So today was opening day at Whistler Blackcomb and I’m going to be honest… the conditions were really bad as far as opening days go.
Opening day = iPhone Launch
Opening day in Whistler is kind of crazy compared to most other resorts. Think of something similar to an Apple product launch and you’ll get an idea of what a good opening day looks like.
Yes, much like an iPhone launch, people even camp out overnight to get a good spot in line.
This is what opening day looked like last year:
This year on the other hand…
I started heading to the village at about 6am-ish, it was lightly raining and dark:
I got there at about 6:30am-ish and it was still raining:
The next 2 hours was basically standing in a rain getting soaked and crossing my fingers that it wasn’t wet up top.
I was actually pretty surprised that this year’s line up didn’t leave the gated line up zone, which is very odd for opening day in Whistler… must have something to do with the rain and 60-100 km/h winds forecasted for the day…
Conditions at the top:
It wasn’t actually *that* bad at the top for the first 2 runs.
It was snowing with pretty heavy and wet snow, visibility wasn’t the greatest and the light was kinda flat, but at least there were fresh tracks to be had on the side of the groomers.
Here’s what it looked like while it was ‘good’ for the first 30 min:
After the first 2 runs is when things started to get pretty bad.
The snow became even more wet, the visibility became clouded and horrible on the upper half of all the runs and the wind picked up to the point where some people were even worried that the gondola might have to shut down.
The wind was such a problem that the lifts were taking 30 min to line up and get to the top and you were blasted with wet sleet at 60-100 km/h winds for the entire top half of the ride.
I stuck it out for 2 more runs then went into the lodge. It seems we all had the same idea because I found basically every Whistler local inside the lodge. From a quick poll it seems the average number of total runs for the morning was between 1 and 3.
At this point the one saving grace for the morning was that I got a voucher for a free hot chocolate for being in the first 1500 people up the Gondola.
Oh wait nevermind… upon sipping my ‘hot’ chocolate, I quickly found out that the hot chocolate machine was broken and had been dispensing cold chocolate water to everyone.
Calling it a day
No one was keen to go back out into those conditions except for a few die hards. I think my friend Geoff described it best when asked if he was going back out there:
“It’s like getting kicked in the nuts… I don’t have to do it twice to know it sucks.”
At that point Nev (Snowboardaddiction.com) was headed back down and I joined him for the ride down to the gondola.
To add to our fun ride down, the previously wet snow had stopped and turned into packed icy snow with no grip.
So basically my opening day was standing in the rain for 2 hours followed by riding in low visibility, sleet and insane winds and capped off by a cup of cold ‘hot’ chocolate.
Still beats everything else.
I know it sounds like today sucked and as far as snowboard conditions goes, yeah it did suck. However, I still had fun. I can bitch and moan about bad conditions, but it’s still snowboarding and I still love it.
Even when the conditions mimic an icy hell, it’s still snowboarding.
After all, where else can you have so much fun in some of the worst conditions possible?
That said, fingers crossed that the conditions are better tomorrow.