Sarah and I have been in Whistler since the beginning of February for a two month snowboarding trip. We’ve been living in a shared house and riding most days. Yesterday we decided, with our housemate Catherine, to try to ride on all the lifts on both hills in one day.
We set ourselves some rules as follows:
- all the named lifts on the trail map must be ridden (this rules out the tiny travelators in the learner areas, but includes every chair and T-bar)
- closed lifts can be ignored, but you can’t choose a day when you expect half the lifts to be closed due to weather
- lifts must be ridden all the way up but if there’s a midstation you can ride it in two halves (if you fall off a t-bar or button lift, this still counts if you’ve had three decent shots at it and as long as you get out of the gate)
- downloading on the lift doesn’t count as riding it
- throughout the day, a trail of each colour must be ridden (green, blue and black – Canada doesn’t have reds)
- a photo must be taken at each lift, including all the riders participating (except for the photographer)
- no splitting up to cover the lifts separately
Whistler Blackcomb is the biggest ski area in North America, but these rules are achievable. Modifications may have to be made for the larger areas found in Europe.
At Whistler Blackcomb it’s possible to purchase a Fresh Tracks tickets which gives you early access to the mountain and a buffet breakfast in one of the big restaurants on the hill. We decided this would be a fun start to the day and we were right. The breakfast was good and it felt really great to be in the mountains so early. The light was beautiful.
We headed off from breakfast a bit late, but kept up a good pace throughout the day. Some of the runs on Whistler were closed still from the Olympics, which meant our route wasn’t ideal. This is the route we took with times of when we got on the lifts.
Harmony Express (10.34am). Again. We would have avoided the duplicate using a different route if more of Whistler were open.
The top lifts on the hills close at 2.30 and 3.00 and the bottom lifts close at 4pm. Note that we got on the Excaliber Gondola at 4.04pm. This meant we were thrown off the lift at the midstation, which according to our rules meant we FAILED! We failed literally by half a lift and a matter of four minutes. We certainly wasted that time in multiple locations, including getting our photos taken at the top of 7th Heaven (doh!), so we know we could have done it.
That said, we did get some nice photos, and we did get on every lift in one day.
My highlight was probably the last hour when we thought it highly unlikely we would make the last lift in time but picked up the pace to try it anyway. Our legs hurt like hell, but our spirits were high. Catherine also liked this part of the day because we did a lot of long continuous runs without stopping, despite hurting so much. Sarah’s highlight was wearing her tiger ears and the amount of joy she brought to us and people we saw on our travels.