Story and photos by Larry Turner (www.larryturnerphotography.com)

High on Adventure, March 2019


It’s a reoccurring dream in the depth of winter: the need to trek to the North Country and participate in some of the best skiing on the Planet at the finest snow sport resort on Terra Firma: www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

The dream awakens to a reality as my friend John Paulson and I make our way northward from our respective Oregon homes come early March. We’re like swallows going back to Capistrano, like snow geese flying back to Canada and Alaska from warmer sojourns. A year ago I was planning to do the same and headed north from Death Valley National Park with author Jorge Cervantes when we had a mechanical failure in Carson City, Nevada. This cost me that meet-up with John to be his passenger en route to Whistler. Initially, I was going to cancel going altogether. Then the memories of the love story that I have for Whister-Blackcomb took a grip and wouldn’t let go, so I drove to the border and beyond solo. I was only able to ski six days instead of 10, but hey, a 60% helping of paradise is better than nada.


  Whistler-Blackcome afternoon sun break   Whistler-Blackcomb woman posing at Inukshuk  




Whistler-Blackcomb champagne Sunday

  Whistler-Blackcomb Olympic athlete  
  Whistler-Blackcomb lunch break   Whistler-Blackcomb new patio  
  Whistler-Blackcomb Roundhouse view   Whistler-Blackcomb ski lunch break  
  Whistler-Blackcomb tourist photo at Inukshuk   Whistler-Blackcomb Whiskey Jack's view  
  Whistler-Blackcomb skiing to lift   Whistler-Blackcomb Whiskey Jack's  

I’m seated at the new heated patio Whiskey Jack Umbrella Bar, outside the Roundhouse Lodge, on a glorious bluebird day. I’m drinking Champagne before noon, compliments of #GMCWhistler. It’s my last full day here. I’ve had five straight days of skiing. John left yesterday to visit our friend Jean in Edmonds, Washington. I have two nights to myself at the Cascade Lodge Whistler. It’s March Madness time. I’m writing at an outdoor table with the sun at my back.

The new Umbrella Bar Whiskey Jack’s Umbrella Bar is part of the renovated Roundhouse Lodge Terrace and Viewing Deck. The two new patios added an additional 555 seats to the Roundhouse Lodge and was completed in the autumn of 2017. According to a brochure : ‘The heated umbrella bar has 63 year-round patio seats overlooking Whistler Village at the Roundhouse Lodge. This Meissl large umbrella is a Type MR 12 meter with steel and glass wind walls.’ The Umbrella Bar offers 360 degree views of Whistler Mountain and surrounding alpine terrain.

Some of the Umbrella Bar’s special drinks include the Skier’s Delight (Bailey’s, butter ripple schnapps, hot chocolate and cream; more like a dessert), Caesar, Old Fashioned and Mulled Wine.

Inside the Roundhouse many food offerings are available cafeteria style. The place gets pretty crazy during lunch time, so best to go there before or after the main lunch hour for more elbow room and seating possibilities. I made a habit of picking up food there (the Vietnamese and curry offerings were my favorite; also a small bottle of Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc but at $25, a bit too pricey) and taking it to one of the Umbrella Bar outside tables—dining with a view.


  Whistler-Blackcomb bird in hand   Whistler-Blackcomb Larry Turner   Whistler-Blackcomb Norwegian skier apre life   Whistler-Blackcomb snowball kid  
  Whistler South Korean tourist   Whistler time clock   Whistler Ting   Whistler USA Naval Academy skier  
  Whistler Winter Olympics poster   Whistler-Blackcomb Peak-to-Peak Gondola  
  Whistler-Blackcome comaraderie cheers   Whistler Ollie's  
  Whistler Olympic Village selfies   Whistler-Blackcomb bluebird day  
  Whistler-Blackcomb bowl   Whistler Olympic symbol  
  Whistler Ski School   Whistler Village family stroll  

A week of varied weather and ski days included one morning of fresh pow. Overall, it was bluebird spring skiing. We had missed the recent big powder days.

Fascinating people from all over the world visit Whistler. I rode lifts with Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, South and Central Americans, Europeans (especially Brits, Germans and French), Australians, Canadians, Asians, South Africans, Kiwis—the Globe comes to Whistler.

A Russian lady told me that she had left her home country a long time ago because of Communism. “The leaders and their chummies took care of themselves but they never took care of the working people,” said Valentina. She laughed when I mentioned Putin and stuck out her tongue. “I love the Canadians and Americans,” she said. “They know how to live. And this mountain (Whistler) is a great place to enjoy a part of one’s livin’.”

One day I rode the Peak to Peak Gondola (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_2_Peak_Gondola) with a Chinese lady named Ting who lives with her husband in Maryland. “I’m in medicine and my husband in research. We want to get American citizenship. We love America and Canada and we have a special extra love of Whistler. Skiing here makes our hearts smile.”

One of the beauties of skiing and snowboarding is that you meet new people sharing a mutual love. At Whiskey Jacks in the bright afternoon sun one day, I enjoyed the aprés ski life with two lovely ladies from Victoria, BC, Canada. We enjoyed a great bottle of Canadian chardonnay from the Okanagan Valley and with glibber tongues, we reveled in the beauty of the day, our sport and the many places and experiences that it had given—and continues to give—to our individual lives. Salute.

John and I on another day—after skiing Peak to Creek, the longest ski run in North America—got a kick out of two Asian ladies at Dusty’s Bar and BBQ who were posing with peace signs throughout the eatery, taking selfie after selfie. I thought: ‘Good for them. Peace and goodwill, the World should always embrace.’


  Blackcomb Seventh Heaven   Blackcomb Seventh Heaven   Whistler-Blackcomb Peak-to-Peak Gondola   Whistler view  
  Blackcomb Bowl skiing   Blackcomb Bowl hike in  
  Blackcomb Glacier skiing   Blackcomb Bowl winter hike  
  Whistler Blackcomb Bowl   Whistler bluebird winter pleasures  
  Whistler see-forever view   Whistler higher ground skiing  
  Whistler Peak-to-Peak Gondola   Whistler cloud skiing  
  Whistler Peak-to-Peak Gondola   Whistler skier  

This is taken from a Whistler news release: ‘ This winter, Whistler Backcomb unveiled the new Blackcomb Gondola. Running from the Upper Village to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain, the new gondola rises 3.86 kilometres from bottom to top. This 10-person Doppelmayr lift carries 184 cabins and transports 4,000 people per hour. When combined with a ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK and Whistler Village gondola, it completes a continuous lift system of 13.5 km—a true feat of engineering. Additional lift upgrades that provide quicker, easier access to all levels of terrain include the new six-passenger high-speed chairlift that replaced the four-passenger Emerald Express chair in the Family Ski Zone on Whistler Mountain; and on Blackcomb Mountain, more laps can be enjoyed with the new four-passenger, high speed chairlift replacing the triple-passenger Catskinner chair.’

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated March 17th throughout the village, mountain and resort. There are some pretty outlandish costumes worn that day on and off the slopes. Feel free to add to the mix. And by all means stop by the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub for a pint, food and live music pleasures, along with some group singing and general revelry.

Strolling the streets of Whistler Village is one of my favorite things to do. There are all kinds of enticements for eating, drinking, relaxing, shopping, enjoying art/history and making new friends.


WhistlerBlackcomb is part of the innovative Epic Pass (www.epicpass.com) which has caught on like fresh powder in the North American ski and board world, with which you can ski and board a variety of the crème de la crème in our part of the world, and elsewhere, too. My ski buddy John has this to say about it: “For an active skier like myself—freshly retired—it is the best bang for the buck going, and there is a plan for everyone.” Check out the epic pass for 2020.


  En route to Whistler from Oregon, John and I have a tradition of stopping at famous Granville Island, Vancouver, BC (www.granvilleisland.com) both for lunch and to pick up a variety of supplies for our stay, such as fresh seafood, veggies and fruits, artisanal bread and my favorite poppy-seed pastries. Whistler has two wonderful grocery stores and we use them, too. But the charm of Granville should never be passed up. The fresh food is great, the live music wonderful, the crafts superb, the ambiance gratifying, and the views inside and outside this robust market superb. Like the mountain, I also have a love affair with Granville.   Granville Island entrance  
  Granville Island fresh fish   Granville Island fresh salmon  
  Granville Island fresh pastries   Granville Island fresh veggies  
  Granville Island yummies   Granville Island Vancouver Olive Oil  
  Granville Island   Vancouver BC Ferry  


  Whistler apres-ski   Whistler-Blackcomb apres  
  Whistler Olympic Village   Whistler ski shoes  
  Whistler Village activity   Whistler Village afternoon  
  Whistler Village espresso   Whistler Village family stroll  
  Whistler Village ice cream   Whisler Village ice skating  
  Whistler Village outdoor cafe   Whistler Village stroll  
  Whistler Village   Whistler St. Pat's Day  

Following are a few websites to check out - some new and noteworthy happenings at Whistler-Blackcomb this winter and spring:

https://slcc.ca/feast/ First Nations Winter Feast and Performance
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whistler-craft-crawl-tickets-50817477443 (Whistler Craft Beer Crawl)
https://www.wssf.com/ (World Ski and Snowboard Festival April 10-14, 2019)


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