of Chainsaw Ridge. The Ski and Snowboard Guide to Whistler Blackcomb describes Coulier like this:

An ultra-popular mega-couloir. The line is right down the center of the bowl. Formally known as the Saudan Coulior, this has been the staging place for the thigh-burning horror show know as the Coulior Extreme Race.

I took a look and it was hairy, really hairy. I passed and said let’s try something else first. So we went through Secret Bowl to Pakalolo which is also another black diamond run. it didn’t look as hairy and I took it with little complaints.

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We hit up the Blackcomb Glacier and I went on blowhole which was a cakewalk compared to Pakalolo. The pic above is me standing at the opening of blowhole. Once warmed up, it was back to Coulior Extreme. I didn’t pass this time, but I did have a tiny freakout once I got past the point of no return. It is so damn steep, I wasn’t sure if I could get down this thing. Since there was no way out, I got my composure back and said let’s do this shit. The top picture is me begining my descent. You can get a bit of the feel of how steep it was. It’s even steeper in real life.

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I don’t ever use the term “Giv’er” seriously ever; it’s always been in a mocking tone. After coming out of Coulior I truly felt like I had “Gived Her”. I had a huge giddy grin on my face the whole day which consisted of two more times on the Glacier, some 7th Heaven and Horstman Glacier.

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Today was really beautiful up top, not a cloud in the sky. The clouds were all mid-mountain and it was a beautiful view. I’m getting a goggle tan, I forgot to wear my moisturizer with sunscreen today

Whistler Day 4 – A little bit of powder

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I could write a long post about how amazing it was today, but I won’t because I’m tired and I have other posts to write. Today was the hardest day of skiing so far. In addition to the powder to deal with, we did a lot of bump skiing today. I was complaining at how I’m not a good bump skier so it was practice, practice, practice today. I wonder how long my legs will last.

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I will say that Blackcomb Glacier was stupid fun today. The little pathway past the double black diamond run BlowHole that opens up the rest of the glacier to advanced and intermediate skiers was so sketchy. It was snowing and visibility was pretty low. It was sketchier yesterday in the bright sun. There was a man in front of me and you could tell he was having a problem with the height. He was grabbing at the snow wall and crouching as he walked. I kept a good distance from this guy. Yesterday, I was a bit nervous about the pathway but today it was all good. I took a good look a BlowHole and I’m going to take it tomorrow. It will be my first double black diamond run. Wish me luck. We tried to hit the glacier again but it was closed by the time we go out of it and back to the Excelerator chair.

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I also did a lot of gladed skiing today which was fantastic. Gladed skiing is through the trees and it can be quite hairy. There is no place for wrong choices because you end up getting to know a tree really well. There was one run called Arthur’s Choice that was so crazy. Some turns would result in a foot drop in vertical. It was really beautiful in there with the trees covered in moss and the fog building as you wander down. Of course my camera died by this point and I didn’t get any pictures. Please enjoy the ones I have posted though.

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Snow is coming Friday and Saturday. I only planned to ski 5 days, but I don’t think I’m gonna pass on Saturday if the snow continues. This week has been incredible, the mountains are completely dead.

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Isn’t windburn sexy!

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.

Sorry about the lack of posts this past week

IMGP5962It’s been a crazy hectic week. I’ve been planning my vacation in Whistler (I am writing this from there now on my new Asus eee pc) and getting work commitments done.

However, since I’m now mobile you’ll get all the updates on my vacation in real time instead of a week later. It’s 1pm westcoast time and it’s messing with my head a bit. I still have a full day to do stuff.

The World Cup is happening on the mountain so there will be no skiing today as it’s quite busy. I’m hoping for a big dumping of snow while I’m here.

Look for more pictures during the week. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some ski style shots while I’m out here, but I don’t expect much.

Whistler

My friend has been taunting me with tales of massive snowfall every night and skiing Blackcomb glacier on Christmas. It’s complete with photos. Look at that snow, it’s killing me!

Whistler 2008

February is coming soon.

I’m in love with Blackcomb Glacier

Anita in Whistler, BC 2005 Trip
Blackcomb Mountain is so beautiful. In my 2005 trip, I didn’t really see much of Blackcomb. I was too busy trying to figure out which way was up. The conditions were terrible, visibility was like 5 feet, snow was blowing sideways and it was cold. I used to think Whistler was my favourite mountain but today’s trip definitely changed that. My friend Eric told me Blackcomb Glacier gives a new meaning to big. I thought he was being a bit melodramatic, I was wrong. You get the opening of this glacier and you are completely awestruck. It’s big alright, fucking big. You look down and see how tiny the other skiers are in the bowl. It took a gondola, 2 lift chairs and a t-bar to get Blackcomb Glacier from the base. We skied the glacier again but it only took 2 lift chairs and a t-bar. It’s totally worth it. My pictures will not do the glacier justice. It’s grander than grand and completely humbling; then you get to ride it. w00t!

Note: this picture is from my 2005 trip. My outfit is pretty much the same, sans helmet and mittens. I got different mitts and said screw you to the helmet.

I’m in Whistler and you’re not

Kidrobot Gloomy Bear
Okay, the title of this post is kinda cruel but I’m enjoying my time in Whistler, BC. I skied some of Whistler mountain on Monday and hit Blackcomb mountain today. Apparently, we are going to get a dumping of snow on Thursday, so I’m getting giddy for the powder. w00t. I’m taking a bunch of pictures but I don’t have a laptop so you’ll have to see them when I get back. I’m posting this from my friend’s Powerbook.

Skiing is like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it. Those 10+ years of skiing regularly in my youth has helped me move back into black diamond territory. I’m still not brave or good enough to attempt the double black diamond runs.

Talk to you soon readers. Regular blogging will start on April 8, 2007

image: kidrobot.com