Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whistler Mountain

Saturday - March 27th

Off to Whistler we go!  Having purchased 'Fresh Tracks Breakfast' tickets when we made our accommodation reservation, we were set with a 7 a.m. line call for the Whistler gondola.  Looking forward to a breakfast buffet and priority loading (general upload to the top begins at 9 a.m.) at 7:30 - the day was off to a great start.  As soon as ski patrol gives the all clear, we are able to start riding.  The breakfast, presented by Nature's Path Organic Food, was a hearty meal of roasted potatoes, pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, assorted pastries, muffins, cereal and bagels.  It was better than I imagined. 

At around 8:30 the bell was rung and we were off.  We met a nice couple, Bill & Carole, from Vancouver Island, B.C., on the gondola ride up and they joined us for the first three runs down.  It was their first trip to Whistler and they were glad to find someone to show them around a bit.  Honestly,  I would have enjoyed spending more time with them - but I was committed to demo'ing boards at the Demo Centre hut and once they opened at 9 a.m. I was there.  We were able to get three runs in before 9 a.m.  - that was a record for me.  I am usually still shaking out the kids to the various locations they need to be (at the bottom of the mountain) at 9 a.m.

The Whistler Demo Centre is located outside the Roundhouse at the top of the gondola.  With a credit card and photo id you are able to try out skis and snowboards for a couple of hours.  The service is free, the credit card is to 'find' you in the event they don't see you or the board/ski again.  

First up the TRS by LIB Tech (154) with Magne-Traction and Banana Technology.  The Magne-Traction is supposed to turn ice into powder - which was very appealing to me as I have very little gripping power in my current board.  I have been looking forward to trying this technology all season.  While riding this board I definitely felt connected to the mountain.  In order to fully compare my board with the TRS, I headed straight to the steep and fast Upper Dave Murray Downhill run - the sight of the Men's Olympic Downhill & Super G.  In order to get the run prepared for the races they water it down to get it compacted and hard.  It would be a true test of the edges and I was sold.  It locked me to the hill and I hardly noticed the block of ice that was the run. 

Next stop - Harmony Ridge & the Symphony Amphitheatre. The resort opened new terrain called the Symphony Amphitheatre three years ago which is accessed via the Symphony Express chairlift. Whistler-Blackcomb is a resort we generally visit during Thanksgiving which is opening weekend for the mountain and in late November that area is still closed due to low snow levels.  One of the main reasons we picked Whistler as our get-a-way destination was because of the Symphony area.  Off the Harmony Express chair we are able to get a glimpse of the open bowls and vast terrain, but to experience it full handed, what a treat!  

After a brief text-in with the kiddos back home, we headed in the direction of the Symphony chair.
Here I am on the far right side of the photo - no that is not an ant.

Where's Elisa?
The shear vastness is something one can only grasp in person.  Photos are a poor representation of the bigness.

Time for a new board - next up the Skate Banana also by LIB Tech.  Right before lunch I exchanged the TRS with more of a 'park' board.  It was a bit shorter (151) and had a lot more flex.   I took a run and decided right away that I did not like the softness at all.  I didn't feel like I had any control and felt pretty slow. 

I exchanged the Skate Banana for a Burton Feelgood (149).  Rob and I wanted to head back to the Symphony Amphitheatre area and wanted a board that would be comparable to the TRS.  The Feelgood was a shorter board than I am used to, but handled well.  I would like to compare the TRS in a 151 to a Feelgood in a 151 and make my decision from there. 

Wanting to make the most of our day, I was late (45 minutes) turning in my last board to the demo shop.  (I overheard the guys working in there that any time before 3:15 was ok - 2:30 is the suggested time...I took them up on it)!  I straped on my old board and rode a bunch more.  We took the last chair up the mountain at 4 p.m. and rode all the way to the village - it was awesome!  Still smiling today.

1 comment:

  1. It's always nice to see pictures of people smiling in Whistler.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Aloha Whistler