Unofficial Snow Reports and Weather Conditions for Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Big Powder Day on Blackcomb

24hr Snow 7 cm 7 Day Snow 93 cm Snowbase 166 cm
Alpine Temp -6 °C Village Temp +1 °C Conditions Deep

When Whistler gets snow, boy does it get snow! This report is actually for yesterday the 11th but I was too tired to do it. We had 49cm of snow overnight and another ~20cm fell during the day. Gotta love it!!

The new snow was excellent to ski and it really helped build the base. I now declare Whistler’s 2013/14 season officially open :)


Welcome 2014 – Bring us some Snow!

24hr Snow 8 cm 7 Day Snow 23 cm Snowbase 120 cm
Alpine Temp -6 °C Village Temp +2 °C Conditions Fresh!

Blackcomb Glacier

All the photos in this post were actually taken on the 3rd of January. The video was taken today.

Goodbye 2013 – as far as snow for Whistler goes, you were a bad year. Adding the numbers up, we only received 738cm total snowfall during the year (Jan – Dec). Compare that to our seasonal average of around 1150cm, and you can see it was a lean year. Yes I know seasons are not calendar years, but 738cm is nothing! (besides the numbers should average out close to the same over the long term)

Whistler Mountain

Onto the current snow report…..

Normally no news is good news, but in the case of this blog the opposite is true. I have been lazy about updating due to a lack of snow coverage, which has resulted in me not bothering to ski much. While technically most of the mountains are open, there are plenty of exposed rocks (even on the normally safe groomed runs). There are also a lot of runs behind ‘marginal’ or ‘temporary ski area boundary’ signs. For good reason too….

Anyway, all that is about to change! I hope…. We just had a few light snowfalls, which have been fun to play in (see video below) but the really good news is that we are expecting our first real ‘dump’ of the season. It may be middle of January but it’s never too late to dump snow on Whistler. So c’mon Ullr how about letting the forecasters get it right for a change! (Forecasts are calling for around 25cm tonight and another 20-30 by the end of the weekend)

Blackcomb Mountain

If you want updates more often, join the Facebook group as I post to that more regularly. Here is a video from today, hope you enjoy!


Fresh, Light Snow makes the World Go Round

24hr Snow 13 cm 7 Day Snow 21 cm Snowbase 90 cm
Alpine Temp -7 °C Village Temp -3 °C Conditions Fresh!

Crevasse

Crevasse at the top of Blackcomb Glacier, where the Wind Lip normally is.

Most people in Whistler snub their noses at 8cm, and the ‘unofficial’ work rule is a 20cm day, but this season has been so lean that the 8cm of blower snow we received last night was welcomed with open arms. I certainly enjoyed it, even if the visibility was a bit hit or miss with a side of flat light thrown in. I’ll take that over no snow for the next 2 months please!

Glacier Chair

I was pretty shocked while riding Glacier chair for the first time this season when we came over the first roll to see Heavenly Basin / Dakine (photo above). There is often rocks on the skiers right of Heavenly, and a couple here and there on Dakine but that is a minefield right now.

Diamond Bowl

Ruby Bowl

I can go on and on about the lack of coverage, but instead just look at the photos above and below (with more on page 3 of the December gallery). Instead I will point out that I really enjoyed my runs today, they aren’t going to make a top 10 list by any means (and hopefully are quickly forgotten as more snow falls) but still it was fun to be skiing powder again.

Secret Bowl

Winky's Pop and Surf's Up

Blackcomb mountain is now essentially ‘fully open’ with both Spankys and the Blackcomb Glacier no longer behind ropes. Whistler is yet to open Symphony chair but otherwise it is pretty much ‘fully open’ too. Well that is according to WB, who on their home page are saying that 6500 acres is open (out of a total of just over 8000). Now I don’t know how they work out that figure, but there is still a lot of stuff in-bounds that is behind ropes (or probably still should be!).


The New Harmony Chair

24hr Snow 0 cm 7 Day Snow 11 cm Snowbase 81 cm
Alpine Temp -7 °C Valley Temp -3 °C Conditions Hard Packed

Harmony 6 Chair

The new Harmony chair (6-pack) opened last Saturday, and today I finally got around to checking it out. Yup, it’s a chairlift. Today wasn’t busy, so it is hard to judge what kind of impact the addition of two extra seats has made. Well except for the fact it was now a long way across the chair to try and have a chat with the other single loader ;)

Black Tusk

We haven’t got much snow, but at least the view of Black Tusk from the top of Harmony is still the same beautiful view.

Lower Lift Line of Harmony Chair

Middle Lift Line of Harmony Chair

Harmony Horseshoes

Yup, not much snow at all :( and the snow we do have is becoming quite icy in spots so make sure you have some half decent edges.

Piccolo

I did a lap around the backside and found some nice turns in the Symphony zone. A little bit of fresh powder in between the rocks. Be careful ‘cruising’ Burnt Stew because it has a number of large rocks poking through.

Sun Bowl

Below is The Couloir, certainly earning it’s ‘double black’ rating at the moment.

The Couloir

Lastly, I saw on the light board that Glacier Express and the T-bars on Blackcomb mountain opened today. Will have to check them out, but am in no real rush….

A Light Dusting of Snow has Helped Perk up the Runs

24hr Snow 7 cm 7 Day Snow 9 cm Snowbase 84 cm
Alpine Temp -2 °C Valley Temp +2 °C Conditions Soft/Med Packed

Glacier Creek Lodge

It finally happened, we got snow! I think last night was only the second time I have had to shovel my driveway, which is one of those love/hate chores that I would gladly do more often ;)

I spent this morning lapping Jersey Cream chair, having lots of fun, as the new snow has resulted in pretty darn good surface conditions. It was excellent, almost perfect visibility and no lift lines (as you can see in the photo above – taken around 9:45am). However, as I say each report, keep an eye out for those rocks – as they can appear anywhere including the middle of a run.

I have not strayed too far from the ‘recognized runs’ yet (you still have to duck ropes to get to most of them too!). I don’t intend to either, not until we get some decent snowfalls.

Cougar Milk

Crystal zone was a completely different story today. A fog layer was hovering around the bottom, but the visibility up top was nice. The runs simply need more snow as there are numerous rocks mid-run and since they haven’t (maybe once or twice) been groomed, there are quite a few bumps/rolls/lips/creeks to catch an unsuspecting skier. Those ‘features’ are especially hazardous in the poor viz as you just don’t expect a lip in the middle of a ‘run’. To top it all off, everyone on Blackcomb seemed to be there. The lift line was negligible (only a couple of minutes at most), but when Jersey was ski-on the decision to head back there was easy.

Now for some general info…
Every season is different, but so far this season is way different to normal. The obvious is the lack of snow but there is not much we can do about that (except for snow-making in certain areas when the temperatures allow). Lack of early season snow is not unheard of, but generally when it happens we often have to wait for ages to get the alpine chairlifts open. This season we already have Peak and Crystal chairs open (Crystal is a borderline ‘alpine’ chair, but is often referred to as one). Tomorrow they are opening the new Harmony chair (same location, but the 4-seater has been replaced by a 6-seater).

I must point out though, that just because a chair is open doesn’t mean that all the terrain it accesses is skiable (or even open). For example, the back side of Peak chair is still closed, and for good reason. Lots of exposed rocks still. I haven’t been into Harmony zone yet, even though plenty of others have, so I don’t really know but I expect most of it’s terrain will be closed or basically roped off with ‘marginal, watch for rocks’ signs everywhere.

Pumphouse Roll

Enough of the negative, as apparently I do too much of that (and this town is a tourist based economy)…. While we don’t have much snow, the snow we do have is of excellent quality (for the most part) and I am really enjoying the skiing I am doing. I am just not doing the kind of skiing I wish to be doing…. It just reinforces the notion, a bad day on the slopes is better than a any day in the office.

Tourists coming here for Xmas, especially the casual skiers/boarders will find the conditions to be just right. We have snow in the valley, so the place ‘looks’ Xmas-y. The ski outs are in as good as shape as they can be (they could be wider but that is nit-picking) and the ‘green’ zones are fairly well good to go. The only complaint they will/could have, will be how ‘busy’ it will seem (due to people not being able to spread out as much as normal). Kind of ironic since WB have spent who knows how much money this season replacing Harmony and Crystal chairs with faster ones to help alleviate this kind of ‘complaint’.