More powder days in Whistler

Posted by Kitrina H 11th April 2011

April's around the corner and the weather is sunny and warm in Whistler. Clearly it's time to stop skiing and start golfing.

... April fools!
It seems like the powder days are far from over in Whistler. I believe we are out of the freeze of deep winter and in the valley the snow is receding but the mountain is still being relentlessly hit by storms. High winds and snow, bring it on! Tuesday was a whiteout - it's a weird feeling, truly, to be on a run that you've been down a hundred times and to have no idea where you are.

Lost in cloud

lost in the cloudsOn the Alpine run all I could do was go from piste marker to marker and hug the rocks until I could see. The fog was sitting in two bands, one on the peak and the other at mid station - in between was sweet vision.  Fortunately, I knew the run well enough to get to where I wanted to go, and it was so worth it. It wasn't the deepest powder day and some runs were getting tracked out but this is one incentive to get good on your snow sliding vessels of choice. If you go into the trickier areas there's less competition and they stay fresher longer.

Off the beaten track

The runs in Whistler do get tracked out fast, which is great if you're stuck in the 80s and love moguls, but it also has the most skiable terrain in North America. You can get powder for days if you explore it. You need to be adventurous, however; there are deep creek gullies and un-ridable cliff bands in those forests. Following my friend one day we were deep in the thickest trees - a machete would have been really handy. As I looked across at Whistler from Blackcomb I could see we were dropping lower and lower to the valley floor, I was wondering where the heck we were. Fortunately he knew and we ended up on a cat road. That incident turned out fine but I have had enough close call experiences to have the utmost respect for the mountains. Exploring and going off-piste is great but you need to be careful around here and read the signs patrol post. They are there for a reason, they're not just put there to spoil your fun.

Narrow escape – the NO zone!

Just a little while ago three groups of people, one a trio from the UK, were rescued after becoming lost in the backcountry. Actually they all just made calls on their cell phones and were directed to start their eight-hour hike on a Forestry Service Road. That would have been tiring but by far the cheaper option since if you are out of bounds on Whistler/Blackcomb and need assistance you will have to pay for your rescue. Helicopter fuel, time... all that. The Whistler Search and Rescue blog actually has some pictures of areas around the ski boundary on Whistler, with a big NO! marked on were you don't want to go. They also have pics of the cliffs, frozen waterfalls, and creek gullies you'll end up at if you go down the NO! zone. At the end of the day, if a mountain is new to you, it's probably better to stay in bounds – at least patrol will stick a sign in front of a cliff band or a long walk home. Or if you're dying to explore there is always the Whistler Guides Bureau to help you out – it'll save you an unnecessary hike, or just save you.

New favourite Whistler spot

Kitrinas favourite placeAfter riding I went to hang out at my new favourite spot, Dub Lin Gate pub at the bottom of the hill. It is, you guessed it, an Irish pub. It really is – it's been imported piece by piece from the UK and assembled in Whistler, no lie. I once asked an English client of mine what she thought of it and she said it wasn't very authentic because it was "too clean". Well, it turns out it's completely authentic! There's also live music almost every day after 3:45pm. Today the bar was lively and people were tearing up the dance floor. You know it's been a good day if you find yourself dancing in your ski boots, extra good if it's on a table. It's a great cool-down exercise too, after a day on the slopes.

Keep the party going in Pemberton

The good times rolled on in Pemberton – the next town up the road from Whistler – as DJ Rich-A took the floor at the Pemberton Hotel. Pemby local Rich-A is not just a DJ but a lover of music. You could get anything with Rich-A, anything from Jim Morrison to Disney soundtracks to top 20 stuff. All mixed with different beats and scratching thrown in there too. I've never seen a DJ manage to keep the dancefloor stoked all night until the last song was played, the lights came on and the bouncer started kicking people out. Bringing the original spirit of breaks, playing the best part of the song so dancers are pumped all night. Some weekends in Pemberton are quiet, but once in a while it's like Ibiza in the mountains.


About the author

Kitrina: I was born in Quesnel, B.C., Canada, the heart of B.C's forestry industry. We had a ski hill within an hour's drive from town, and I made many trips out there with friends and family. I always loved it, and said to myself that on the slopes was right where I wanted to spend the rest of my days. Still, I didn't think that was possible, until I moved to Whistler. I've lived there the for the last nine years and haven't looked back. But it is also my dream to ride in my father's home country, Bosnia

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