in Nsnow, Snow
2 years ago, we had a pretty bad experience due to lack of communication on mountain conditions and what would open, or not.
Sadly, 2 years later, they still suck at communicating intent. They have mountain hosts that try to give you their best knowledge of the moutain (nice), but they don't have any info on what will open or not, or what is being worked on, or not. They have boards telling you what's open or closed, some of the boards were broken and showed everything open, while on our last day boards were showing 7th heaven closed while it was in fact open. More importantly, they are still not communicating any intent, as to whether something has a chance to open, whether they're working on opening something, or whether it's just not going to happen, due to wind, or otherwise.|
And just to make things better, on the 2nd day, we were doing some great runs on 7th heaven, having lucked out with actual snow (almost 30cm) and a lift that was running (7th heaven), they closed it 2h early because of avalanche danger, for only 30cm of snow, they closed off an entire area, yet from what I could tell it was only a small portion of it that was under a possible avalanche path, and instead of closing the ropes that go the potentially unsafe area, they just closed off the entire (huge) area. Either that, or they just paniced because they got a foot of snow, and that's too much too handle? Either way, sigh...
The next day, due to high winds, they opened nothing worthwhile on their busiest day of the year, causing 30mn+ lines on the few bottom lifts that were running and people waiting in -30F temperatures. It is however possible that the wind truly prevented opening anything else, or maybe they didn't try that hard. Again, impossible to know if they had a good reason, since they don't communicate anything outside of "it's closed" and not even "don't bother, it won't open today", they'd rather that you spend hours on the slopes looking at a board to see if one red dot might turn green. Again, well done.
4th day, they finally re-opened some top lifts. Sadly, when we got to 7th heaven, all that magnificent powder had been compacted heavily and was quite hard to ride (it would tend to swallow your board whole and require a lot of effort, even on my powder board, to stay on top). In the meantime, symphony and harmony never opened, we don't know why, again they didn't say. As a result, that caused 25mn lines at 7th heaven and got it tracked to death instead of spreading the load.
Harmony and Symphony may open tomorrow, but I couldn't be bothered to stay an extra day with such poor communication, and effectively such little care of telling paying customers what's going on and why. Either way, the powder would likely have been ruined by then anyway, so not worth staying for.
All in all, it has potential to be a great mountain, but deals very badly with elements, there is a non trivial chance that they could try harder to keep lifts open, and could do infinitely better in communicating with their customers. What a shame...
Anyway, despite the unfortunate way the place is run, and despite not being able to reach a lot of good snow that fell, we still managed to enjoy some.
our place was ski in/ski out, access to Blackcomb just outside the hotel
the resort has lots of boards with what's open and what's not, just no info on what won't open that day
nice views from 7th heaven
quite convenient getting across with peak 2 peak, just 15mn
nice view from symphony
The village definitely has nice lighting:
Day #2: snow, thankfully many things stayed open for most of the day
symphony was nice but got crowded quickly
after running out of stuff to do at symphony, we tried peak chair, Arturo enjoyed the way down :)
my last ride down was through that double black entrance, not that bad afterall
rope tow back to peak 2 peak
we had a look at the peak to peak inwards
Day #3: more snow, lots of it, this is where Whistler started panicing, because 30cm of snow is like "a lot" ?
and shabu shabu for dinnner
our chair is going to be replaced by a gondola next year
we didn't take peak 2 peak, preferring 7th heaven as soon as it opened
and then, as we were actually having fun, they kicked us out of 7th heaven, it was a huge disappointment
Day #4: lots of snow that we couldn't get to, and very cold, as cold as -35C (-30F) due to wind chill
we got there before everyone else did
Whistler opened very little due to winds, and this gave ridiculous lines
I ended up spending/wasting 3h in the cafe, waiting for top lifts to open (none did), and people to get cold and give up on the long lines
That evening, they had a fire and ice show:
Arturo and I found some better than nothing tree runs until end of day where it got a bit warmer
Day #5: nice and sunny but still very cold (-20C). By then they finally re-opened some lifts, but the powder had been severely damaged and was unridable for Arturo and a fair effort to ride with my powder board. It would still easily dig the nose in and plow in.
Arturo got stuck in that hole 2 days prior due to it being invisible in bad weather
left track was mine, looks nice, but very hard to ride
before Whistler sucked again, they never opened harmony or symphony, causing huge lines at 7th heaven :(
lines got up to 30mn or so before people started giving up and left
by end of day, harmony and symphony, still closed :(
so I went to the glacier for a lap, but snow wasn't that great by then
I hiked all the way to the outside of the glacier, but it wasn't really worth it
So, I finished the day on Crystal chair which actually had good enough powder in the trees, until it was time to get back and get a bus to Vancouver.
For extra credit, the little grey jays that come where people eat, and come take handouts:
Anyway, that was it for Whistler. Fun to be with Arturo, great to enjoy the foot+ of snow we were able to access despite the totally inadequate communication from the resort, and the relatively little they actually opened while we were there.
See more images for 5 days at Whistler