Club Holiday To Whistler 6/3/04 - 17/3/04
By Derek Draper
An uneventful but long and debilitating flight to Vancouver with too many movies and too little food and also a two+ hour transfer to Whistler meant we had not slept for almost 24 hours! Nevertheless, sleep was out of the question before a meal at 2000 hrs local time when our body clocks expected breakfast! The Crystal Lodge rooms were OK and the location was ideal, within 200 yards of the lifts. Some pictures may eventually appear on the club web-site depending on the technology and the editor. Anybody wishing to receive all snaps by e-mail should contact the author.
The time difference caused most of us to wake very early to a typical Whistler welcome of snow flakes like wet face cloths! Lift passes had been organised on the transfer bus so we were all on the mountain by 1000hrs. skiing with new snow and poor visibility. The area pass covers both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains but is not cheap at $C585 (Crystal discount price!). There are no red runs, just green (Trails) lots of blues and blacks many of which are "gladed" i.e. through trees and quite challenging. The resort is at 2,500ft and the highest skiing is at 8,000ft on Blackcomb ( Whistler 7,000ft) The lift system is very good and very fast. Most lifts provided at least 1km of vertical lift. The numerous runs often merged or crossed and the sign posting was inconsistent causing some confusion.
Weekenders from Vancouver and Seattle were very much in evidence causing some queuing at lifts, but worse was the "line" at restaurants for dinner. 50,000 beds in Whistler and only 120 restaurants causes capacity problems.
The weather improved during the second day and blue skies prevailed. The weekenders had gone home so we all enjoyed a good day's skiing. The following days were clear and sunny but the nights were also, and hence, very cold, resulting in icy conditions each morning and sugary slopes in the afternoon. We tended to delay starts each morning to allow some softening of the ice.
The club party of 12 appeared to lack cohesion but the resultant sub-groupings by contrast were constant in their loyalty; skiing each day together and dining together each night. Attempts to arrange gatherings of the whole party were, in the main, not very successful.
The weekend saw the start of half term and the arrival of families en masse. Restaurant reservations were essential although some eating establishments would not take bookings and insisted on "The Line!". To avoid the crowded slopes on the Sunday some took an interesting conducted tour to Vancouver with a driver that talked for two+ hours without pausing for breath!
The start of the following week was wet, cold and misty with high winds on the tops and this weather persisted up to our departure. Inevitably, the Crystal Rep. on the return bus informed us of the imminent arrival of snow storms the following day.
Click on an image below for a larger picture.