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Spanky's Ladder/Whistler Chutes/Bowls

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm planning my annual March trip to Whistler this year and I'm hoping to experience some parts of the mountain I haven't been to before. I've done lots of research on the web, but was hoping for some first hand advice.

I am an advanced/expert skier and most of my buddies range from strong intermediate to advanced expert as well. Every guy on the trip has successfully skied runs like Couloir Extreme, Cirque, West Cirque...but we have never gone on runs like those off of Spanky's Ladder (didn't even know it existed until I googled it from the trail map), Flute Bowl etc...

I love the steep and deep, but some of my friends would be intimidated by large cornices but okay with small ones. Also, most of us don't like the idea of runs where falling is completely out of the question (as in exposed cliffs below and 45 degrees plus slopes).

The pictures of runs like Diamond Bowl and Ruby bowl don't look too bad, but I was wondering if you guys could recommend some runs for us. We will have a guide from extremely Canadian with us for 1 day (friend of a friend) so I'm sure she will have lots of suggestions, but I thought I'd ask you guys as well.

I'd really like to try some bigger hucks, but ones with straightforward landings, and I'd also like my buddies to experience some steeps that challenge them a bit more than Couloir Extreme did.

THANKS!
post #2 of 17
Canuk,

You should probably head over to Harmony ridge. There are sections, divided by rocks, that have cornices. The further around the ridge you go, the smaller the cornices get, until the last one, which usually starts as about a 3-4' drop, then gets to where you can just ski in. You could take a 6 inch drop if you wanted.

Also, there's some good steep tree skiing off the back of Harmony ridge, as well as off Peak Chair, if you traverse way over to observer's right (to the right if you are looking at it from the chair). Even liftie's leap, right next to peak chair is steeper than CE.

Spanky's ladder has some fun stuff, but there's a very long runout (2mi?) of extreme flatness. Do it a couple of times, especially if it's warm out, and you'll have had enough.

Also look on the map for Secret Chute. It's right under (just to the right on the map) of one of the chairs, but I forget which. I believe it's on Blackcomb, on the side where Blackcomb Glacier / Spanky's is. It's very steep and a lot of fun, and no hucking required.
post #3 of 17
I think the biggest issue when doing runs like the ones off of Spanky's is how you will react to the exposure. Some of the run entrances in that area are narrow and somewhat exposed. Nothing that I would classify as sketchy or life threatening, though.

Some people it doesn't bother a bit, but some get extreme vertigo and freeze up or start to lean into the slope which takes you off of your edges - bad idea.

If you are going to be there for a while you should get used to being in a semi-precarious situation pretty quickly.

Stay calm and keep thinking and you will be fine. Live in the moment and have a blast! The cat track is a drag but the terrain and scenery in Blackcomb glacier is awesome. Just feels so big.
post #4 of 17
Pick up this book - Advanced Guide to Whistler/Blackcomb - it doesn't have everything but has a lot

http://www.snowcovers.com/contact.html - i was just on the phone to them and they have copies fyi - any shop has copies though

Spanky's and some of the Harmony Ridge skiers right stuff looks like this:

http://www.leelau.net/2005/whistlerb...comb301205.htm

The Extremely Canadian Guide is a great idea.

I've skied some routes where exposure is high - panic factor goes high and you can get cliffed out pretty easily so best to build it up nice and slow. The way this season's looking you'll have plenty of coverage for the steep and deep
post #5 of 17
You'll find plenty of skiable, but challenging, stuff at Spankys. 4 years ago, I did a 2-day Extremely Cdn clinic (Cara Dolan was guide) and we hit Spankys on day 2 (Whistler day 1; Blackcomb day 2). We were certainly not the most advanced group that day either. Several options in the "gem" bowls that should suit each member of your group. Everyone needs to at least see / ski Blow Hole once; unique shape with the glacier ice on one side.

However, above comment regarding long, flat run-out is correct. Thus, again, limit it to a few runs and probably time it with your Ex Cdn guide day. The guide will show you some unique lines on either mtn. I'd schedule that day early and then you guys can repeat the lines you like.

I also like the Harmony lift when solo skiing. Alot of options and you can often find good wind-blown snow when primary Peak chair runs are getting hard / icy. The runs are pretty long and work you well (especially if you hit black bumps at bottom instead of groomers).
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck34


We will have a guide from extremely Canadian with us for 1 day (friend of a friend) so I'm sure she will have lots of suggestions, but I thought I'd ask you guys as well.

I'd really like to try some bigger hucks, but ones with straightforward landings, and I'd also like my buddies to experience some steeps that challenge them a bit more than Couloir Extreme did.

THANKS!
If you have a guide from Extemely Canadian, she'll get you where you need to go and where the best snow is at the time. Chainsaw ridge will give you some huck options. Bushrat is a decent cornice drop without a lot of exposure, depending on where you jump in. Like some of the drops off of the Horseshoes at Harmony Chair, the drop in can be a couple feet or 15+ depending on the line you pick.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck34
Hi All,

I'm planning my annual March trip to Whistler this year and I'm hoping to experience some parts of the mountain I haven't been to before. I've done lots of research on the web, but was hoping for some first hand advice.

I am an advanced/expert skier and most of my buddies range from strong intermediate to advanced expert as well. Every guy on the trip has successfully skied runs like Couloir Extreme, Cirque, West Cirque...but we have never gone on runs like those off of Spanky's Ladder (didn't even know it existed until I googled it from the trail map), Flute Bowl etc...

I love the steep and deep, but some of my friends would be intimidated by large cornices but okay with small ones. Also, most of us don't like the idea of runs where falling is completely out of the question (as in exposed cliffs below and 45 degrees plus slopes).

The pictures of runs like Diamond Bowl and Ruby bowl don't look too bad, but I was wondering if you guys could recommend some runs for us. We will have a guide from extremely Canadian with us for 1 day (friend of a friend) so I'm sure she will have lots of suggestions, but I thought I'd ask you guys as well.

I'd really like to try some bigger hucks, but ones with straightforward landings, and I'd also like my buddies to experience some steeps that challenge them a bit more than Couloir Extreme did.

THANKS!

if they like couloir ex and want steeper, just drop in from the top of the ridge, skiers left of couloir ex.. when you're at the top there's a big rocky area in the middle, its steepest on the left of it. spankys is not difficult, just nice big long bowls. head all the way left for ruby, straight down for diamond.. and the easiest way into sapphire is to go up the showcase t-bar, do blowhole (fun and steep), then cut left for a while, follow the tracks, you'll traverse a bit and end up at the sapphire chutes. on whistler, if you've done the cirques try the couloir a little past glacier cirque, usually requires a drop/slide in of about five feet.. then for some more steeps go to the top of harmony chair and hike up behind the hut on the right, you'll see tracks.. very steep. flute is great, no brainer, get there and pick a line.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Guys, thanks for the info.

I love using Harmony to teach my less adventurous buddies how to do cornices and ski "chutes" as they are short there and open up quickly. Great place to learn.

I read a bunch of stuff last week on Spanky's and the writers made it sound like if you fell you were dead. Since then, I've read more and seen lots of pics, and they just look beautiful. Maybe not for all of my friends going on the trip, but at least half of us will enjoy them.

I know all about the runout as I have skied blow hole and the regular blackcomb glacier run several times. When skiing blackcomb, I will usually only ski that once or twice during the day. We are going to ski for 6 days on this trip, so we will just spread it out.

BTW, where is "Chainsaw Ridge"??
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck34
Guys, thanks for the info.

I love using Harmony to teach my less adventurous buddies how to do cornices and ski "chutes" as they are short there and open up quickly. Great place to learn.

I read a bunch of stuff last week on Spanky's and the writers made it sound like if you fell you were dead. Since then, I've read more and seen lots of pics, and they just look beautiful. Maybe not for all of my friends going on the trip, but at least half of us will enjoy them.

I know all about the runout as I have skied blow hole and the regular blackcomb glacier run several times. When skiing blackcomb, I will usually only ski that once or twice during the day. We are going to ski for 6 days on this trip, so we will just spread it out.

BTW, where is "Chainsaw Ridge"??
look at the trailmap on the official site, then look right below the top of the 7th heaven chairlift, one of the runs is on the trailmap, couloir extreme, easiest way down and the most popular double diamond on either mountain. to get there take 7th heaven and turn left at the top, you'll end up at the top of the ridge and there will probably be a sign called 'blackcomb' bowl, you'll figure out the rest..
post #10 of 17
I've never been down Spanky's since I've never skied there with anyone who would be able to handle it. It made me wonder last weekend, however, when there was a constant line of skiers headed up the trail to it and a crowd on top of the ridge all day. There aren't that many expert skiers anywhere. It may have been a real zoo on the face.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ahhh, so Chainsaw Ridge is the ridge that runs along next to Couloir Extreme? I thought that was called Jersey Cream Bowl.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune
I've never been down Spanky's since I've never skied there with anyone who would be able to handle it. It made me wonder last weekend, however, when there was a constant line of skiers headed up the trail to it and a crowd on top of the ridge all day. There aren't that many expert skiers anywhere. It may have been a real zoo on the face.
if you can make it down couloir extreme, you can make it down 95% of spankys..
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck34
Ahhh, so Chainsaw Ridge is the ridge that runs along next to Couloir Extreme? I thought that was called Jersey Cream Bowl.
its called chainsaw ridge and blackcomb bowl
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by quixotle
if you can make it down couloir extreme, you can make it down 95% of spankys..
Spanky's has more narrow entrances to the bowls and you can get cliffed out pretty easily if you take the wrong lines.
post #15 of 17
Just a comment on Flute bowl. It's incredibly fun. I'm not so sure it has the chuts and cornices you are after, but if you want some steeper and deeper, it's definitely worth checking out. But like with some of the other runs mentioned in this thread, you will have to deal with some flats to get out of the Bowl.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasmen
Just a comment on Flute bowl. It's incredibly fun. I'm not so sure it has the chuts and cornices you are after, but if you want some steeper and deeper, it's definitely worth checking out. But like with some of the other runs mentioned in this thread, you will have to deal with some flats to get out of the Bowl.
flute requires a 30 minute hike up and a 10 minute walk out.. if someone wants cornices there are plenty, and some really steep lines. the three best spots for cornices are chainsaw ridge on blackcomb, flute on whistler, and harmony ridge/horseshoes on whistler. i find flute a little over-rated, its not that much vert, and on a powder day it gets ravaged, at an hour and a half a lap you could get in an awful lot of equally great skiing elsewhere..
post #17 of 17

steep

whistler - exhitation and exhileration, hike up little whistler at top of harmony chair
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