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 Thanks for the report Mike... I've always wondered how the summer glacier skiing was out there... I was kinda surprised though to hear "where" the skiing took place.  Since you are saying that the
lifts used are the Showcase and Horstman T-Bars, I now can picture what area is open for skiing (the "front" side).  When they said "Glacier skiing" I originally envisioned skiing off the back of the
glacier for a few hundred yards (ie. By Blowhole and the wide open bowl back there).  I guess having no lifts back there would prevent opening it up, but I'm curious what the snow is like...
  Good stuff though... My future sister in law lives in northern Washington State (Whidbey Island) so a summer excursion out there one year may in fact bring me to the glacier in July ;)

Will


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Reardon [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 1:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SKIVT-L] Blackcomb Glacier - 7/22

My wife and I just got back from 10 days of driving through
various parts of British Columbia, and we stopped at Whistler
for a couple of those days.

Since we were there, we felt it was required that we check out
the glacier skiing for a day.  Last Tuesday was a gorgeous day
in BC, with temps at the base of about 90 degrees (it felt that hot,
I never could figure out what the "real" temp was, everything is
reported in C).  The temps up on the glacier were probably in the
60's.

The public isn't allowed to upload on the chair from the Blackcomb
base until 11AM, and it takes almost an hour to get to the top, so it
was just after noon when we finally reached the top of the Horstman
Glacier.  It's quite a ride.  From the base, you take the Wizard Express
chair to the Solar Coaster chair, which takes you to the mid-mountain
lodge.  From there, you get on a bus, which takes you around the
mountain to the 7th Heaven Express chair, which brings you to the
top of the Glacier.

The glacier itself is divided into about 25 different lanes, most of
which are closed to the public.  Most of them are "owned" by the
various ski and snowboard camps that run all summer long (the
glacier skiing is scheduled to end on 8/2).  There are about 5 lanes
that the public can use, plus a public halfpipe and terrain park, if
those things appeal to you.

I would guess that there were about 500-600 people skiing on the
Tuesday that we were there, and the vast majority of them were
involved in the camps.  Sheila and I seemed to be the token 40+
year old people out there.  Most of the skiers appeared to be
teenagers and younger.  The people who were there were generally
expert level.  I only saw one person who was obviously a beginner,
while I saw many, many people who were experts at whatever they
were doing.  There were some bump skiers that just spent the entire
time hammering a couple of hundred yards of bumps, and they
looked like they could easily be on the World Cup Mogul circuit.

The majority of the skiers there were of the "new school" flipping,
twisting, jumping variety.  I lost count of how many helicopters,
flips, and all other manner of tricks that I saw in the few hours that
we were there.

The conditions were excellent for July 22 (any conditions on July
22 are excellent by my definition).  Most of the glacier is groomed,
and the slush wasn't too deep.  It was similar to April skiing here in
the east.  There were various places that had running water, but
they were pretty easy to miss.  Access to the skiing is via 2 different
T-bars, The Showcase T-bar and the Horstman T-bar.  All told, I'd
guess there was about 7-800 feet of vertical to be had.

At the end of the day, you had two choices for leaving.  You could
repeat the upward sequence in reverse, or you could ski from the
top of the glacier down a cat-track to the mid-mountain lodge.  I
chose the latter route, and it was pretty fun until about the last
500 vertical feet, where the slush seemed to get much deeper
and heavier.

Overall, it's a lot of fun to ski in July.  I wouldn't plan a mid-summer
trip around the quality of skiing that we found, but it's certainly
worth doing if you find yourself in the area, and the glacier is
open for business.  As with most things at Whistler, it ain't cheap.
Lift tix were about $43, and the boot/ski rental was about another
$45.  Both of those prices are Canadian $$.

Bring on winter!!!!!!!!!

Mike

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