British Colombia is one of the best places in the world to ski because of the epic powder, a huge amount is ski resorts and of course the easy access via Vancouver. In fact, much of the best skiing is actually located in the resorts located not far from Vancouver, so they are super easy to access. And one of the most epic of those is Whistler Blackcomb is one of the best ski resorts in the BC and the world.
Whistler bowl is on every skier’s/snowboarder’s bucket list. In European Après ski bars it is discussed in hushed reverence (so as not to alert the staff) as one of the slopes to tackle before the grim reaper nears. Whistler opened in the 60’s and year after year it has built its reputation as a premier ski resort. With that have come better facilities, more lifts and a better reputation. First comes the lifts then comes the adrenaline. The introduction of the ‘Peak Chair’ lift has turned this place into a powder chaser’s Mecca. All ski bums now pray to the great white north. They all must vanquish the spectre of the four glory bowls.
For those non-seasoned snow fiends, the Bowl is an area near the peak of the mountain that has a sharp curve like a bowl. It generally offers the steepest slopes with some rocky sections, lightening chutes and all sorts of terrain to navigate. They say the first run will cause an epiphany and that people question why this can’t be done all year round and whether this is the best ski resort Canada has to offer.
The mountain deserves respect and that realisation will never strike truer than when the lift reaches the peak. Each curve, each tree, each break should be studied on the way to the top. There is little time once up there to make a decision. Just pick a line to carve and go. Don’t look back to admire the track you’ve left. Focus on the one you’re about to carve or you’ll be so covered in powder that it will be reminiscent of a wayward Hollywood starlet.
Related: If you are struggling to understand all the words related to skiing then check out these Ski Terms & Definitions, it’s very handy!
There’s five different Bowls that you can choose from. Whistler Bowl, Glacier Bowl, West Bowl, Flute Bowl and Boomer Bowl. Choice is a welcome burden at this resort. The popularity of Whistler bowl means that there is always a possibility of catching the bumps left behind by others. With the pace gathered off the slope means bumps equals bruises. The adrenaline will sort the pain out as it pumps through the veins. Reactions will now be as sharp as a fighter pilot. To take a run all the way to the bottom they will need to be. Be warned though taking a ride all the way to flatter ground can mean that there is no time to fit another run in. The hard core ski bum with his beard will stop half way and try and then head back up to get those extra runs in.
Terrain this challenging and avid support from the experienced ski fraternity means that there are certain times of the year Whistler can become overcrowded. Avoid the March party scene when the slopes can become overcrowded, with lifts churning out skier after skier like a revolving door.
Insider tip: Picking the right time of the year is key to getting that snow spraying in the wake of your body. Less people = fresher tracks. Fresher tracks = more fun. These equations are the simplest that ski minds can grasp.
The unique problem the bowls propose of the rugged terrain combined with the physical challenge of not succumbing to burning thighs means that it will always be a destination that skiers flock to. Whatever negatives it possesses any powder chaser worth there salt will want to take the challenge. The Four Glory bowls definitely are that, a challenge.
Bring The Right Gear
Don’t forget to come properly equipped when skiing in a place like Whistler. The weather can change at any moment, and temperatures can drop as low as minus 30 celsius. Trust me, if you haven’t skied in cold weather, you have to experience it to believe it.
Here are just some of the things I would take on a day out skiing:
- Warm beanie or toque as they call it in Canada
- Face mask
- Ski goggles
- Warm ski jacket and pants
- Thermals to layer up when it’s cold
- A proper skiing backpack to carry all your extras and anything you need if you go backcountry or just off-piste.