Snow in Whistler – Finally

New Snow 9 cm 7 Day Snow 9 cm Snowbase 48 cm
Alpine Temp -5 °C Valley Temp +3 °C Conditions Dust on Crust

Well it finally happened, we had some snow in Whistler !! :)

Not much, but its a start, and it continued to flurry during the day. I managed to upload just after the first lift from Creekside, looking for a powder fix. As to be expected, it was a case of ‘dust on crust’. Overall, it was great to have a fresh layer of snow around, firstly to make the runs a bit more enjoyable, but also to start filling in the mountains (there are some streams still showing that are normally fully covered by now). While it was far from ‘powder skiing’, what with the hard crust just beneath the surface, it was still a hella lot of fun !!

Orange Peel on Whistler Mountain

The lift lines were relatively small, and I never had to wait more than a minute or two. By about 11am the crowds started to form, and the runs became minefields of human ‘gates’.  The lift lines were still small, as it seemed the majority of the people were beginners and were taking their time getting down the runs. However I had had enough of skiing the same runs over and over so I decided to head down and get some work done.

The forecast is calling for the freezing levels to stay fairly low, so lets hope some of this precipitation hangs around and drops some more of that white gold. Looks like Tuesday / Wednesday might deliver. After that there isn’t much to talk about except the temperatures should finally start staying in a region where we can safely say ‘Winter has arrived’. There are definitely some systems out over the Pacific, whether or not they hit us is another story.

Comments

  1. Admin man,

    thank you… its good to hear some encouraging news… some is better than none. I prayed for snow today in church. i know. its sad – but for someone from so cal, Whistler has been my Mecca for the past 4 years.

    I honestly should be paying you since I’m not getting any of my own work done! We are coming up from Los Angeles on the 12th. and I’d love to send you some photos of our take on things if you are interested.

    Robert, don’t despair… I saw the Weather Channel that some things are brewing over in the pacific.

    -alok

  2. Hi Anthony, thanks for the comments. Its good to know that the time I put into this blog is worthwhile. I realize that the conditions here are at the front of a lot of peoples minds, especially this time of year.
    If you want to send me photos, drop an email to admin at whistlerblackcombsnowreport dot com. Please resize them down a bit.
    I hope it snows more too !!

  3. This blog is great! I don’t like to rely on the Whistler snow report and definately appreciate the view of a local.

    Whistler was kind enough to let us move our 5 day booking from Dec 12th to February 1 with no penalty.

    I’m thinking by Feb 1st things will have improved significantly :)

    Craig

  4. Yes, there are many here who appreciate the report of a local.

    Coming from FL for my 5th trip to Whistler on January 5th. Hoping for plenty of snow between now and then.

    Another thanks from someone who appreciates your blog!

    Robert, you may know, will they start making snow on the lower part of the mountain once the freezing level drops or will they concentrate their efforts on the upper parts of the mountain?

    Garrett

  5. Craig, thanks for the thumbs up :) and nice choice on the Feb 1st date. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, my favorite time of year is the last 2 weeks of Jan and first two of Feb. We normally have a decent base, cold temperatures, and a mixture of stormy powder days and bluebird beauties.
    Garrett, by Jan 5 it would be unlikely to have bad conditions, so rest assured. As for the snow making, I have worked in that department a few times and believe that with the current conditions, they will concentrate on the upper mountain. Some runs are very important to get a good base, to ensure the ski-outs (to the download points at least) late into the season. Also, the terrain parks rely a lot on snow making to be able to make some of the bigger jumps. Once the upper is getting filled in, then they will move more guns to the bottom.
    However, they will have guns on the lower mountain already to make snow in the ‘heavy traffic’ zones (steeper beginner areas where a lot of snow gets pushed, and zones used for ski lessons). The idea of ‘skiing to the valley’ is not a high priority as far as snow making is concerned. In good years it is, but in lean times, there are others (mentioned above)

  6. “Its good to know that the time I put into this blog is worthwhile.”

    It’s DEFINITELY worthwhile! I’ve been checking in every day! I’m just hoping a bit more base builds by the 19th. Thanks for the info.

  7. I’m with you Alex.. I’m arriving on the 19th and I’ve got my fingers crossed. Skiing to the Valley is unlikely, but hoping for more snow, and additional runs, anything to spread out the crowd.

  8. Hi , thanks and keep up the good work , nice to hear from somone at the ‘coal face’.
    Fingers crossed for Jan 3rd, when we make our first trip over from the UK, them village runs are looking very bare !!!!!
    Thanks again ,
    Andy & Tracey
    Ps, any recomendations for bars etc ?

  9. We live in England and will be setting off for Whistler on Tuesday 16 December.

    Your site is brilliant and I log on to it every day as it gives me a no nonsense take on things. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for some really good dumps of snow in the next week or so.

    Thank you so much again for a wonderful site and we look forward to a fantastic Christmas in Whistler

    Michael, Jayne and 7 children! (one of them already working out in Whistler)

  10. Thanks again for the reports, they are invaluable.

    I have also been monitoring some of the forcasting sites and they all seem to agree that from Friday onwards Whistler is going to drop in temperature to -20ish up at the peak. Unfortunately, the weather is looking clear though without any precipitaion about.

    I was wondering that if you know from past experience, what kind of weather climate is ideal for maximum snow dumping? Is it possible to be ‘too cold to snow’ with temperatures being generally better when they are closer to zero or does anything go?

    Do you know of any websites that show weather systems building in the Pacific and give potential times of arrival?

    Thanks again.

    Chris

  11. The weathernetwork.com shows a 14 day forecast with snow from 17 December – do you think this sees the start of winter proper in Whistler?

    I will be watching this site with interest and thank you so much again for the invaluable information

    Michael

  12. Hi Michael,

    How do you access the 14 day forcast on the weathernetwork, I can only see the 5 day version?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  13. Andy, there are plenty of choices when it comes to pubs/bars/clubs here. I am sure you will find something you like. I would recommend the Cinnamon Bear Bar and Grill located in the Hilton hotel as a great spot for a few casual drinks after a hard days skiing. They also show a lot of sports on the screens there.
    If you want more of a party scene, check out the famous Longhorn located at the base of Whistler. A bit more expensive, but always a good time.
    Bazman, no idea on when the ‘upper’ mountain will be open. Probably not for a while is my guess. Just to clarify, you mean what we refer to as the ‘alpine’ chairs, as the ‘upper’ mountain is technically open already. The alpine chairs (Peak/Harmony/7th Heaven and Glacier) need a lot more snow before they can be safely opened. They obviously have some dangerous terrain (cliffs/crevasses) , but they also give access to huge areas. So basically there needs to be decent coverage for the majority of the terrain before these chairs will open.
    Chris, some more good questions, you do your homework don’t you! I am not sure about other places in the world, but in Whistler, there is definitely a temperature range where snow is more likely. Anywhere from -2 to -10 or so gives a good chance of snow, once we get much colder than -10 the chances of getting snow fall dramatically. When it reaches -20 (which is only once or twice a year) it rarely, if ever snows. For those kind of temps, we are getting an arctic blast, which is normally very dry air.
    Obviously those temps are great for snow making though, and the terrain parks benefit heaps from having big piles of snow to push around as they like.
    Check out http://www.cairnpublishing.com/links/index.htm for a good collection of weather links for not just Whistler, but the Pacific North West region in general.
    For a quick visual, I like the ‘visual loop satellite image’ on http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/west/nepac/loop-vis.html
    Michael, I have found that the weathernetwork 14 day forecast is highly inaccurate, in fact i am yet to find a reliable forecast for anything past a few days. Overall, the WB weather forecast, is very good for the next few days. Past a few days, who knows, and anything goes. Whistler is so close to the coast that the weather changes too quick for any long range forecast to be accurate (with regard to snow, not too bad for general hot/cold – wet/dry).
    That being said, the weathernetwork forecast is looking good and I hope they are correct :) I do think the worst of the warm weather is past us, and that winter is beginning.

  14. I’d like to echo the previous posts and say how great this site is. As said it before, it’s good to have a first hand report by someone in the village. I’m Whistler bound on 3rd Jan from Scotland, so fingers crossed for a ‘big dump’, so to speak.

    Keep up the great work !!!

    B

  15. You are probaby fed up with the plaudits, but again, please keep up the good work. It’s great to have a local reporter on the ground (or snow). We’re also coming over from Scotland on Dec 19th, our 4th New Year in Whistler in 6 years. This is the barest I’ve seen the resort (similar to 04/05?), so my fingers are crossed.
    I’ve been watching the long range forecasts on various sites (accuweather, HAMweather, weathernetwork), and as you say none of them are accurate beyond 5 days or so.

    Cheers,
    Geoff