2014 Telemark Season Highlights | PNW-Wyoming-Whistler

Bevan Waite |

As many of us experienced, skiing powder last winter was a struggle for those seeking refuge on the west coast of the US.  California was hit hard, but Oregon and Washington also suffered from meager storms that infrequently deposited snow.  

Mt. Hood from Timberline

By the time spring rolled around, I had skied less than 5 powder days, 3 of which were in Wyoming with a bunch of hooligan Tele skiers at Targhee’s 2014 Big Mountain Tele comp.  It snowed a foot of fluff ever day I was in the Tetons. In fact, so much so that the event was cancelled due to zero vis down the venue.  It seemed to make no difference though.  Competitors were like kids in a candy store minus parents; people got wild.

Dylan stomping it.
Bevan shmearing into the finish.
These cars must not have moved for 3 days.

I decided if all I’d be doing in the spring was slaying sticky slush on sub-par terrain in the Hood, I’d rather be shredding the same quality snow on some of Whistler’s best inbounds terrain.  The U of O happened to conveniently offer a spring study abroad program in Vancouver, BC… so I took the bait.

False Creek Panorama_2
Vancouver from below the Cambie street bridge.
Vancouver and Granville Island from across False Creek.

Apparently it was the right bait to get hooked to, as I was soon reeled out of the PNW and into one of the best powder days of my life.  I’ll put it this way: Whistler became an obsession.  It wasn’t long before I was introduced to a number of local skiers who were more than happy to be my Sacajawea and show me their ways.  We skied and explored terrain in and out of bounds at Blackcomb resort finding challenging chutes, faces, and lines I still dream about.

Whistler Backcountry
Whistler Blackcomb backcountry.
Whistler Peak
Launching off the waterfall cliffs at the base of Peak chair.

As spring days grew longer and the weather got nicer, new snow promptly morphed to mashed potatoes. Despite how grueling this was on cat tracks back to the chair, the steeps upheld their awesomeness, and were far less sketchy on sunny days.

Couloir Extreme: some of Blackcomb’s steepest inbounds terrain.
Enjoying the view before dropping in.

Ultimately, my experience skiing Whistler was littered with hoops, hollers and childish yelps of joy.  And believe it or not, skiing was only half the fun.  As an architecture student, living and studying in downtown Vancouver was one of the best experiences of my young adult life.  It is a superbly planned city with very accepting people from all over the world and is likely the most sustainable urban area in North America.  To top things off, Vancouver sits within a spectacular context beneath the foothills of the Coast Range.  I have to say, the accessibility to stunning backcountry terrain could be more appealing.

Did I forget to mention free healthcare?

If you are like me and aspire to be an adventurous bum, spend some time in BC, you won’t regret it.

Currie_Mtn Pendleton BC_1
Currie Mountain: Pemberton, BC
Duffey Lake Backcountry
Duffey Lake Backcountry
More of the Whistler Blackcomb backcountry.

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