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AngelaS Mar 25th, 2008 07:52 AM

Whistler Trip Report
I just woke up to a pleasant dream that I was still snowboarding in Whistler, only to realize I'm back in the midwest.. no mtns in sight.. =( Oh well - time to get back to reality!

My Dh and I had an amazing trip to Whistler. We flew to Kansas City (which in the future I will avoid at ALL costs b/c they make EVERYONE go thru security again even though we'd already been thru - makes NO sense) and then to Seattle. We rented an SUV and drove north to Whistler. Once we passed Vancouver it started to rain and snow at times and the visibility on the Sea to Sky Hwy was not the best. We were using our new GPS system though and it was quite helpful for the entire trip! No need to even pull out the map. It was quite foggy and cloudy but I could still see some spectacular views of Howe Sound and gushing streams down the side of the mountain.

I was amazed at how far out Whistler is - it's really in the middle of the mtns - middle of nowhere which is great! We stopped in the town of Squamish and purchased lift tickets (only about 70 CDN$ if I remember correctly) and bought some groceries there too. By then it was very dark and snowing and very hard to see the road. I wouldn't advise anyone to drive at night like we did - my DH was driving and it was pretty scary - hard toe ven see where the line on the road was.

Finally we arrived at Whistler. We rented out a unit at Stoney Creek at North Star. It was awesome - fit all of our needs. Very clean, had a nice gas fireplace, just a short walk to the IGA and the free shuttle to the lifts. The IGA was very reasonably priced for a resort grocery store IMO and we could've skipped buying groceries in Squamish even. We did most of our cooking in our condo.

First day of skiing - Monday: Blackcomb. The weather was not the best - VERY foggy and cloudy with snow at times. (It snowed every day we were there - it was great!) The fog was really annoying b/c it was hard to see was the terrain was even with good goggles. We attempted to head up to 7th Heaven but it was so foggy up there you couldn't see anything, we just went back down. We had lunch at the base of Blackcomb Gondola at Black's Restaurant. I had a burger which was good, and DH had a salmon sandwich which was quite small. IMO very typical for on mtn dining.

Tues - headed to Whistler. The Whistler Gondola is great b/c it takes you almost all the way to the very top of the mtn, whereas at Blackcomb, you have to take several lifts to head all the way up. It was snowing (again!!) and the conditions were awesome. We found what turned out to be our favorite run, just off to the right of the gondola - some nice easy greens & blues: taking Ego Bowl into the Family Zone (great in the am - there was no one there), down to Upper Olympic, the Enchanted Forest, down to Lower Olympic. Then we decided to head all the way up to the peak, seeing as there were some blue and greens up there. Once we got up to the top of the Peak Chair, again visibility was very poor. As a snowboarder I'm not the comfortable on those narrow green runs where there's a cliff off the edge and that's exactly how it was up top. On skis, it would've been fine. But with the high winds it was bad!! We made our way around and went down The Saddle on Glacier Bowl. Had the visibility been better I think we would've been able to do the Peak to Creek.

It seemed Whistler Mtn. had much better conditions than Blackcomb during the entire week. We stuck to many of the blues and the only annoying thing was landing on a mogul run on a snowboard - not that fun. It seemed in general even the runs that the resort had made moguls were not clearly marked and we encountered some blue runs with unmarked moguls. At times it was difficult to see which run you were going on - blue, green, black, and some runs were not clearly marked.

AngelaS Mar 25th, 2008 07:58 AM

Tues. night we were so beat with no energy to cook, we decided to go out for a nice steak dinner. We at Ric's Grill. We both ordered our steaks medium well, but they were both cooked very well. We were so hungry we didn't care though. I also had some good wine there. Decent place, although they overcooked the steaks.

The village of Whistler is somewhat "disneyworld"-like as I've heard from other people, in that it doesn't have much charm. I've been to many ski towns in CO and they were all much more charming than Whistler. But we didn't care too much - the mtn. made up for all of that. I've never seen a place with such varied weather conditions and terrain also. The mountain was quite challenging.

Weds was our rest day - & we really needed it!! It was snowing (again!!) and we had signed up to do the Eagle Tour Ziptrek in the afternoon. The tour was great, but my only recommendation to anyone doing it is where good shoes for walking on hard packed slippery snow! I had on tennis shoes and the walking was awful. However the ziptrek was so fun. If you've never done it before - definitely do the Eagle Tour with the longer line. They kind of warm you up to it by starting with shorter zip lines then longer ones. The scenery was so beautiful & it's an amazing feeling to be flying thru the air! On the last line you can go upside down, which sounds complicated but it's actually really easy. You end up right near the base of Blackcomb.

AngelaS Mar 25th, 2008 08:05 AM

Thurs - fresh powder from the night before - we headed up to do our fav. run on Whistler - & it turned out to be the best run of the entire week. We had fresh tracks in the powder and there was literally NO ONE on the mtn - it was awesome - a truly amazing run. It was sunny up top and snowing mid-mtn - I guess pretty typical for Whistler conditions. Just keep riding up the gondola or wait half an hour - the weather will change!! We headed up to 7th Heaven and it was finally clear. it's so beautiful up there, wide and vast. We did Cloud Nine and must've taken a wrong turn b/c again we ended up on a mogul run. Up there the runs were not clearly marked and it was difficult to see where you were going - blue, black?? After that we decided to head back down and tried to find the Blue Line on Horstman Glacier. We had to ask the lift attendant b/c again it was not clearly marked!! Definitely some awesome runs up there though when the conditions are right. I just think they need more trail markers directing you where to go.

We spent the rest of the day on Blackcomb and some on Whistler - were were getting pretty tired by the end of the day. As the mtns are so vast we wanted to explore as much as possible!

AngelaS Mar 25th, 2008 08:11 AM

Friday - our last day of skiing. As it snowed (again!!!) =) the night before we thought we could get up early and try to do the same run we did the previous day. We got to the gondola at 8:15am and there was a huge line. It seemed a lot of people had come for the holiday weekend since it was Good Friday. A lot of the runs were already chopped up by the time we reached the top. I was very tired that day and not riding my best so we took it pretty easy jsut enjoying the mountain. We stopped for a coffee at the base at Behind the Grind Cafe - really good coffee and pound cake. Even at noon the lift line for Whistler was unbelievably long and I was very glad we weren't staying for the weekend. Riding during the week was a good idea as there were less people. The conditions on Friday were pretty good - sometimes cloudy, then sunny.

It seemed most of the tourists at Whistler were European - many British, French and Spanish - not so many Americans - maybe due to the economy now. All in all it was a great trip with some great riding. Our condo was great - I would recommend anyone to stay there. It's a perfect location and very quiet - very close to everything. On the last night we ate dinner at a small place we heard about from a local, Past Lumpia near the 711. It was decent. We weren't too impressed with the restaurants in Whistler (but maybe we were going to the wrong places). For us it was much better to buy groceries, eat sandwiches on the mtn & cook ourselves.

AngelaS Mar 25th, 2008 08:21 AM

Sat. morning we packed up & left Whistler. It was a nice sunny day so we could enjoy the scenery. We stopped in Brackendale hoping to see some bald eagles, but we didn't want to sit around so just passed thru. We headed up to Grouse Mtn. in Vancouver, but were shocked to find out it cost $37 just to ride up the Gondola. If we were going to snowboard it would've been worth it, but we could see some nice views of Vancouver from just driving up top, so we decided not to. The line for the Capilano Suspension Bridge was quite long and we were hungry for lunch so we headed on our way.

Our GPS was so handy in driving! We headed to Ajisai for sushi as someone here had recommended on a previous post, only to find out they were closed for the entire holiday weekend. =( Oh well. We drove around Vancouver, just picked up a quick sandwich for lunch and decided to head directly to Seattle. We spent the last two nights in Seattle and actually had some sun so we were able to head up to the Space Needle to enjoy the sunset. We really enjoyed the scenery and I wish we would've had more time to drive to Olympic Nat'l Park. We also explored Pike Place Market and the surrounding area - very charming. Some nice artists work there and many cafes. We stopped at Piroshky Piroshky after seeing the long line we thought it was not to be missed. Dh had a potato, cheese and mushroom and I had an apple cinnamon. His was good, mine a bit too cinnamony. But something different.

On our way back home I was very glad to find out that they were able to upgrade us to a non-stop flight so we could avoid the Kansas City airport and the extra security check in (if anyone knows why they do this, please let me know- it makes no sense if you've already been thru security previously!!). We had about a 4-hr wait at the airport but it flew by. The Seattle airport is really nice - some good sit-down restaurants (we had lunch at Anthony's - the clam chowder bowl was very good) and some nice shops. We'll definitely be returning to this area to explore Mt. Ranier & Olympic Nat'l Park.

Kaross Mar 26th, 2008 05:56 AM

sounds fun. I am glad you had a great time. I wish I was there!!!

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