© 2011 jemma

The return of the Whistler


Today is officially the first day of Spring. I don’t actually know why it is the first day today and not on the first of March, but here we are. The first day of spring and it’s pouring with rain 🙂 Not as much rain I must add as back home! Hope you are all safe and dry!

This past weekend would have to have been the best weekend we have had in a while. We went back to Whistler.
Since we were there last it has snowed so much. I think the base is now at 360 cm, which was better than it was the first time and it snowed while we were there. I think it’s going to be a long season!

We again caught the bus up on Friday afternoon. We had a good chat to the bus driver and a young boy the whole way there. Jess was upset because he wanted to read, however the chat proved to be a good investment because we found out some inside information on the roads to Banff and Jasper (our next big adventure) and other roads we should take later on. Very helpful. We may even see a grizzly on the way! (Upon reading the schedule for our kayaking adventure in Alaska, I am now more scared of bears than I was before. We will be camping in bear country) 😮 We also learnt that spring break had started, as of 3pm. Hmmm crowds anyone?

When I read the weather report for Whistler the day before, it had said it was going to be nice and sunny on the weekend. We were rather looking forward to a bit of sun, as it is very scarce these days, but on Saturday morning when I opened the blinds to snow I was happy for fresh powder.

We woke up early and aimed to be on the lifts at 8:30am if not before to beat the crowds. We figured all the spring breakers would have a bit of a lie-in. The strategy paid off and we were the first or in the top five people on the runs in most cases.

It snowed heavily pretty much the whole day. Jess was in his element with the phrases, “this is the best day snowboarding ever,” “which run do you think was the highlight?” being repeated often and the cheesiest grin on his face all day 🙂

As one lady on the lift said, “I call this snow hero snow”. Why? Because it feels like you will never fall over and if you do, you fall on champagne powder. You never need to find an edge because you feel so light that the snow just takes you. And you take more risks, as proved by the many people we witnessed either being taken down the hill or attended to on the hill. One boarder we saw had been hurt pretty bad because – I think – he had dropped into the run from a great height.

Half the time you had no idea where you were heading. At one stage I thought Jess was behind me as I headed down our favourite run ‘backstage pass’ (a run that they never groom so is always powdery) that we have been on so many times. I stopped and turned to see what I thought would be Jess coming along, only to see no one. No phones, no way of knowing if he had crashed into a tree – he tends to not stay on the path – I called and waited. I even asked passers by if they had seen him. After waiting what seemed 20min, I continued down to the lift where we were originally heading. I wasn’t panicking, but in my mind he was dead already and there was nothing I could do.

20min down the run later – it’s a long one – I made my way to the lift only to see… no one waiting in our usual spot. Now the reason I stated panicking then was because Jess is a faster boarder than me and I expected him to be waiting. As I turned to see where I had just come from, I saw his blue beanie and was relieved. He had apparently gone the wrong way, down a track that we had never been on to the wrong lift. Apparently on his way to me he had thought of the fight we would have – didn’t happen – in which I had said “well I went the right way” – this did happen.

After this small hiccup, we pretty much spent the afternoon doing run after run. We even ventured across to whistler – we are, and still are, massive Blackcomb fans – on the peak to peak to finish off our mammoth day of boarding from 8:20am till 4pm. It was the best day, where we had even made it to the top of the Glacier chair – a fantastic place we had never been to – but that afternoon we were wrecked!! Luckily we had pizza for dinner to liven our spirits.

The next day was much the same, however we had clear skies – which made it easier for no one to get lost – and bright warm sun. They could of left the freezing winds out though.

Jess was determined to be REALLY early to the lifts, and at 8am we were lined up and ready to go. Best part was that we were first down one of the fastest and longest runs on the mountain. Great fun! Although there was no fresh powder, it was still nice to cruise down the groomed runs in the sunshine, and overnight freezing had a least made the bottom half of the mountain less slushy. On ‘backstage pass’ the sun was hitting the small bits of ice at just the right angle to make it look like you were gliding though crystals.

Because it was sunny and you could see what you were doing, it gave us the opportunity to muck around more in the trees, following and making little paths and jumps. Lets make it clear that I do not do jumps – small or large – but I did do few small ones and made some of them. My arse had a great time. Nah, was great fun falling around the trees into the deep powder and laughing at yourself and watching others doing the same.

Alas just after two in the afternoon we had to stop, take our gear back and wait for our bus home. We were knackered, but very happy. The bar tender even gave us a free jug of sprite – very nice girl – while we waited and played connect four and ate yam poutine with pulled pork. La fin parfaite au week-end le plus fantastique.