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Pique N' Your Interest

Hello Ullr? It’s me, Mitchell

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Note to self: Ullr, the Norse God of snow, doesn’t like beans.

With no gear to throw in a sacrificial fire to Ullr this year, I threw a treasured can of beans in tomato sauce, my favourite powder day breakfast. There was a moment’s excitement when the can finally exploded, and the next day we were rewarded by one of our biggest blizzards of the early season.

Things were looking good in early December. It was cold, it was snowing, and weeks could go by without seeing the sun.

And then they started looking bad. It got colder. It got clearer. Snowfalls got smaller and smaller, and the crust underneath got harder and harder. The good ol’ West Coast snot – which falls in thick, wet flakes that stick to everything – never made an appearance.

Ullr stiffed us.

Things got even worse this week when a cold front that saw temperatures drop as low as minus 20 BEFORE wind chill, gave way to rain.

Things are supposed to get better for the weekend, but "better" is a relative term. We need a few weeks of solid dumpage before we can even call this an average season. Optimists are looking to February for salvation. Pessimists are oiling their bike chains.

Bad seasons happen. And if climate scientists are correct in their global warming predictions, then bad seasons will become more and more common in the future.

Whistler was built on one thing – a consistent snowfall. Not spectacular snow, but consistent snow. In a region where dry spells have hit the Interior hard in the past decade, consistency was everything.

Consistency was the reason this community could confidently build so many hotels and houses, and why we’re consistently a leading ski resort. More people who come here have good days than bad days, and they tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Yes, the terrain is huge and incredible, the restaurants and nightlife are second to none, there’s ample shopping and parking, and when the snow craps out you can always ride the stunts in the terrain park.

But without consistent snowfalls, this place loses the foundation on which it was built.

It’s too early to panic, but most people would probably agree that the most recent trends couldn’t have come at a worse time.

First of all, it’s the FIS Snowboard World Championships. Organizers are predicting a global television audience in the hundreds of millions for events, and it rained through both the parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom. And nobody will get to appreciate the view if it’s blocked out by fog and low-flying clouds.

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