Temperatures have gradually been dropping in the alpine after a warm fall, allowing Whistler-Blackcomb’s snowmaking crews to get to work building a base for the season.
But it was a snowstorm on Friday, Nov. 21 that put Whistler-Blackcomb over the top, allowing them to open Whistler Mountain on Wednesday of this week with a base of 55 cm.
To date more than 125 cm of snow have fallen, on par with the seasonal average. But warm weather in between snowfalls took its toll. Things got back on track in the past week, allowing Whistler Mountain to open on Nov. 26, a day earlier than planned. Chairs open include the Emerald Express, Big Red Express, Franz’s Chair, and Whistler Village Gondola for uploading and downloading. The Creekside Gondola will open today (Nov. 27) for the American Thanksgiving weekend. It will close again on Nov. 30.
Blackcomb Mountain will also open Nov. 27, with access to the Solar Coaster, Jersey Cream and Catskinner chairs. The Wizard Chair, Excalibur Gondola and Excelerator Chair will be open for uploading through the weekend.
Terrain park riders will have something to enjoy, with two small parks on Whistler — Tapoose, at the top of the Garbanzo Express, and one on Upper Franz’s trail. There will be five to six rails, and a few small jumps. Details for Blackcomb were still being finalized, but there will be something in place for Thursday.
Guest relations will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the weekend for pass purchases and to assist guests. Guest relations at Blackcomb Daylodge and Creekside will also open at 8 a.m. Individual lift tickets are available for $55 on opening day.
Conditions are classified as “early season,” which means the terrain is for intermediate and advanced skiers. Riders should stay within the ski area boundary at all times and be aware that there are unmarked hazards and obstacles.
After the long weekend, the same lifts will be open at mid-mountain but there will be no access from Creekside or Excalibur.
The Roundhouse and Rendezvous lodges are also open daily, and the Glacier Creek lodge on Blackcomb will be open on Saturday and Sunday only. Dusty’s Backside will also open on the weekend for breakfast and lunch, and the Chic Pea and Raven’s Nest will only be open for washroom breaks.
Most of the snow that has fallen in recent weeks has stuck around in the alpine, but those areas also require more snow to open. Access will be available in early to mid-December as conditions allow. The long-term forecast is calling for flurries through the weekend, although the freezing level is expected to rise for Saturday afternoon.