Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Skiing, "pineapple express" rains, and bad colds: Our first month back home in Whistler

Heading over to Whistler on the Peak-to-Peak gondola (March 2, 2015)

We arrived home in January to snow in the valley. Skiing was quite good. Then the torrential rains and warm weather from several "pineapple express" weather systems hit. Temperatures were well above freezing from valley to the top of the mountains -- a lot of snow was lost. Near Vancouver, skiing on the local North Shore mountains all but finished.

After the rains, temperatures stayed well above normal. At Whistler, it was "Spring Skiing" in February. Whistler-Blackcomb did a great job of grooming and kept much of the mountains open for skiing, with skiing from top to bottom.  In Vancouver, the cherry blossoms and daffodils are coming out, and people have been walking around in shorts. (We've been down in Vancouver several times for 2-3-day visits.) * 

No snow on Vancouver's North Shore mountains (Feb 21, 2015)

In the midst of this, we both caught nasty colds (likely from a neighbouring passenger on the flight home): first Michelle, then David. For three of our first four weeks home, one or both of us were suffering.

Creekside: Bottom of Dave Murray Downhill (left). Lower Peak-to-Creek (right), with no snowmaking, is bare.

Blackcomb: Bottom of "Cruiser" (top left) is bare whereas snowmaking has kept "Merlin's" open
Snowmaking further up on Cruiser
Temperatures have now come back down, enabling Whistler-Blackcomb to kick-in their significant snowmaking systems. So, even though we have received little new natural snow since we arrived, the snow, and thus skiing, is getting better. (Unfortunately for the mountain, most people down in Vancouver think there is no snow anywhere for skiing, so the mountain is empty. Aw shucks....)

Lot of snow up high; bare and dry down in the valley (looking down "Springboard" from Rendezvous Lodge)

Heading over to the Blackcomb Glacier (March 3, 2015)

Michelle, with Blackcomb Glacier behind

We are skiing regularly, though mostly on groomed "blue" runs. (Dave Murray Downhill, technically a black diamond run, has also been quite good, as has the Blackcomb glacier.) Normally we prefer skiing black diamond and off-piste runs (and gladed tree skiing), but they are either too icy do not have enough snow.. Still, we are skiing top-to-bottom regularly, having fun, and we're getting lots of sun, fresh air, and exercise.

* For those not familiar with Whistler: Whistler is 115 kilometers and a couple of mountain ranges north of Vancouver. (On a sunny day, the road to Whistler, the "Sea-to-Sky" highway, is a stunningly beautiful 2-hour drive along a fiord and then up into the mountains surrounded by snow-clad peaks. However, on a rainy/snowy day, this "beautiful drive" can turn nasty.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment