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WHISTLER: Not many runs open yet?!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm going to Whistler next week. I'm concerned because according to the websites the mountain is only 20% open. I know this is "early season", but by the looks of the photos there appears to be a lot of snow even in the village base. All of the lower runds are closed and "downloading is mandatory".

We paid a bundle for slope side accomodation, thinking we could ski down to MERLINS chair and go from there. MERLINS is still closed, meaning we'd have to walk or drive to the village gondolas. IT appears ski in and ski out is not yet available in whistler at this point.

Yet the photos show the village and base areas covered in lots of snow.

Is this an economics thing? Too early in the season and not enough visitors? Anyone up there or been up there and have experience with this? If its economics, when would the usually open more lifts, or do they normally open more lifts if the snow is OK, not just waiting for peak season?

Just concerned because whilst I understand this is snow dependant, if there IS enough snow I think they should open base area lifts. Right now, anyone staying in Upper Village must walk or drive over to the main village gondolas as there is no other way (besides creekside) up or down the mountian!
post #2 of 17
http://www.dualmountain.com/report/ is a great web site that gives a bit more information than the company's snow reports.

It sounds like trails down to the valley are about to open, which should include the trail down to the creekside base. They usually open the creekside gondola in time for the holiday crowd (regardless of the snow conditions.)--it's purely an economic decision. I think last year the gondola there opened the week before Christmas. I imagine the bowls and higher alpine terrain will open in time for the holiday crowd given the current 120+cm base.

Have fun and if you want a great dinner check out Mongolia grill in the main village; we go there every time and are always very pleased.
post #3 of 17
I hope someone from Whistler will give us the local scoop but this will have to do until then.

I live not far geographically from Whistler and some of the ski areas in Washington are holding off to see what happens today. Right now it feels like a Hawaiian vacation outside and the rain is pouring down. We will lose some snow pack today and they are waiting to see what will happen before commiting to being open. Maybe Whistler is doing the same.
It really isn't that bad to download and take the shuttle, anyway.
post #4 of 17
when we there in 02 - from 18th to the 25th - mid mountain snow depth was 55in. but no ski in ski out available. had to download from mid mountain. this was not due to economic reasons. there was indeed not enough snow on the lower half of the mountain. Not that we did not have a good time. there is still plenty to ski.

Frankly - i prefer downloading from mid mountain in any case for a few reasons. a) the lower parts are crowded any way at all resorts. b) whole bunch of beginners in the lower part of the mountain. c) i ski hard till 3pm. no need to waste my quads on some
green runs. so chances of falling or running into somebody is very high.

BTW Dec 25th '02 was an epic 44in day at whistler. they opened the lower mountain that day.
post #5 of 17
I have to agree with other posters. The lower half of whistler and blackcomb is not the best skiing. It usually has far worse snow quality than other parts of the mountain and is always fairly congested. Basically it's just an easy way to get back to the village and a place for beginners to learn the ropes.
post #6 of 17

Yep, I download too.

I used to say: "Death before download." Now, I avoid the throngs of gapers, gumbys, and shrievers on the lower slopes, and I enjoy a nice ride down the mountain to quaff cold malt beverages with the young, beautiful crowd in the village (even though I'm neither young nor beautiful).
post #7 of 17
When talking about only 20% open you have to remember how big Whistler is. It has 8,100 acres. 20% is over 1,600 acres which is the size of a resort like Telluride or Bridger Bowl.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for chiming in.

Rio: That's right, but maybe I'm spoiled by MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, which has been 100% open for a while now this season. Mammoth often seems EMPTY, yet even this early (and for a while now) is 100% open, with over 3000 acres. I'm sure we'll still have fun, but I was looking forward to Whistler for what I thought Whistler usually means: 7000 acres and an additional 1000 new this season. (OR at least those great upper bowls open!) We're just going too early!!!

But my point and question really is not about it being early and the obvious conditions that would usually mean, but that there is a lot of snow it seems. Point taken about the lower mountain. But what about the UPPER mountain? If the mid mountain is open (well, some of it), why not open the upper mountain?

I guess that is economics alone. But if that's the case I wish the folks at Mammoth were running Whistler!

Marty: Thanks for the info about 50 inches NOT being enough for ski in ski out.

ey, maybe Whistler should put the village at the TOP, like they do at Mt Hotham in Australia!! (Just kidding, but that's true about Hotham).
post #9 of 17
Village on top? Like snowshoe. Ehh I'm really glad that they don't do that. I like the top to be open. I mean, you are going early. You also gotta realize that they need personel for 8100 acres. Sonce there aren't too many people going there right now, it really isn't cost effective. Plus with christmas and new years coming up, I'm sure they are getting ready for that and making sure that all the terrain is good for that week.
post #10 of 17
The folks at mammoth do run whistler too. Interwest.
post #11 of 17
Well, they just opened up more, 5000 acrea, and 5280 vertical. Top to bottom!

The clouds have cleared and the sun is shining. 15 lifts including Peak Chair and Harmony Chair give you 5000 acres and 5280 vertical feet of fun. Ski/ride out to the valley on Blackcomb and to Whistler Village.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
YES!!! I saw that online too!

I guess I can quit complaining now!!!

post #13 of 17
Enjoy your trip!

Let it snow, let it snow....
post #14 of 17
Having skiied whistler yesterday, I can honestly say it's the worst I've ever seen it. The entire mountain was crusty and icy. There were a few patches of fresh snow, but because it rained to the peak on friday night? there was a significant crust over top. The best place on whistler was in harmony, taking the ridge to the bowls that drop you into McConkey's or something (bump run, starts steep, gets to be less so as the run progresses)
post #15 of 17

Rain Rain Rain

It's going to be warm as in whistler and rainy on and off for the next week at least. SW winds for at least 7 days, maybe 10. Next time it'll get below freezinf in the village might be Christmas Eve, not before. Not happy
post #16 of 17
Bummer. It's starting to sound like I should cancel my trip to Whistler this week and take advantage of the good snow at Sunshine and Marmot.
post #17 of 17
16 cms new today. Might be OK if freezing levels rise and break down the crust.

South Coast Region

Forecast of avalanche danger beginning Monday, December 13, 2004:

Day:\Monday p.m.\Tuesday\Wednesday
Below Treeline:\Low\Low\Low

Travel Advisory: It's certainly a better time to travel around now that the big storm has passed. Caution should still be used in alpine areas where windslabs formed, mostly on north through east facing terrain.

Avalanches: There was a widespread natural avalanche cycle last weekend before everything froze up. Conditions have improved significantly, and we don't expect much natural activity on Tuesday or early Wednesday. However, it will still be possible to trigger avalanche in alpine areas with windslabs.

Snowpack: Cold temperatures last weekend froze the surface, forming a solid crust below 2300 m. Strong southerly wind in the alpine redistributed recent snow to form stiff windslabs on lee terrain features, or a shiny raincrust on the wind-scoured areas. Warmer temperatures Monday should help soften the crust below 2000 m. Cold temperatures formed surface hoar or weak facet crystals on top of the crust in areas sheltered from the wind. The forecast new snow will bury these crystals and, voila, we'll have a new weak layer in some areas!

Weather: The gods released a tempest last Friday, with up to 70 mm of rain reaching up to 2300 m in alpine areas. A short lived cold snap froze things up on the weekend before warming up again on Monday. A system is building late Monday afternoon that is forecast to bring 5-15 of snow Monday evening, and 5-10 cm on Tuesday. Wednesday will see a mix of sun and clouds and freezing levels hovering between 1400 and 2000m. Wind is forecast up to 30 km/hr from the south through southeast, but should diminish by midday Tuesday.
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