#EPICW11 – Whistle Weekend
A plan was hatched on the slopes of Heavenly in Lake Tahoe last year. The idea was simple: EPIC weekend with a great group of friends at Whistler, B.C.
It all came together this past weekend and it WAS EPIC! Tor, Chris, Tali, Amy, Dan, Jeff, Jessica, Josh, Nicora, Jessica and I drove up to Whistler on March 25th. We stayed at a big crazy house with beds for all and an eight person hot tub. The goal was to keep it simple and focus on time on the mountain. After we arrived we stocked up on groceries and got ready for day one. As we prepared a simple pasta and meatball dinner I was presented with a bright orange t-shirt signed by all my dear friends as the official symbol of epic-ness. It seems that all my planning and stoking emails had made an impression on the crew. Thank you for the kind gesturer. It warms my heart to know how fondly you think of me.
We all got up early on Saturday, ate a hearty breakfast and caught the bus in front of the house for the short ride to Whistler Village. It was a cool blue bird day with lots of bright sun bouncing off the dry powder packed snow coating the mountain.
On day one we arrived at the gondola up the mountain at 8:15 thinking that we might need to wait in line. We totally beat the crowds and walked right on. Dan, Amy, Josh and Chris hit the epic bowls and double diamond runs of Blackcomb and Jeff, Tor, Nicora, Tali and I headed up to the top of Whistler for the breathtaking views and the big wide cruizers. After a warm up run from the top of the Whistler Gondola down to the Emerald lift we too the Summit lift to the very top of Whistler. The view was simply amazing. We could see almost a 360 view of both the north and south valleys. I felt like I was standing on the top of the world. We all stood in front of a huge statue of Ilanaaq the Inukshuk (the official symbol of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics) for a very dramatic and delightful photo opportunity. We made our way down the Saddle run and down Fritz’s run to ride Big Red back up the mountain. Durning the run we had a bit of a scare with a strap that came off Jeff’s board. We did manage to find all the part and I brought my screw driver so we put the gear back together and we were on our way again. I think we did one more run before lunch but with the mountain being so huge we spent a lot of our time cruising the slopes and taking it all in rather than waiting in lift lines. I can’t recall any life line were we had to wait more than 3-5 minute before we were effortlessly gliding up the mountain.
For lunch we all met up at the lodge near the top of Whistler Gondola. The place was hopping but we managed to quickly find a table for all 8 of us to enjoy a well earned lunch and rehydrate. After lunch Tor and Tali went to enjoy some cruisers while the rest of us went back up the Summit lift to take more photos and ride the long steep run down to Creekside Village. We split up again at the top of the mountain with the plan to meet up again at 3:30ish at Garibaldi’s for Apres-ski. With the mildly cool weather the place was packed full of brightly colored skiers and boarders but we scored a table and enjoyed a pint of Canadian brew. As the sun went down we headed back to the house to clean up and do some grillin’, chillin’ and hot tubbin’. We then headed out to meander our way though the village and enjoy a bit of the night life. We made it back to the house before midnight and after a long day of epic boarding and a spirited time with amazing friends I feel asleep the second my head hit the pillow.
Day two had all of us starting off on Blackcomb at 9:00AM. The weather had changed and it was foggy and overcast. Our first run down from the Blackcomb Gondola down to Glacier lift was a little disconcerting with light fog affecting visibility. I actually experienced a bit of vertigo. In the valley of Glacier lift the fog was patchy and we thought that we could ride the lift out of it by heading up to the top of the mountain. Once we got to the top and hiked up over the peak of Blackcomb mountain to the Glacier bowl visibility was MUCH better because we were above the clouds. It is an amazing feeling to look across a valley and see the clouds below you.
After ripping it down the bowl we tool the long long long traverse back to the excelerator chair which put us back up above the Jersey Cream Lift. We were then back in the fog for a short run down to the Glacier Lift which we rode up the Horstman T-bar over Xhiggy’s Meadow. It was a nice long run down to the 7th Heaven lift. Rode back up. Made our way down to ride the Jersey Cream LIft up to the lodge at the Blackcomb end of the Peak2Peak gondola where we met up for lunch. The lodge was full but we scored a table fast and ate well. The lunch time conversation on day two was not as spirited as day one. With only spots of sun and pockets of fog we were a bit more mellow but smiling non the less. After lunch the skies seemed to open up a bit more and the fog had finally burned off so we made our way down around to the Solar Coaster express. Steep shuts, a bit of time in the glades (not the best for a second year boarder) and then a long cat walk down to the lift. We did one more run on Blackcomb and then took the Peak2Peak over to Whistler.
From mid Whistler Mountain we rode The Peak back to the very top. The more adventurous took Grand Finale into Whistler Bowl. I took the Saddle down. We all met at the base of the Big Red lift. Once back at mid mountain we cruised down looking for Dave Murray Downhill for one big run down Bear Paw. But we took a wrong turn and ended up taking a bonus lift ride up the Emerald Express to mid mountain. The next run down we got it right and I enjoyed Bear Paw and the expert hit Unsanctioned through the trees. We all met up at the base of Bear Paw and made our way down to Whistler Village and called it a day at 4:00.
We had plenty of beer and the hot tub back at the house so no need to fight the crowds for apres-ski. After a few beers and some tub time we cleaned up and headed out for dinner. It was great to end day two together enjoying each others stories. Jessica, Jessica and Nicora had spent the morning snow shoeing on the trails around Alta Lake at the base of Whistler.
After a relaxing dinner we walked up to the base of the mountain to watch the Fire and Ice show with boarders and skiers jumping through a ring of fire. The big finally for the show was a brief but brilliant fireworks display. We had time for one more drink before heading back to the house to play UNO into the night. I was surprised that most of us rallied and were up till well after midnight playing games, laughing and enjoying each other company.
Monday morning started off SLOW. After two days on the board I was beat. But after a cup of coffee, some breakfast and some chill time watching a Warren Miller movies we were ready to pack it up and hit the road. Dan and I took turns driving back. We dropped him off at SEA airport and made it back to Portland by 8:00pm.
I’d like to thank everyone who was able to join us on the trip. I’ve received some very kind texts and emails saying that it was the people that made it EPIC. The snow and the mountain was just an excuse to spend time together. I look forward to more epic adventures and will always cherish the memories we made during our little adventure.
Next up: #EpicParkCity12