Spring flings - from patio pals to fly rods – are jumping in Whistler

Night crowd at Whistler
Photographer
Dave Humphreys

Spring flings - from patio pals to fly rods – are jumping in Whistler

CRAI BOWER

WHISTLER, B.C. - Ski resort intimacy is all about the secret stashes, those pockets of hard-to-find snow that’s remained undisturbed for days. With over 8,000-acres pouring sweet as maple syrup across Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the forgotten white lines blink around practically any corner if you know where to turn. No time is more important than spring for eavesdropping on these Whistler whispers.

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“Get up early on the groomers, they’re nice and crisp first thing thanks to their northerly exposure,” confides John Brown, Manager of the Whistler-Blackcomb Adult Ski and Snowboard School. “But then seek out the more exposed areas, because they often produce the best windblown chalky snow.”

painting in whistler
Photographer
Dave Humphreys

State of the ART” talent adds a decidedly urban mix to WSSF.

Spring’s about much more than snowfall in Whistler according to Brown, who arrived in the 90’s. Knowing which après patio to perch upon is a particularly poignant perk to the local population, a subject in which Brown possesses a PhD. “You have to start on the expanded GLC terrace for its great sun exposure and, should the sun not cooperate, five fire pits.”

Forty new heaters also keep things cozy on the 120-seat patio, each will be at a premium during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, North America’s premier that runs for ten days every April, this year from the 7th to the 16th. The WSSF launches more than just the globe’s hottest skiers and snowboarders off specially built jumps and features, and you have to experience the nighttime acrobats as admittedly, they are pretty wicked.

“State of the ART” draws illustrators and artists from everywhere to express mountain culture in traditionally urban motifs. The Olympus 72HR Filmmaker and Pro Photographer Showdowns give many of our best outdoor adventure sport shooters showcase what they do for a living with reliably outrageous results. The FIDO Outdoor Concert Series brings everyone together to get the party started with free music each evening. Michael Franti & Spearhead, De La Soul, Swollen Members and many of the West Coast’s top DJ’s are among past musicians.

Hanging out in Whistler
Photographer
Crai Bower

The Garibaldi Lift Company’s new terrace is the toast of après this season.

“Doctor” Brown’s other favourite patio perch can be found at Creekside’s Dusty’s, immediately following a zip down the epic four-kilometre Creek-to-Peak run from the Whistler apex to a waiting Caesar. (His favorite sun-soaked terrace stash: Bearfoot Bistro, though he also cites the Tapley’s and Merlin’s as great de-layering locales.)

Back at the GLC, Assistant Manager Derek Pretty is draughting Whistler Brewing’s Honey Lager among other libations to the masses while contemplating spring.

“There’s a ton happening on the mountains right up until we close on May 22nd. We’re working to regrow the glacier, which is pretty cool. The ski camps really take off now also, when skiers come from all over the world to ride and ski snow deep into spring. There’s a lot of chilling out on the patios.”

Daytime distractions flow well past Whistler’s famed terraces, when melting snow reveals mountain bike trails, golf greens and scores of other recreation refuges.

Brian Finestone, Whistler-Blackcomb Parks Manager, casts for as many roles as he can every day. “I’ll ride mountain bikes below 900-metres on the south and east facing aspects, then go snowboarding from 11-3 when the snow softens.”

Biking in Whistler
Photographer
Crai Bower

Enjoy world-class mountain bike trails

The long-term local isn’t done yet. “I follow up snowboarding with a slackline session at the lake into the late afternoon, watching for the fish to rise with the evening hatch. Once the bugs are popping I’ll paddle out on my SUP and fly fish until dark.”

Finestone polishes as many days as possible into these adrenaline-driven gems, finding a line from the alpine to the arboreal to the aquatic in a series of turns from single track to trapeze to rainbow trout. Best of all, any of us can hijack his landscape for a little tiptoeing of our own.

Finestone sums up spring in Whistler this way.

“Can’t wait!”

‘Nuff said.

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