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More News from Somewhere So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Whistler gets awesome.

CANADA | Thursday, 24 February 2011 | Views [2199]

Blue bird 30cm powder day - thanks to Lauryn for this and other photos.

Blue bird 30cm powder day - thanks to Lauryn for this and other photos.

So after a couple of quiet weeks, with not as much snow as we’d become accustomed to, we were starting to wonder if that was it for the season. The snow base dropped about 20cm, from around 245cm to 225cm, non-pisted runs were getting mogelled to the point of not being fun, and we were having to hit up more out-of-the-way runs, park or stick to groomers to have a good time on the snow. The weather was bouncing between warm (resulting in melted snow) and very cold (turning melted snow into rock). Fortunately a few things happened to mix things up.

The first happy happening was the arrival of Carly from Perth. Carls stayed with us for around a week and a half, and although she hadn’t snowboarded all that much before, after a couple of lessons she was taking to it like a natural. Pretty much as soon as Carly arrived we had a little bit of snow, which helped freshen things up a little on the mountain.

The day after Carls arrived, Bron, Carls and I headed up for Fresh Tracks – a buffet breakfast at the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain which lets you up on the slopes before the general public. After we had finished gorging on a range of tasty options, we headed out to the slopes, although we spent as much time throwing snowballs at each other as riding on the mountain.


On the Sunday, we headed in to check out the Fire and Ice Show, a park show put on each Sunday by Whistler Blackcomb, where skiers and snowboarders perform tricks jumping through a flaming ring, with some fireworks at the end. We followed this up with drinks at the GLC, before moving on to Tommy Africa's for a couple of games of pool and a dance, and run into a bunch of our work crew were at for some birthday drinks (this was a recurring theme – we’d done the same a couple of days before when heading in for après at Merlins Bar – this resulted in Carly’s first drunken climb up staff hill). It felt like we’d been at Tommy's for no time at all when the lights came on. Good night, even if I did see a workmate who will remain un-named flashing the barmen for a free drink (Tommy's has a fun ‘Hooters for Shooters’ policy). Canadian bars are a little different to Australian bars, with table top dancing also encouraged (except for some random partier who had been at the GLC, and could barely walk).

Carly also got me back into indoor climbing, which I hadn’t done since the start of the season. Since the mountain opened, my arms haven’t done any work at all, so that was a shock to the system. Carly is a very accomplished climber, and it was pretty cool to watch what she was doing, and I was able to improve a lot from watching her climb.

Towards the end of her stay in Whistler, things got really fun. Every Sunday, the Fairmont has a half price locals fondue special, and we indulged in a four course fondue meal, comprising of an appetiser (salad, soup or preserved meats), a cheese fondue with black truffle, a chinoise fondue and a chocolate fondue for desert. It was an incredibly tasty and big meal, and we were lucky one of the guys from the restaurant chauffeured us back to staff housing. The snow started again, so that was good, at Carly got to enjoy a couple of days of powder skiing, including another morning of fresh tracks for the three of us, before we met up with Monica from work for a day of shredding. This happened to coincide with Valentines Day (or 'Slap a happy couple day' for our housemate Jo). I hadn’t prepared anything, so whilst Bron was away, I hastily prepared a bunch of ‘hand-made’ vouchers. And they say romance is dead…

The girls tucking into fondue

Ash Grunwald toured through Whistler, Bron, Carls, JoJo and I caught the show, it was a great show and we hadn't seen live, original music for a while. The Whistler music scene is dominated by decent cover bands and DJs.

It was super fun having Carly around, and we were a bit bummed when she left. Fortunately, the best cure for melancholy at Whistler is snow, and it came in torrents – 211cm in 6 days. To give this context to people from Australia, Mt Buller averages 150cm of snow per year. The heaviest fall was 55cm in a day. That is a whole lot of snow. It took Bron one day of this to decide to invest in a pair of powder skis, which she is loving – after one day on powder skis, Bron realised why people rave about powder so much. It has made for absolutely sensational skiing – I headed out with Lauryn, a girl I work with at the hut on Thursday and Friday for some exploring on the mountain. We got fresh lines for almost all of our runs with deep, deep powder, and I was able to drop my biggest drop yet – a cornice with a total drop of around 8m, the landing like fluffy marshmallow.

Fresh lines on one of the big powder days

We’ve started planning our next stage of our trip after Whistler, with a quick trip to Onterrible, followed by Quebec City, Montreal and north-eastern United States, before travelling to Central America and the New World.

Tags: music, snow, whistler


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