This year, February is very warm and dry. Whistler is missing at least 1 meter of snow fall compare to February of last year. The snow condition of last few weeks is so bad that even a hardcore skier like me don’t want to go skiing. Finally, the weather is getting better and we got a 80cm of new snow this week, so we have to go skiing this weekend. The Sea-to-Sky highway is busier than usual this morning. The pit-stop, McDonald’s wash room, in Squamish has long line up. I bet many skiers are hungry for ski over the past few weeks just like me. When we arrived at the Creek side, I never seen the parking lot this full. I have to park at P3 instead my usual spot at P1 right next to the elevator.
The line to take the gondola up the mountain is quite long, we waited almost 20 minutes. I thought the mountain must be very busy today and estimated I could make only 6 runs, 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. To my surprise, when we are up in the mountain, the runs are empty and there is no line up on chair lift. The parking lot and the Creek side gondola is the only bottle neck. We end up ski 11 runs in a day. Fresh snow, sunny day, empty runs, what a perfect day for ski.
Judging form the lack of crowds on the mountain, Whistler’s business is pretty bad this year. It must suffer a lot from the financial melt down and lost most of the lucrative US skiers. Creek side is a smaller base compare to the Whistler Village. It’s free underground parking is a little secret of local folks who go to Whistler for day trip. The line up at the Creek side gondola are people like us, budget skiers who won’t spend anything other lift ticket and lunch on the mountain. For those who has the stocks of Intrawest, Whistler’s holding company, should look at this sign and sell the stock as soon as possible. I think Intrawest will have a huge loss this year.
Oh! Did I also mention they just open a brand new peak 2 peak gondola connection Whistler and Blackcomb? The gondola is a technical marvel, the longest suspension cable car in the world, but it’s a huge marketing flop. It suppose to cost $10 a ride for stand alone sight seeing ticket. I ride the gondola 3 times since it opened and I never have to line up. I don’t think they can ever recoup the investment of the gondola. It’s just another white elephant for the 2010 Winter Olympic.