Whistler Blackcomb, Week 2 – Monday report by Sarah

Straight up to the very top of Blackcomb mountain, climbing 1 vertical mile on 3 chair lifts with four of our housemates. Jemima wearing flourescent pink trousers again, to the amusement of the boys.

Head off in deep powder and zero visibility, the boys go off piste and we try to stay on, but split up almost immediately and spend next 30 mins digging and scrambling way out of snow, then regrouping. Meet up with the boys, who have spotted J’s trousers from the lift while still half a mile off. Boys head straight off-piste, despite cheery signs saying “Off piste = boken leg”. Well, they have been here 3 months already. Do same blue (that’s European red) again, realise it only takes 10 minutes if you keep your head out of the snow, not an hour. Do same run again, literally guesswork on every turn in zero visibility. J decides to do an exceptionally cool very high speed run in deep powder all the way up an uphill section I can’t even manage in the quickest part of the run. Very cool indeed. You have to be, with those trousers on.

Take shelter in hut at the top which serves soup. Drink soup then coffee, then realise hut has emptied and the lift has stopped and everyone has gone home.

Emerge in gathering darkness and not much visibility, wave hello to 4, yes 4, piste bashers starting work at the top of the mountain. Come down a green (that’s a European blue if only for the random bumps in the middle of the piste) and decide to follow someone down what turns out to be a black (that’s a European ‘omigod, why are we on a black?’), crusty moguls for about a mile. Try not to veer right into the terrifying terrain park series of 20 foot jumps.

Cloud beginning to lift, we can see again. Half an hour gone and only 1/3 way down the mountain now. What can we see? Oh, it’s MILES and MILES of sheet ice. Blues (that’s reds) all the way. At least 3 miles of sheet ice. Lovely. Thank god for knee pads I say. J does half a run on her back, spinning on her new Camelbak.

Finally, finally, we hit the slush at the bottom, and a good mile of green run later, we gently slide into the bar for a surprisingly good tasting, and dark red-coloured, beer. It’s long after 5, we are the last ones off the mountain. Serves us right for leaving the house at midday I guess.

More photos to follow once it stops bloody raining and snowing.

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