The club just got back from
Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. Overall, I
thought it was an awesome trip. We arrived Saturday night in
Vancouver, after being stuck in Chicago for an hour longer due to
some fuel/weight issues on the plane. That was pretty
annoying. What else was annoying was being stuck in customs in
Canada. Apparently, they seemed to like me so well that they
wanted to get to know me better. Hoping to meetup with the rest
of the group after getting my luggage, I get sent into their
"special" room to get interviewed and my luggage searched.
I finally get through that fun, thrills and follies only to find my
group left without me. I was able to jump on a bus with the
Pentagon club and got up there to Whistler/Blackcomb. It was
cool to get to see Mike Bailey again as well as hanging out with Rae
and Scott. Also, the accommodations where actually pretty nice,
plus it was ski-in, ski-out. I was at Whistler/Blackcomb 15
years ago, and I remember actually riding up that Wizard lift and
seeing the pool and thinking "How cool it would be to get to
stay right there off the slopes, but figured it was way to expensive
and I would not be able to afford that!" And here we were
15 years later and actually staying there!
The first day of
skiing (Sunday, Feb 4) dawned with a bit of rain in the morning but
there was snow farther up the mountain. That all quit and
turned out to be a really good day of skiing overall. I pretty
much stayed on the lower part of Blackcomb mountain as I wanted to
get a feel for the conditions. I got out a little late due to
trying to recover after the very long day before. The condos we
stayed at included a free breakfast, especially as I did not get to
stop at a grocery store on the way up to get anything. By the
time I got in from skiing the Super Bowl was already half over.
At least I did not have to listen to Justin Timberlake screeching out
some annoying, banal, crappy pop song during the half-time show. The
game overall was pretty close, but the Eagles managed to pull one out
ahead of the Patriots (and thus maintaining the Steelers record of
most Super Bowls won ).
Day two of skiing (Monday, Feb 5)
also started out a pretty good and this time I managed to get over to
Whistler to explore a that a bit. Having been there 15 years
prior, once I saw some of this terrain, I started to remember skiing
some of that. Now, I am a much better skiing and in much better
shape than I was 15 years ago, so I got to really appreciate a lot
more of the terrain. I took the Peak Express up to the top at
Whistler, but it was so dang socked in up there that I could not see
Day three (Tuesday, Feb 6), was the race so Mike,
Scott, Rae, and I pretty much stayed in that area off the Jersey
Cream lift until it was our turn to take our runs at the race
course. Speaking of the race, I think this was the first time a
in a few years that the Fredericksburg Club came up empty in the
medals and awards. Usually we managed to at least take home one
of the participation awards as well as a couple of us managing a
medal in our age groups, but not this year. As usual, it seems
nearly all the awards went to Columbia, Pentagon, Baltimore, and
Richmond. I lost track of where the others went so I went off
and explored other parts of the mountain. I spent alot of time
over in that new Symphony bowl (it was new as of 2010, and not there
the last time I skied there), but again, the fog and low visibility
made it difficult to really see.
Day four (Wednesday, Feb 7),
was another wet day, plus the winds were ridiculous farther up.
I did not even attempt going up the peak express at Whistler due to
the wind and low visibility conditions! In fact, that ended
being closed anyway due to the conditions. The top of the
Harmony Express was getting pounded with wind and snow as well.
Again, spent most of the time over in Symphony Bowl where things
where a little better. We also started out early, taking
advantage this "Fresh Tracks" thing they had. Got to
board the Whistler Gondola at 7:15 in the morning and had an
excellent breakfast before heading out skiing before pretty much
Day five (Thursday, Feb 8), started out
cloudy, and this time we finally got over to Seventh Heaven,
The upper part was socked in, but the fog lifted fairly quickly once
the sun came out and gave out some incredible conditions. Also
the mountain got crowded. By my third run over there in the Seventh
Heaven area, it was getting ridiculous with the crowds. I
decided to sneak around to the backside of the mountain from the top
of Seventh Heaven lift and dropped down into the Blackcomb glacier.
That was awesome back there with excellent snow. By that time I
got skiing that I went in for lunch. I could not find the rest
of the group, especially in that crowd, but just as I was heading out
to put my skis back on, I found Mike, Scott, Connie, and Jill and
spent the afternoon skiing with them. The upper part of the
mountain had really good conditions, but the lower part was
getting really icy and skied off. In other words, typical
conditions that I deal with all the time at Massanutten.
six (Friday, Feb 9), was, by far, the best skiing in terms of weather
and conditions. It was pretty much bluebird, but holy crap,
those crowds were getting stupid! I tried to stay up as far as
I could were it is typically not as crowded due to the fact that it
is pretty much all expert terrain up there. I must've
skied down that Whistler Bowl at least four times that day, and also
managed to sneak a run on the Blackcomb Glacier right before that
closed. We also took advantage of the "Fresh Tracks"
breakfast again Friday morning. Unfortunately, on the way up,
got stuck on the Gondola for the better part of 15 to 20 minutes.
That was easily a run or two that I could've gotten in.
morning we departed (and it was depressing seeing that gorgeous
bluebird weather and all the people going out to ski, but the
mountain was probably ridiculously crowded anyway) and headed back to
Vancouver. It was cool to get to spend an afternoon/evening in
Vancouver proper as I've never been there. Me and Rae decided to try
that hop-on/hop-off tour trolley/bus thing, but unfortunatly, it was
getting pretty late in the afternoon, so there was not much time to
really do anything. Looking back, I should've just saved the
$45 CAD and rented a bicycle and rode around town or down in that
really cool Stanley Park they have there, or just followed Scott's
lead and just walked around town and go exploring. Still was a
neat overall look at the city and I really hope to one day get to
visit some more, especially for a longer time. I will admit
that I was also very tempted to want to get my skis out and check out
the local mountain that was right there near Vancouver, especially
since all three had night skiing. However, I did not want to
hassle with getting my skis and equipment all back out and then
having to figure out how to get up there and back.
Sunday morning was an early one as we had to depart back to reality.
Get back home to be greated with nearly 70 degree weather.
Gotta love Virginia in the winter. Anyway, despite some
of the challenging weather conditions we had in the earlier part of
the trip, overall, I had an awesome time and got 6 solid days of
skiing in. I stayed on the mountain until I was pretty much
forced to leave due to all the lifts being closed. According to
my ski tracking app, I also managed to clock in nearly 180,000 feet
of vertical over the 6 days of skiing. Will I go back to
Whistler/Blackcomb again? In a heartbeat!
As for club
business, the next general meeting will be Wednesday, February 21
over at The Pub. Also, there is that very nice trip to Les
Trois Vallee in France that is still coming up. How I so wish I
could go as that really does look like it will be an awesome trip.
Hope to see you at the meeting.