Whistler has even more bowls than Blackcomb, which means more freaks looking to snake first tracks. Luckily there are so many choices that you'll get your share if you can keep up with the frantic pace. The Harmony Express Quad accesses nice cruisers in the Symphony and Harmony Bowls. Toward skier's left from the Harmony Express Quad, the Drop is the steeper of these cruisy runs. After a dump, head for Surprise under the Peak Chair, where there are nice rocks and ridges to huck from.
Follow the ridge skier's left from Whistler Peak to drop the 60-foot cliffs known locally as "Air Jordan." When the top opens, go skier's right from the peak around to the monster rU.S.h runs, Couloir and Cirque, which drop into the Glacier Bowl. Down the face of Whistler Bowl, Doom and Gloom and High Shoulder challenge experts with steeps, spines, and cliffs. Stay on top of the ridge to Highway 86, then cut into the double blacks of West Bowl for extreme freeriding down a quick 2000-foot vertical. For the best glades, cut across Highway 86 at the bottom of West Bowl into Big Timber and Peak to Creek. This winding creek bed run takes you down to the Creekside Gondola. For other great timber stashes, ask a local to show you International Trees and the Shooting Galley.
Whistler's funpark is better suited for beginners and intermediates than Blackcomb, but it's also less intimidating. The atmosphere is friendly and encouraging, and the pros on site will offer tips more readily than at the Nintendo pipe. Head to the end of the Green Express Quad Chair to try your stuff on their collection of tabletops, spines, banks, and the pipe.
Beginners will have a blast on the extra-wide slopes of the Olympic area. Those who have carving down to an art should try the combined Upper and Lower Dave Murray Downhill runs beginning above the Orange Chair and finishing up at Creekside. Intermediates might want to advance onto the lesser used Seppo's beneath the Black Chair, or the longer undulating Franz's to Lower Franz's down to Creekside. Intermediate and advanced edgers will get heel-to-toe satisfaction from the Boundary Piste and Harmony Ridge runs, both complete circuits of the Harmony Express Quad. From Peak Chair, layout arcs along Highway 86 around the West Bowl boundary.
The Nitty Gritty
Summit: 7,160 ft.
Vertical drop: 5,020 ft.
Snowfall: (Combined with Whistler)
Annual average: 360 inches
Area: (Combined with Whistler)
Total Area: 6,998 acres
Advanced: 25 percent
Intermediate: 55 percent
Beginner: 20 percent
Number of lifts: 2 gondolas, 3 high-speed quads, 4 chairlifts, 2 T-bars, 2 handle-tows, 1 platter lift
Hazards and Rules: An average of 15 people die each year (mostly out of bounds) in the Whistler area so it's important to take an Ortovox transceiver and all the rest of the kit. Pay attention to the flashing lights that signal high-risk areas, and go with someone who knows the backcountry traps.
Snowboard School: Contact Whistler Mountain Snowboard School at 604-932-3434 for rates and programs.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication