We just got back from our Whistler trip and what I can say. It's exactly as one would expect from a world renown resort. For ski/snowboard enthusiasts it has everything you could image. The views are simply spectacular with hundreds of runs available. The Peak to Peak Gondola was incredible. Linking both Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain makes it so much easier to access all the trails.

Our drive from Vancouver to Whistler was so beautiful. It was a bright sunny day and so clear. Vancouver looked like it was experiencing Spring like conditions but I believe that's just their winter (so jealous). We stopped in Squamish to buy our groceries. The food is very expensive compared to what we're used to paying in Ontario so we were told to buy our food in Squamish.  Once we arrived  at our lodge we were pleased with our accommodations. We stayed at Wildwood Lodge #304 which is located very close to the bottom of Blackcomb mountain. I really liked our lodge. It was perfect for our small group of four adults. It was comfortable, modern and had a great  view of the mountains. 

I started my week with a 1 day snowboard lesson. I chose the Summit lesson for levels 4-6. The instructors begin the day by accessing the students and then placing them in the group they feel is best suited to the student's ability. My instructor was Sig and he was great. I learned a lot from him but unfortunately I had to quit at about 2:00 because my right foot was on fire. I was breaking in a new pair of boots and the pain had become so unbearable I had to stop. For boarders and skiers who are at the beginner/intermediate level I highly recommend taking a lesson. We purchased Edge Cards prior to our trip which I believe was our cheapest option for lift tickets. Edge Cards act as credit cards so you can pay for your food, clothes etc with your card. You also get discounts on certain items with your card. It is scanned every time you use it. If you choose to add another day of snowboarding as you approach the lift line your card is scanned and the extra day will be charged to your card. No need to wait in line to buy another day of lift tickets. You can purchase the Edge Cards and lessons on the Whistler Blackcomb site as well as other Whistler Ski Packages. See link below.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm

whistlervillageBecause I started snowboarding late in life I find myself to be a bit of a nervous rider. I have good days and bad days. It just depends on how confident I am that particular day and where my head is at. I am finding as I get older I am loosing some of my nerve and coming from a person who jumped out of a plane and has been bungee jumping it's a bitter pill to swallow. Most sports I participate in do not result with me smashing my head (with wearing a helmet) and snowboarding I find is a painful sport however, my advice for anyone who is not a confident rider or skier is to find a partner who is at the same level and start on Whistler. With Blackcomb I found the only green runs are traverses which are not that fun for riders but Whistler does have a few easier runs to start with and build confidence.

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At Blackcomb I did find the Honey Comb/Cruiser trail to be really fun. 7th Heaven and Cloud 9 at Blackbomb was a favorite area with my husband and his friends. Also note that some blues are much easier than others so before heading down any of the runs consult with one of the friendly staff members who are often hanging out at the maps at the top of the hills and they will be able to tell you which runs are easy or hard. If you find yourself getting tired there is no shame in downloading. Most injuries occur when fatigue sets in so that is a safe option for getting down at the end of the day.

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Unfortunately we didn't get any fresh snow the week we were there but the conditions weren't too bad at all. Tuesday was our best day. Beautiful sunny skies and the temperature was mild. All week in fact the temps were pretty mild. During my lesson a few people complained about how cold it was but coming from Ontario it really wasn't that cold. That was the coldest day of the week. Thursday was not a great day. It was raining in the village so our group took the day off. Friday wasn't looking great in the morning as there was a lot of fog but it did clear up by lunch. With Whistler the saying goes "If you don't like the weather now just wait five minutes". I believe that is the saying in the east coast as well :)

 

All in all I had a great trip.

 

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For the majority of my life I despised winter. I was always cold and even if I participated in any winter sports such as skating or tobogganing I was lucky to last 15 minutes. My first ski experience was a disaster. It was on a high school ski trip and my memories of that was of me falling off the t-bar over and over again. Had no concept of the sport what so ever. My second ski experience was also traumatic. I believe I was in my late 20's. My memories of that was of me going too fast over an ice patch and falling on my belly as I spun around in circles down the hill, of course loosing my poles and skis (garage sale anyone?) so after that experience I gave up on the idea of skiing.

During a summer trip to the Rocky Mountains I remember hiking on the top of Lake Louise where I could see the carved out ski trails. At that time I thought how cool would it be to be able to ski here overlooking the mountains. I always felt like I was missing out on a great experience and was a little disappointed in myself for not being able to ski.

Many years later at the age of 39 I met my boyfriend. He was and is a snowboarder. At that time snowboarding never entered my mind but his friends had booked a ski trip to Mt. Tremblant, Quebec so I decided to tag along. I loved the energy of the village and the snowboard scene and was excited to be a part of it.  I signed up for a group lesson but was lost with all the other wanna be snowboarders. Unfortunately my lesson was pretty much useless. My first run down the beginner hill was terrifying. I basically went straight all the way down as my boyfriend was yelling "slow down, slow down". I thought that was fun but I was lucky I didn't kill myself. My second run was brutal. I fell on the flat at the top of the hill and landed on my tailbone. It was really busy and very intimidating because there were so many people around me. I had completely lost any ounce of confidence I had. I fell over and over and was almost in tears. I had such a hard time getting back up because of my bruised tailbone. Once I finally made it down the hill I returned all my equipment and went shopping in the village with my bruised tailbone between my legs. That was the end of that, so I thought.

Two years later I tried again. Had another lesson in Blue Mountain, Collingwood and had a much better experience. Falling a lot but could see an improvement. It was in the middle of the week and there wasn't a soul around which was perfect for me. Two more years passed. Our next trip was to Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif, Quebec. Both excellent ski resorts. La Massif has a chalet at the top of the hill overlooking the St. Lawrence which is beautiful and Mt. St. Anne was a blast and is only a thirty minute drive to Quebec City. Snowboarding in Quebec can be tough because of the cold temperatures but we had just arrived after a huge snowstorm and with so much fresh powder it was the most perfect snowboarding conditions anyone could ask for. Had a private lesson at Mont St. Anne and was starting to feel that this was a sport I may have a shot at. I did a few runs but was still not that confident and got tired quickly but overall I really enjoyed it.

Last year we headed out to Big White. Big White is a great family resort with a lot of great hills for beginners. The village isn't as quaint as Tremblant but most of the staff are from Australia which was cool. It has something for everyone. I did some research on line before we left for our trip and learned a lot about the set up of my bindings on my snowboard. I made some adjustments which helped. At first I was a little nervous but overall I did well. My first run was great and just before we were about to head down the hill on our second run my binding broke. I had to snowboard all the way down on my right toe edge but I made it down alive and was pretty proud of myself.

So now I love winter. I know how to dress for it, get excited when it snows and feel a little sad when the season is over.

Our next destination-Whistler!