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Whistler-Blackcomb AND Extremely Canadian

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My buddy Jim and I left Colorado to ski Whistler for a couple of days just prior to the huge dumps in Summit County (26" yesterday at Breckenridge!). We were pretty sure that we were going to be sorely disappointed as the lack of snow, warm temps a couple of days before followed by colder temps and little prospect for new snow were just going to be salt in the wound that our absence from Colorado created. I was also wondering about the wisdom of paying for a private steeps camp from Extremely Canadian given that we'd likely be confined to the groomers. Our guide, Seve Mayer, didn't assuage the situation by setting expectations that the off-piste conditions were likely crap.

Well, it's still painful to miss the pow in CO, but we had two absolutely fantastic days. There was perhaps 2-4 cm of fresh snow on Day 1 and as musch as twice that on day 2. Not enough to be much more than dust on crust, but yesterday if you were soft enough in your feet you could work the fresh for a bit of control. We took a couple of groomer runs to work on some technique issues (mine are predominantly fore-aft pressure management as in too much forward pressure). Steve gave us a new tactic of dragging the uphill pole to use as a guage of position over the ski, slope, and snow condition. It allowed me to round out my turns in the steeps and stay over the ski rather than getting inside and high-sided.

Steve took us to incredible lines in Saphire, Diamond, and Ruby, bowls plus a bunch of stuff at Whistler that I'm not sure the name or location of. Given the low snowpack, many of the easy and better known entrances were Inadvisable -- too much exposure with not enough snow. Having a guide/coach meant we found the secret entrances and lines and also found snow that was safer to ski. A fall on some of the slopes with sun exposure would've been very hard to arrest. Some if the traverses that'd been sun exposed were so slick that my skis had trouble holding an edge. But Steve put is in terrain that was steep (45+ Degrees) and with just enough forgiveness for it to be fun and educational.

I skied Whistler15 years ago when I didn't have many, if any, skills. I'm totally impressed with the terrain here now. I'll be back, and a shout out to @Metaphor for the suggestion of Exteemely Canadian. Steve was easily in the top 5 instructors I've skied with, and I've had the luxury of skiing with a lot of really top notch coaches.

So, am I unhappy to miss the pow in Co? Only a little bit. This has been an incredible couple of days. Today I'm transmitting to Terrace for 5 days of heli action. I hope it lives up to the last couple of days at Whistler/Blackcomb.

Mike

... edited the title at mike's request
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
The thread title should be "and" not "bad" -- perhaps a moderators could fix it? Damn fat fingers and ipad keyboard...
post #3 of 7

Title could have been worse like Extremely bad Canadians. Too bad you hit Whistler during the longest dry spell in quite a while  - but sounds like you at least got a taste of the terrain.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yea it would've been off the charts with more snow. But it was still incredible even in lousy conditions because of 1 the terrain and 2 the fantastic guiding of Steve/Extremely Canadian. This was value for money. We never would've found the terrain we skied without a guide. We certainly wouldn't have found the snow conditions that we did without him. I highly highly recommend these guys for anyone who wants to ski the real stuff at Whistler. You just don't know where to go -- what ropes to duck, what entrances to take to what couloirs and where to hike over the rocks to access the steepest lines with the right exposures and best snow. I can't say enough about the quality of the experience.

Mike
post #5 of 7

Sounds like quite the trip...

post #6 of 7

I've heard nothing but great things about the program with Extremely Canadian. Their coaches definitely have some street cred! Glad you had a good time and came away with some new things/techniques to think about.

post #7 of 7

I just came back from Whistler from a two week trip.  They are definitely experiencing lack of snow this season and there were several days where the drop-ins to some of the steeps were dicey.

 

I did get the opportunity to take Extremely Canadian twice this trip and once during my earlier trip in mid December.  They are in every regard excellent.  I skied with Steve Mayer, Steve Clarke and Jen over the 3 clinics.  These are not your normal ski school instructors and some like Jen are former freestyle world champions.  Each clinic was fun and I learned a ton.  I also think that the cost for the two day clinic is great value.

 

The only other program that I know of that is similar is Jackson's Steep/Deep camps.  I have taken over the last several seasons other clinics/specialty programs including Taos's ski week, Alta's Performance Camp and others.  Only Extremely Canadian and Steep/Deep camps are the two programs where I am most likely to be a repeat customer as both are that good.

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