God's Glacier


Will Colford, Whistler, British Columbia, 2007
Mount Olympus has absolutely nothing on Whistler.

WHISTLER, BC – Since I’ve been riding a lot of Whistler alpine lately, I decided to check out what Blackcomb had to offer. I’m not going to say I’ve been missing out, but I do wish I could be in two places at once.

As good as the fresh tracks on Peak, Franz, Harmony, and Symphony were, they don’t have the immensity of Blackcomb Glacier.  
After taking the Glacier express above the Horstman glacier, it’s time to get on the Showcase T-bar and head up to the top. The T-bar leaves the tree line well behind and transports you along a sun-soaked bowl, lined with rocky spires, and untouched lines.
Once at the top, it’s just a short stroll to access the Blackcomb glacier. It’s not a fresh powder morning, but as far as blue birds go, this is bluer than a smirf milkshake.

"Blue bird" doesn't quite cut it

It’s bluer than the blood of a lumberjack. It’s galactic blue. It makes me wonder how the colour blue ever got associated with depression, because this blue is what I live for.    

It’s an impressive site from the top of the glacier as you look down into a bowl cut by the same natural forces that helped carve the Rockies. I can’t helped but think of Revelstoke’s North Bowl. Though this would surely be its great grandfather.

Just getting to the other side of the accumulation zone is longer than some runs on major resorts. Just as you get into the broad bowl, you can ride the Blow Hole – a wind-loaded crevasse that runs in between the sidewall of the ice and a rocky spire.

Being on a glacier, the snow is different than the rest of the hill. Some turns are yielding and soft, while others are crusty and quick. At one point it felt like I was riding on the accumulated fuzzy ice found in old freezers. While that may not sound ideal, it was a big thrill for me since I’ve never experienced that type of snow before.

The face of God

The impressive scale of the glacier is only matched by its surroundings. I am reminded of driving on the Banff-Jasper parkway, except twisting down from the mountain tops are the unique signatures left by avid skiers and snowboarders.

My guide, Hayley Ingman, pointed out little hikes and chutes that were, “good on powder days because you can always find snow there.”

Unlike my previous trips to Whistler, which left me speechless, Blackcomb Glacier stupefied me with just how much terrain can be accessed from it’s entrance. I have a knot in my neck from craning it upward, scoping all the lines. “I just can’t get over this,” I said to Ingman.

“You should see it on a powder day,” she says with a look of someone who has seen God.

The entire SnowSeekers team spent three weeks in Whistler during the 2010 games. For articles and videos from the greatest experience in all our lives, check out our Olympic page.

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