December 22, 2011

Whistler Mountain Tips from the Insiders

Whistler real estate agents reveal their favourite runs and secret powder spots at the resort

As usual, Whistler Mountain opened early this ski season – a full week early to be exact – and avid skiers and snowboarders are raving about the resort’s incredible conditions this year.  With two towering mountains sitting side-by-side and offering more than 8,100 acres of skiable terrain, the resort certainly has more than enough groomed runs, alpine bowls, steeps, moguls and chutes from which to choose – maybe even a little too much.

If you’re visiting Whistler for your first time, or even if it has been your favourite mountain destination for years, the sheer vastness of the resort’s ski area means you’ll only discover a fraction of that powder-filled terrain.  In the resort, as with anywhere else, the secret to finding all the best spots when visiting is to ask the locals.

Although much of Whistler’s workforce is a transient mix of ski bums and international students, the town boasts a large community of long-time locals.  Many of these original “Whistlerites” use their love and knowledge of the resort to help others own homes through the Whistler Real Estate Company (WREC).

For more than three decades, the agents at WREC have been living, working and playing in the resort – so they should definitely have the insider’s scoop on the sweet spots on the hill.  “Franz’s Run on Whistler is my favourite,” said Drew Meredith, a former mayor of Whistler who began working for WREC in 1974. “It’s a long run. But you’ll find great powder anywhere when you get up early enough. ” Meredith suggested Whistler Blackcomb’s “Fresh Tracks” lift ticket that gets you on the hill earlier than regular pass holders for first dibs on the runs, as well as a hearty breakfast with other powder hounds.

For WREC agent, former Whistler council member, and world champion free skier Stephanie Sloan, the Dave Murray Downhill – named for the famed Crazy Canuck – on Whistler Mountain’s Creekside is the preferred run. But her reasons may be a bit biased.  “He was my husband,” she said.  But Sloan had a great tip for those wanting to explore an area that was once an out-of-bounds secret area known only to locals.

“Take a hike up Flute, Oboe or Piccolo – called the Musical Bumps – and now within the official ski area boundary,” she said. “That means it is avalanche controlled, patrolled and with the newer Harmony Chair you don’t have to hike out anymore.”

Blackcomb Mountain is WREC agent Steve Legge’s favourite hill to ski, especially Gandy Dancer.  A local for 26 years, Legge was Head Coach for the Canadian National Snowboard Alpine and Boarder Cross Team, and Olympic Coach at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.  “I prefer Blackcomb because I know it like the back of my hand,” Legge said. “I worked there for my first 14 years here.”  For a sure-bet at a great powder day, he suggested heading up Symphony Chair or to the Blackcomb Glacier.  But for the best tips on any given day, Legge suggests a more personal approach.  “Just come skiing with me,” he said. “Or any other local.”

To contact a Whistler Real Estate Company (WREC) agent and become a Whistlerite yourself, visit www.whistlerrealestate.ca

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