Rolling in the Deep
I’ve been skiing since I was 3 years old, but once I hit high school, I found it hard to find the time to ski every weekend in the winter like I used to. Now that I’m in university, I rarely make it up to the hill at all, especially since it’s so expensive to go ($100 for a day pass… come on Whistler! That’s like a week’s worth of groceries!). I’ve been lucky this year, though, not only because it’s been dumping snow the last couple of months, but because my parents bought me a 7 day Edge Card. This means I have a full of week of skiing up at Whistler this break. If you’re a die hard ski bum then this won’t sound like much to you, but if you’re a starving student like myself, then you’ll understand my level of stoke.
Whistler has received over 500 cm of cumulative snow this season, which is simply a miracle considering it was suppose to be attack of el niño this winter (aka warm with minimal snow). Being a natural ski bum at heart, I did what any skier would do when it snows that much: I begged my parents to let me take the car to Whistler as soon as I got home from university.
I’ve been up twice in the last week and let me tell you, it’s just as good, if not better than they claim it is. When I went up on Friday they had received over 19cm of new overnight and the snow was replenishing itself just as quickly as it was being skied out during the day. I haven’t skied in powder like that in a long time, and let me tell you, I felt so blessed to be able to go up even for the day.
Skiing is an expensive hobby and I haven’t always had the privilege of skiing at Whistler, which is suppose to be one of the top ski resorts in the world. I started off skiing on tiny mountain in North Vancouver called Grouse Mountain and eventually, when I became good enough, I graduated to Whistler with the help of my parents, whom thankfully understand my love for skiing. I don’t have the fanciest gear, I don’t get 60 days in during the year and I definitely don’t have the nicest skis, but they work. I think that a lot of the time we get so caught up in the “coolness” of skiing that we forget the reasons our parents used to ski–it was a passion, not a fashion statement or a competition.
When my mom was my age, she worked two jobs just so she could afford to ski. She became a nurse partially because she knew she would have some weekdays off to ski and her very first pair of skis took her two whole summers to save up for by babysitting when she was only 15. Now that is dedication to a sport she loved. Sometimes I think about all the gear I’ve been given from my parents over the years and I almost feel spoiled. How did I get so lucky?
This year, I’m hoping to re-establish my love for skiing by having fun and even goofing around at times, not by counting the number of days I get in or the amount of expensive ski gear I own. So cheers to the season and here’s to hoping you can roll in that deep at some point this season too.
Tips for skiing at Whistler:
1. Park at Creekside: It’s some of the only free parking in Whistler and it’s very convenient for walking to the gondola.
2. Bring a Lunch and/or snacks: If you don’t want to pay $14 for a burger, bring a sandwich and snacks. Bring it in a backpack and hang it up downstairs on a hook (the entrance you’ll want to go through is to the right of the main Roundhouse entrance, downstairs). This is ideal if you bring something you don’t want to squish or freeze.
3. Eat early or late: Most people will eat lunch between 12-1 p.m. If you want to avoid the lunch crowds and also avoid long lineups, get your skiing in during this time and go in earlier (11:30 a.m.) or later (1:30 p.m). This is when packing snacks might come in handy!
4. Ski it when it’s good: The weather at Whistler can change pretty quickly, which means if you want to ski either Peak, Symphony or Harmony chair, do it while it’s good, don’t wait, because the weather might change! There are far more trees around Green and Red chair, which means if the weather is iffy, it’ll be much easier to ski.
5. Go early: I know it’s kind of a given, but on weekends, the line ups are bound to be massive at Whistler the later you go. Also, traffic can usually be an issue too. If you’re not staying on the mountain it’s advisable to leave Vancouver no later than 8 a.m.
6. Finish your day at Dusty’s: it’s been there since day one and it’ll be there till you stumble out at the end of a long ski day. They call it the “brown chair” and after many runs off red and green chair, you’re bound to be thirsty and in need of a pint (or two). They’ve also got killer food. Seats are limited on weekends so keep your eyes peeled and take what you can get!
7. Buy an Edge Card: Whether you’re only visiting for a few days from out of town or you’re a Vancouverite looking to get a few days in over the break, you should definitely buy an Edge Card. Essentially, it’s a one, three, five or ten day pass that gets you a discount on each day rather than paying full price by buying individual day tickets.
Ps my favourite run is upper and lower Franz’s Meadows off of Red Chair in case you were wondering!