I'm at Whistler for 5 days with the family. Going to try to see as much of the mountain as I can, but I've only got 4 riding days.
Anyway, day 1:
I got to the line-up For the Wizard Express about 8:15. I was pleased to find that they were already loading people. None of this don't-open-a-second-early BS like some mountains. I was in the line-up maybe 2 minutes. In fact all day, I doubt I had to wait more than a couple of minutes to get on anything. Gotta love weekdays!
The Wizard Express took me to the Solar Coaster lift which took me to the top of the Easy Out run, which I had promised my wife I would check out for her. Easy Out is a green run, and it's definitely a nice easy one. It zig-zags back and forth across the mountain, alternately narrowing to a cat-track then widening out into a full run. It also has a lot
of side hits so if you are riding with someone slower you can certainly keep busy. Things were pretty icy towards the bottom of the runs today, so caution required in the last 25% or so of the hill. If there's one realy downside to Easy Out, it's that all the cutting back and forth across the blue runs means you have to check and merge a lot.
I checked out the Big Easy Terrain Garden, which is a set of jumps, max about 10 ft kickers, but really
kickey. Almost impossible to knuckle on those babies. It also has a couple of wide flat boxes and a rainbow box. The Nintendo terrain park, which is also accessible from the Solar Coaster, has larger features plus the street-style stuff most experienced park-rats love. Didn't go in there. I actually may not be able to. The map says you need a special pass to get into the Nintendo parks, which costs a "nominal" fee. Hm. Nominal for Whistler is a down payment on a house anywhere else
I wanted to check out the Whistler gondola, and the stuff at the top, so I had to figure out how to get over to the Whistler village without having to hoof it. Turns out there's a hard left off of Big Easy near the bottom that takes you to the village. It's easy to miss though -- there's a sign, but it's not distinctive in any way; so if you blink, you're back at the Wizard Express
The first time I got to the Whistler village, I climbed onto the Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola by mistake, and ended up back at the top of Easy Out. Derp. OK, try again... Next time I managed to climb onto the correct contrivance, and ended up at the top of the Whistler Village Gondola. That's where one end of the Peak2Peak is anchored. That's where the good snow is. And that's where everyone else in Whistler is. Argh! This is why the rest of the mountain isn't crowded! The Emerald Express is probably the only lift on Whistler that actually has a significant wait time.
Anyway, I checked out the Habitat Terrain Park. They have 3 lines: S, M, and L/XL. I stuck to the S line, as befits my advanced years and declining health. Plus the fact that I still suck at park
. The jumps are a bit bigger, 10-15 ft, which means I knuckled a bunch of them of course. They aren't as kickey though, so a better experience overall. This park has essentially the same boxes and stuff though, so no help there. I think
I might have seen a low rail at one point. Will check it out tomorrow.
What was great about the bottom end of the Habitat Terrain park though was the tree riding. The trees in that area are more or less at the same level as the run, and are well spaced. As a result, there are a lot
of runs through the trees. You won't get any fresh tracks there, but you'll get your fill of dodging trees!
I took the Olympic run down from there to the bottom. The Olympic is possibly even easier than Easy Out; however it doesn't have nearly as much in the way of side hits, so I found it kind of boring. I wouldn't recommend this one to take your significant other on, not more than once anyway.
Reports by others notwithstanding (and apologies to you guys), I found my first day at Whistler to be a lot of fun. The staff were friendly, it wasn't anything like busy, the snow was good, there was interesting stuff to hit. They have their share of bozos, but what mountain doesn't?
One little side note. Someone was having a wedding at the Roundhouse Lodge at the top of the Whistler Gondola. Bride and Groom got on the gondola ahead of me and were getting pix taken a the top when I got off. Now THAT'S a wedding location!
More to come tomorrow, assuming I can even move enough to get out of bed tomorrow morning. One thing for sure about Whistler -- with the long runs, you get a workout!