Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas 20 1 1 : Whistler Day 2

After failing to pick up our ski/snowboarding gear the previous day, we woke up at 7:30am to catch the complimentary breakfast (make yourself cinnamon waffles and PB&J sandwiches - breakfast of champions!). At 8am sharp, we headed down the slope to grab our gear and purchase our lift tickets.
The mountain extends well beyond the cloud covering the
mountain in the background

It's been a few years since either of us hit the slopes so warm ups on the greens were a must. Plus, just looking for the mountain peak was intimidating. Why? Because constant fresh powder promised the time of our lives and the clouds were mysteriously hiding its greatest and tallest Whistler treasure.
See the clouds in our first picture? That's only halfway up on
the Wizard Express chair lifts. Just to give you a point of
reference on how BIG this mountain is. Just saying.

I've only officially snowboarded 3 times in my entire life. The very first time was with now hubby during our first trip together during Spring Break 2007 to Breckenridge. He was a proud recipient of a new snowboard and bindings from his pharmacy friends a few months prior. Since he's normally an avid skier, we figured this new adventure together would be a great bonding experience. Cue unanimous awe - aw..... Okay, enough cheesiness.  Final verdict - eh eh on the boards for the hubby and two thumbs up for me! I attempted skiing back in grade school and that was an epic fail!

After a few runs down the easiest greens, I became frustrated. We learned to board in less than a day more than 4 years ago, and while I totally rock on the heel side of the board, I totally suck on the toe edge. In order to take on the steeper routes, it was vital I gained comfort on my toe side. (*Note - with the hubby being such an awesome skier (blues ain't no thing for him), I felt like I was holding him back from truly enjoying the mountain). The hubby could see that I was no longer enjoying the runs and suggested I enroll in a 2 hour course to ride out my toe side. Unwillingly, but through the hubby's logical reasoning, I enrolled.

With an hour till "class time", we rode the gondola up to the peak of Blackcomb to ride the Peak2Peak gondola to Whistler.
2 different ski lifts and 20 degrees cooler later, we reached the peak of Blackcomb. After some stomping and waddling through a foot deep of snow, we entered the boarding platform for the Peak2Peak bottom glass Gondola. This gondola is the longest in the world and gets you from one mountain to the other in 11 minutes!

Once we reached Whistler, we had the option to ride the gondola back to Blackcomb or take another gondola down to the base of Whistler. We chose the latter. Total time down to the base of Whistler - 30 minutes. And if you look back up at the map, we weren't even really at the peak and it still took 30 minutes. You getting a better picture at this beast of a mountain yet???

Once we reached the base, we took the brief 5 minute walk back over to the base of Blackcomb to start my class. While I attempted to master the toe side, the hubby hit rode up the lifts to take on Whistler like an Olympian.

I successfully gained confidence on my toe side and the hubby took on the mountain. Twice. He said it's by far, THE best mountain he has ever skied at. It's also the most tiring one. haha! The numerous trails available is ridiculous. While you depart from the same gates each time, the trail you take can be totally different each and every time.

3pm rolled around before we knew it and the chair lifts were being shut down. We promptly walked up the slope to return our gear rentals. Genius me suggested we walk the road back to our hotel instead of back up the mountain. Bad idea. It took us twice as long to reach our hotel. Oops!
My fake smile after a tiring day on the slopes

Once we reached our hotel, we hit the hot, hot showers to get ready to head to Whistler Village to watch the Fire and Ice Show.
They build the slopes from scratch every weekend! The dozer
utilized is intense and can handle the steepness.

The show evidenced trick jumps and aerials performed by the ski and snowboard instructors at Whistler. The performers are whisked up the super steep slope by holding onto a rope tied to a snowmobile. And no show is complete without ending in a bang (fireworks)!

Since the show started late, we officially have been standing out in the cold, but beautiful heavy drifting snow for more than an hour. Freezing at the conclusion of the show, the hubby and I still had one must visit place prior to concluding our visit to Whistler - the Olympic Village.
Quarter mile walk later. You can see the snowflakes! Loved that
about Whistler. None stop snow!!

After visiting the Olympic Village, we stopped by 21 Steps to sample their small plates while we reminisced our trip. As we say au revoir to Whistler, Vancouver was whispering bonjour.

Gas to Whistler: $60
Lift tickets: $218
Re-enroll in snowboarding school: $150
Experiencing an Olympic Mountain: Priceless.

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