This weekend we headed up to "The Great White North" (as Cary calls it) to do some skiing at Whistler. We try to make at least one trip up to Whistler every year, but this year for the first time we decided to try the backcountry terrain instead of the resort.
This adventure was very different from our usual backcountry trips, as the first part of the day was spent riding lifts up to the backcountry access gate. It took 3 chairlifts, and at least 2 hours to make our way over to the edge of the ski boundary, and since it was our first time in the area we wanted to make sure our entry and exit were in the recommended spots. The guest services area where we purchased the backcountry ticket made it seem like it was an official "gate" that you go through to exit the resort... so we tried to get as close as possible to that point on the illustrated resort map.
Conditions were a little crazy getting up to the exit point, with one of the lifts being delayed due to high winds, and visibility being almost zero, so we chilled out in one of the little tea huts near the edge of the resort for a while, waiting for things to clear up. When we finally got over to the edge of the resort, we almost called it a day and headed for the village, when the fog totally clears for a few minutes so we could see where we were headed. The terrain looked mellow and awesome, with some nice open glades not too far in the distance, so we headed out of bounds.
Such a fun day of skiing!! The snow was super deep and surprisingly light for how warm it had been. For a backcountry area, it was surprisingly crowded.. we must have seen at least 50 other skiers just in the little bowl where we did laps... but with the awesome conditions and easy lift access, I totally get it. I was shocked to see so many people out without avi gear, especially since it was a considerable day. Guest services warned us that one of the biggest dangers in the side country are inexperienced backcountry skiers triggering slides above other skiers, and I can totally see what they meant.
On the way out we skied down Singing Pass, a 13K traverse that goes all the way back to Whistler Village. There were a few wild creek crossings over thin logs that had my heart pounding, but for the most part it was super chill. I know they're probably boring for most people, but I kind of love long, slow descents that remind me a cross country ski trip. Just coasting along through the trees with a casual pole push every now and then, what a relaxing way to end an outing :)