04 March 2012

11-23 February 2012: Whistler, Canada

12 days skiing at Whistler - I couldn't turn that opportunity down and so booked the trip with a friend from London...six months ago...not knowing I was going to be moving to New York! But thankfully it was Canada and not Europe that I was going to.

We booked an all inclusive package that included accommodation, breakfast and an evening meal.  We also organised ski passes, ski hire and everything else beforehand so the first day we were straight on the mountain (even though I didn't get to bed until 2am due to a delayed plane).  We had a 10 day ski pass so every day counted as we only had 10 days (+ 2 days travelling).

The biggest difference between Whistler and European slopes is that the runs are wider, lots more powder, lots more runs, not as crowded and there were two massive mountains to choose from (Whistler & Blackcomb).  Everyday we got to where both gondalas go to their respective mountain and decided which one we were going to spend the day on.  Of course, depending on conditions we switched mountains during the day via a gondala at 2,300 feet!

The first three days was sunny and warmish - which meant no new snow, hardpacked, a bit icy and then a bit sludgy by the end of the day.  I really enjoyed it as it was similar to European slopes.  Then it snowed on and off for the rest of the days we were there.  Of course that bought some unpleasant conditions such as low visibility, cold winds, and blasting snow!  But we did learn how to ski in poweder, and that can be hard work!

In fact I took a day's ski lesson which was really helpful.  They are called Max4 lessons and only 4 to a instructor  - I ended up sharing an instructor with 2 Aussies (there were a hell of a lot of Aussies on the slopes working!).  It was great as we were at the same level and he took us to the Blackcomb glacier (involved a walk up to it) and other areas I hadn't gone to yet.  And of course, I learnt some new stuff as well.

As for evenings we would head back to the chalet (about 20min walk from the slopes) and then join about 4-8 others for a meal.  They were a combination of many different nationalities....Brits, European, Canadian, Japenese.... We didn't go into town much at night as we were tired out and it involved another 20min walk! But we did see the Snow and Light show which is every Sunday, and did enjoy a couple of meals in Whistler village.

On one of the days we took the afternoon off to go dogsledding. What fun!  We were the only ones and got to enjoy the experience of having 7 dogs dragging us along!  Unfortunately they were not particularly motivated and so the poor guide did have to do a lot of work to get them going!! Not cheap at C$190, but really worth the experience.

It was a fantastic, if not tiring, 10 days and I really do recommend Whistler to everyone who skis/snowboards. Certainly a bit different skiing on powder, including different types of skis, but you really can ski your heart out here!


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