Bowl skiing in Western Canada

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 1-7, 1997
Family hiking, fishing vacations
Nice, secluded canoe camping
Mount Cook climbing preparations
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Bowl skiing in Western Canada

Bowl skiing in Western Canada
Question: Where is the best place in Western Canada for great "bowl" skiing, tree skiing, and a mix of expert and intermediate runs?

Jerrold Wheeler
Charlotte, North Carolina
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: You asked for the best, so I'm giving you the best, no matter how obvious: Whistler/Blackcomb Resort. For the past five or more years, Whistler/Blackcomb has been voted the top ski resort in North America by every ski magazine in existence. Here's why: It has approximately 7,000 skiable acres, including 12 alpine bowls and three glaciers. It has 1,000 feet more vertical drop than any other resort in North America, and the most advanced high-speed lift system on the continent. The incredible diversity of the mountain will keep you steeped in trees, bowls, glades, bumps, couloirs, cornices, and glaciers for weeks.

When you're feeling like a hotshot at the end of your trip, take Blackcomb's Glacier Express to Ruby, Garnet, or Diamond Bowl, where you'll find a 2,500-foot vertical drop with a 25-degree pitch. The only disadvantage to this mega mountain is that it is at a relatively low elevation, 7,494 feet, which means you could get caught in the rain during a pre- or post-season trip. Tickets last year cost $39 for one mountain, $41 for two. Call Whistler at 604-932-3434 or Blackcomb at 604-932-3141.

If Whistler/Blackcomb's largesse is a turn-off, try Red Mountain. About one-tenth the size of Whistler/Blackcomb, Red Mountain's hometown feel is complemented by steep black-diamond chutes, and long tree-lined glades. The only thing it lacks is wide-open bowl skiing. With only five chairs and one surface lift, you won't be feeling like a cog in the ski-industry wheel. Tickets last year cost $27. For more information, call 800-663-0105.

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