Opening day on Whistler Mountain…first, pow skis or find some skinny rock boards? Only have powder skis….like Shane McConkey said, “Back when I started skiing them everyone thought they were gay, now pretty much anybody who’s any good skis them all the time.” Next, pass, boots, head to toe Patagonia set up, Giro G10 MX with wireless bluetooth – Beastie Boys cranked, classic K2 Kahuna’s (the big ones) and Smith poles (they don’t make them anymore but who buys new poles?) All set…no extra staff at the shop? I guess the shoppers will have to wait.
Now, brave the line and show up in the dark at some ridiculous hour? or wait an hour or so after opening and get on it when the line is loaded up the mountain? Well, I’ll let you figure out which route I took. I dropped into the line up somewhere down near the Crytal Lodge in sight of Citta’s…never done that before…and I never saw the lift line move so fast. Inside 15 minutes, after a good chat with the chef from the Brewhouse about my old Head World Cup boots (circa 2000 now on their 3rd set of liners) and some visitors from
Van who didn’t know if this was what the line was like every day, we made it to the maze and blasted through that in a minute or two thanks to the freshly trained and hardened crew of lifties and line hosts who pounded 10 people into every gondi…THANK YOU! Thank you for making what could have been an entire post on it’s own a seemless trip to the winter neverland I dreamed about last night.
I sometimes close my eyes on the ride up and imagine the drop in and the rush of the first pillow line or untracked window through the trees (where a guy my size on 190cm something fat skis probably shouldn’t fit) and then snap back to the reality of the sardine can we are crammed into when the door opens at mid station. I open my eyes to the fish bowl reflection of the faces around me in some dudes green goggle lens (green is the new orange if you haven’t heard). The stoke and dude talk at the base turn to pure, silent anticipation as gloves are zipped, goggles are set, cell phones taunting anyone who is not here today are stashed in water proof pockets and a third of the heads start bobbing to their own digital soundtrack…I wonder if they can hear ‘Body Movin’ on my helmet speakers? I hope so! Ha, ha! Now if I could only reach up and open that window without dropping my skis on someone…
What can I say that these pics can’t describe? The longest opening line I have ever seen, period, and then a half hour later I am on top of the world skinning past the crowds at the Round House, heading right past Green chair (sorry, Emerald) and dropping into Rat Fink down untouched lines and tree shots until nearly 11:00am. No rope lines or fences where the rocks and cliffs usually are this time of year, just a straight shot into the white room and the weightless world below…too much talking…more of this tomorrow. Check out these videos: