Sunday, March 20, 2016

Learning to Ski at Crystal, and a Trip to Whistler Blackcomb

Part 1: Learning to Ski at Crystal

For years one of my primary interests has been mountaineering. I had wanted to take up ski touring, but felt that my odd leg bone structure would prevent skiing in any form. This January I finally decided to consult someone, and wound up being referred to Jim Mates by the folks at Evo. Jim, a Seattle boot fitter, sorted me out incredibly well.

Since February 6, I've now skied 8 days at Crystal Mountain and 3 days at Whistler Blackcomb. I took private lessons on day 1 and day 6, i.e. my first day skiing and the first day after I did my first blue runs: in between, I learned from YouTube videos. I strongly recommend lessons at Crystal - my instructors were fantastic and I progressed tremendously, especially in the second two-hour session.

I thought folks might find some info on runs useful, so here is the sequence I have followed so far. I did each of these until I felt comfortable, then did the next one.

  1. Meadow
  2. Tinkerbell
  3. Lower Arwines
  4. Queen's Run to Snowgarden to Quicksilver
  5. (First Blue) Chappelle's Run: In hindsight, I should have done this after Green Valley.
  6. Downhill
  7. Lucky Shot (multiple endings)
  8. Green Valley
  9. Rolling Knolls exit from Downhill

Part 2: A Trip to Whistler Blackcomb

Kelley and I just got back from a three-day trip to Whistler Blackcomb. Our third-day plans of skiing Whistler unfortunately went out the window with rain and poor visibility: next time we hope to ski Symphony, Harmony, and The Saddle. Here are the runs I did on Blackcomb, not including green connectors, roughly ordered by location. Kelley did a subset. All were fantastic.

  1. Blackcomb Glacier
  2. Ridge Runner
  3. Rock 'n' Roll
  4. Zig Zag
  5. Jersey Cream
  6. Wishbone
  7. Ross' Gold -> Cruiser
  8. Ross' Gold -> Stoker
  9. Ross' Gold -> Sorcerer (my first and to-date only black: short with moderate moguls)
  10. Springboard -> Sorcerer
  11. Grubstake -> School Marm
  12. Hugh's Heaven
  13. Panorama
  14. Cloud Nine
Also, the following were great places to eat:
  1. Moguls for coffee/pastry
  2. Stonesedge for breakfast
  3. Crystal Hut for a waffle
  4. Christine's for lunch
  5. Araxi for dinner
  6. Dubh Linn Gate for dinner
  7. An Indian Affair in Langley BC for dinner on the drive home
We stayed at the Aava Hotel, which was immaculate, close to everything, and staffed with very friendly people. Oh, and if you live in Washington State, get an Edge card - it saves you money on lift tickets and merchandise, and is super convenient.

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