Whistler just capped off one of the snowiest months in recent history.
With over 400cm of the good stuff falling in the month of January alone, the base and snowpack have finally caught up to historical averages. So far, over 670cm or 265 inches of snow has fallen in the 2019/2020 season.
Although the snowfall totals are catching up to a typical season in the Coast Mountains, this winter has been anything but typical. Last week almost 100mm of precipitation fell in the Sea to Sky Corridor with rain reaching up to approximately 2000 meters. Most of the mountain has been decimated by rain crust but a very small portion above 2000 meters remains unaffected.
Unfortunately, particularly spicy avalanche conditions mean the upper alpine terrain still exists in a highly precarious state right now. This year’s challenging snowpack has affected everyone from backcountry users to resort skiers.
Even with challenging conditions, if you are willing to go find it, there is good snow to be had!
We spent our morning lapping top to bottom runs from the top of the Crystal Chair. Starting at 1827 meters in elevation all the way down to the base at 675 meters elevation was quite the leg burner. The mid-mountain was icy but below 1000 meters had some fun turns under the snowguns!
After that, we decided it was time to get into the alpine. When 7th Heaven Chairlift cracked, we headed straight over to see what we could find up high. Rumors of massive avalanche debris in Saudan Couloir and a horde of skiers at the drop-in made us re-evaluate to a chute near secret bowl.
The snow was firm and chalky but it skied well. It was clear on the bottom half our descent we were skiing the bed surface of a recent slab avalanche bombed by ski patrol.
After chatting with Patrol and making sure to obey all signage, we were lucky to have access into this zone.
After a few more laps to the bottom and we decided it was time to hike the Chimney. Our last lap of the day we scored untouched, boot deep pow. Everyone was surprised and stoked at how well it skied.
Skiers on the Coast are looking forward to a reset soon but for everyone that skied hard in January, there was a lot of snow to be had.