So we arrived in Canada earlier this month for a 10 day stay, snowboarding on the Whistler & Blackcomb mountains. Sounds like I say that as if it’s a normal occurrence, but no, really quite a special treat. We usually go to somewhere in Europe for our once a year snowboarding trip and for the last few years it’s been Austria. We are really quite good at travelling and doing the stuff we love to do on a tight budget and in Europe you can pick up some great cheap deals, but this year we’ve pushed the boat out and went to the place where Jon’s been itching to go ever since we learnt to snowboard and it didn’t disappoint.
We stayed in a lovely little hotel/studio called Coast Blackcomb Suites which was located on Blackcomb Mountain where we could literally board from the hotel straight down to the first lift every morning and at the end of the day, with weary legs, glide straight to the door , (which I literally did one day, a little out of control!) where we’d be met by happy smiley staff who’d take our boards from us and safely store them – wonderful!
The weather and conditions were amazing, having fresh snow most days along with beautiful blue skies – what more could we ask for?! Some days had a total ‘white out’ on the top of the mountains with high winds and heavy snow, where it’s been quite difficult boarding down, but we love the challenge of these conditions too. It doesn’t take long before you’re half way down the mountain and the conditions change again and it’s just beautiful. Wow and the scenery… just stunning. It takes your breath away as your coming down the mountainside, I was forever stopping just to take photo’s and we could really bore people to death with the video footage we have on the GoPro.
Over the ten days we ate out twice and the other evenings we catered for ourselves as the room was well kitted out with a great little kitchen, but not until we’d had a stroll around the Whistler and Blackcomb ‘villages’ each evening. We began to wonder about the history of Whistler because what we were seeing for ourselves, apart from reminders of it being the host of the 2010 winter olympics, was a quaint yet a typical ski resort, but we were sure there had to be more to this place. It didn’t take me long to find out, with the help of www.whistlermuseum.org that the Whistler valley does have quite a history with The Squamish & Lil’wat first nations being the indigenous people of the area, thriving for thousands of years before visitors started to arrive in the late 1800’s. It is really quite an interesting history and the whistler museum blog is an interesting read.
Whistler also boasts a Peak to Peak gondola which is a World Record Breaker. It is the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind at 3,024km/1.88mi. It is also the highest lift of its kind at 436m/1,427ft above the valley floor and the longest continuous lift system, connecting 2 high speed quad chair lifts and 1 high speed gondola. It really is quite something and we were lucky enough to ride in one of the glass bottomed gondola’s.
We didn’t want to waste any time there, so every day after a hotel breakfast we’d get changed, collect our boards and get down to the first lift where we’d have a look at the piste map and make our choice of which of the vast pistes we would explore and enjoy. With both the Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, along with all the inter-connecting green and red pistes to choose from, (we’re not good enough for black runs) we had an absolute ball. I think our favourite run of the holiday was ‘Jeff’s Ode to Joy’, which started out on a lovely wide, pretty steep stretch of piste, winding down and eventually splitting into many smaller runs which took you through beautiful forestry to the bottom and to the next chair lift. Such an experience boarding through such beautiful natural scenery and as if that wasn’t enough, whilst queueing for the next chair lift there were birds which, obviously were very used to the crowds of queuing skiers and snowboarders as they were cheeky enough to sit on peoples heads or land on various hands which were held out. The birds apparently are called Grey Jays and are little picnic thieves 🙂
Towards the end of the holiday as I was sat in the room enjoying a well deserved glass of red wine, I decided to take a look at the hotel guide book and there was a very helpful guide on what to do in the event of coming face to face with a Bear!
I love the, “talk quietly and tell him you are leaving” advice! Pretty sure while we were there they’d have all been snoozing happily in their caves somewhere 😉
We loved our time in Whistler. The only downside of the visit was the very long journey home and the jet lag which didn’t make going straight back to work easy on our return, but well worth it to experience such a beautiful and fun place. Loved it! 🙂
Back to our home life now and back to our main project – the broad beam narrow boat which Jon is working hard to complete. It’s coming up to Spring now and so to look forward to many trips on board ‘Head in the Clouds’ as she’s called. My next blog will be going over a little of the history of our beloved boat and catching up on a few of our English canal trips.