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Whistler TR: 1/13 & 14/2010!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I just returned from a short trip to Whistler.  I only skied two days, but one of them was one of the best ski days of my life.

Day 1:  It had been raining up high so there was lots of ice underneath some small amount of new snow that had just begun to fall when I got there on Wednesday morning.  My buddy Ken and I skied Blackcomb and found the T-bars up top to have decent snow while the rest of the place was barely adequate.  We had a good time anyway.

Day 2:  The snow that day was not so good early but it kept getting better all day as it snowed heavily.  By the end of the day we were having the best conditions.

Ken tweaked his knee on Wednesday and decided to take the day off.  I went to Whistler alone.  The visibility was little to none in the alpine and I stayed low for most of the morning skiing groomers mostly and being conservative because I was skiing solo.  After starting at first bell and skiing several runs I got on Big Red at about 11:00 with three other guys.  Two were youngish types (maybe in their 20s or 30s) who were at Whistler for the first time from Kalispel, and the other guy was a local named Phil who is a one leg skier.  We got into a conversation and Phil, who has lived at Creekside since 1982, asked us if he could show us around.  We were happy to take him up on the offer.

The first run set the tone for the day:

Phil took us to the top of Peak and said he would take us to Bagel Bowl.  It looked from the bottom like there would be no visibility at the peak but he said it was OK, you would be able to see the markers and just work your way down the blue groomer until we came under the clouds at the top of Bagel.  Truly there was no visibility.  We worked our way from blue sign to blue sign until we got to a spot where we suddenly found ourselves staring an Area Boundary sign in the face.  Phil was unsure of what was going on.  Other skiers and snowboarders seemed lost too, I was completely disoriented.  We were looking for signs, trying not to lose each other, and fighting vertigo because of the zero visibility.  I began wondering if Phil was nuts and we were doomed.  Suddenly the visibility lifted a bit and we saw the way ahead.  The winds were high and snow had drifted into the groomed run to change the contour.  We were skiing by contour and had been set off course.  Back on the groomer we soon attained the top of Bagel Bowl and visibility cleared, just as Phil had said.  Now the fun began.

There was a deep layer of dust on crust and I found out immediately that I'd hooked up with the right people.  The other guys were great skiers and Phil was phenomenal.  Using one leg he was the Energizer bunny.  We slayed the pow and had a wonderful time.  When we got to the cat track at the bottom of the bowl we began to ski out toward Big Red, but Phil stopped us in a place that looked like all of the others and pointed us into some very tight trees.  The new snow had not really gotten to the surface yet under the canopy, so we had the crust without the dust.  He told us we would ski through two meadows; one small and one large in the middle of the forest.  Away we went, trying to keep up with Phil as he blasted through this icy, tight mess of forest without any distinctive features that I could interpret as landmarks.  Soon we were out of sight of anything but forest.  We kept going and going and I kept getting more and more worried that we had hooked up with a mad man when suddenly Phil stopped.  We had a tight sideslip entry and here was the little meadow.  More deep dust on crust and fun turns, then a few more trees, a bigger meadow, more trees, and we popped out on Peak to Creek.  We blasted all the way to Creekside at mach speeds.  From the top of Bagel Bowl, to Creekside, we had seen no other people, not even on the groomer.

The day continued.  I can't even remember all of the great locals stuff we went down.  Tight trees, open bowls with no tracks, creek bottoms, steep big moguls, you name it, we skied it.  I have skied Whistler a number of times, but there was only one run Phil took us on that I had discovered for myself.  It was amazing.  Phil does not stop except to get on the chair.  We got a major workout.

We skied to final bell.  I was amazed that I was still standing, but I made it without a problem.  We went to Creekside and had a brew together and then Phil gave us a ride back to our rooms.  What a guy!

Phil turns out to be a sponsored (Atomic) racing coach for the Paralympics for B.C.  About 40% of the Canadian Paralympic Team are people he has coached.  He raced for the Canadian National Team for 10 years.  He is a monster skier.  I was thrilled to run into him.  Thanks Phil, if you're out there!
post #2 of 3
 Way cool, does Phil have a phone #, or do you remember all these spots?
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by quickfoot View Post

 Way cool, does Phil have a phone #, or do you remember all these spots?

Phil has a phone number.  Obviously, I won't share it without his permission.  I don't remember all of these spots.  Mostly, I was lost and just staying glued to him as much as I could.  The terrain was often pretty sketchy so I wasn't thinking of the big picture too much.  I just had fun.
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