WILL COLFORD, SnowSeekers Inc.
Welcome to Whistler Whereabouts. Because Whistler Blackcomb is so massive with so many places to ski and ride, I’ve decided to ride a new section every day and tell the tale of my experiences.
My first day, however, may very well be my best. I began the day at 6 a.m., heading to the village with a “first tracks breakfast” ticket in tow. This program allows anyone with a lift ticket to head up early and get breakfast on top of Whistler at the roundhouse lodge. It was a great spread, with a fine selection of bacon – essential for early morning fuel.
At some point, someone clangs a giant bell, and everyone stuffs down their stray pancakes, and gulps the rest of their juice and coffee, then scrambles outside for first tracks. Since you can access several areas from the lodge, people are breaking off in every direction, making it impossible not to second guess your decision.
Thoughts like, “Those people look like they know where they’re going.” creep in. But then you strap in and commit.
The area I committed to included the Old Man area, followed by Franz and the glades skier’s left of Franz. These funneled down to the highway 86 cat track, eventually leading to the Big Red Express chair, and back up to the Roundhouse lodge. (head to Whistler’s interactive trail map at media.intrawest.com/whistler/trailmap/index.html?int=banner-nonflash_mapbtn_101807 to follow along).
Getting first tracks through this area was varied and quick. The wide open meadows of Old Man nicely gave way to the chutes of Franz and the spacey glades left of Franz. The trees themselves looked like Old Growth cedar, making a steep face very technical and picturesque. In two hours, we lapped these lines no less than seven times. Each time fresh tracks were had.
Though it contains a few traverses, and a bit of planning, the area itself is steep and technical. If the snow wasn’t there, I would have had a difficult time on a board. But on skis, it would make for some seriously technical riding. Stay tuned for part two of my day, and the highlight of my life: Whistler Bowl and the Peak Chair.
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