I recently made my first trip to Canada, all for the eternal search for powder. I was prepared to be slightly disappointed, after initial dumps of snow at Whistler Blackcomb earlier in the season hadn’t continued to the weeks immediately before departure. However it was a stroke of luck that the weather forecast changed as soon as I arrived and there ended up being 5 consecutive days of snow.
With loads of fresh powder, the skiing was fantastic. There ended up being 10 of us in our group, with some travelling from the UK to join us for some snow action. We were constantly on the hunt for powder stashes, which we managed to find off piste and particularly some of the steeper black runs.
The visibility was fairly poor most of the time due to the layers of cloud that seemed to constantly sit at mid-mountain level, and then there were the snow flurries as well. Sometimes you could barely see more than 10 metres ahead, resulting in some hairy near-collision moments.
We decided before we arrived that one of our snow days would be a onesie day. I came prepared with a suitcase of onesies for everyone. Needless to say, we drew a lot of admiration (or was it just curiosity?) on the slopes that day!
Being my first time in Canada, I was eager to try the poutine, Canada’s (un)official national dish of chips, cheese curds and gravy. We even found a version with pulled pork! Absolutely delicious.
All in all, Whistler Blackcomb was a fantastic mountain, with some really long piste runs, lots of light and fluffy powder, some challenging steep terrain, fairly fast moving lift queues, delicious selection of food at the restaurants, and lots of friendly faces and smiles (a lot of them Australian!). It would probably be some of the best skiing I’ve experienced.
On the way home, we spent one night in Vancouver, wandering around Gastown, Chinatown, and the shopping along Granville Street. Thankfully I had lots of room in my luggage after clearing out all those onesies! We also had brunch at the Granville Island Public Market, where one could easily find themselves spending hours ogling at all the charcuterie, cheeses, cakes, seafood and fresh meat. We got a tasty selection of cheeses (ossau iraty, comte, epoisses, goats cheese), some wild boar proscuitto and duck proscuitto, and a flavoursome duck and fig pate.
There was also some fantastic shopping in Vancouver, and overall I felt that I could easily spend another few days exploring the clean, cosmopolitan and friendly Canadian city.
So my first Canadian experience was very enjoyable, with memorable powder skiing, friendly people, and some really good food. However, as much as I loved the skiing in Whistler Blackcomb and could easily see myself going back there, in reality there are so many other snow destinations on my ski wishlist, including other Canadian destinations such as Banff and Fernie. Now to start planning my 2014 ski holiday!
(Modified from original post on sheepless.net)