Large Downhill at Blackcomb Glacier（Whistler Resort、Canada）
Hi, this is Fe@NJ, who has passed Second Grade of Timetable Test in Japan.
It is the special edition of “The Overseas Travel Enriching our Life” series, my adventure of skiing down at Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler Resort.
The resort is located approximately 80 miles/130 km north of Vancouver, a major city in western Canada, has become famous as a venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Following last year, we went there in February this year.
(1) In the early morning, I met with the mountain guide at base (Whistler Village) (altitude: 2,215ft/675m), and was trained in the intermediate runs (■ More Difficult) in the middle of Blackcomb Mountain.
(2) We hiked up by the chairs to the shoulder, just below the summit of Blackcomb Mountain (altitude: 8,000ft/2,440m), and then we reached Blackcomb Glacier Entrance. As it is a cliff from here to the glacier, we traversed along the footsteps on the slope of the upper edge of glacier, and travelled about 110yd. The glacier follows the lower right of the image.
The temperature is around 5°F/-15°C, which means the great powder snow therein!
Look over the shoulder from the traverse route. The glacier continues in the lower right direction.
The place labeled “Route” is Blackcomb Glacier Entrance, where we started to walk to here.
(3) Where the slope to the glacier became loose (still around forty degrees), I wore the equipment and decided to start. Since my skill was not enough to perform schuss boom or parallel turn, I carefully traversed down the slope at low speed.
Fortunately, there were neither frozen areas nor large bumps on the route.
(4) I think it would be impossible to control if fall, because it is an extremely steep slope of uneven deep snow.
According to the mountain atlas, it is an intermediate trail (■ More Difficult) or an advanced trail (◆ Most Difficult), nevertheless, continuous tension for me!
Also, as it is the alpine area, the air is thin and my breathing becomes rough!
(5) I worked a stem turn on a small moraine (glacier terrace) and slide down to the other side. Thus, I repeated this method several times.
(6) We visited a prominent ice cave in the middle of the glacier.
(7) The glacier blue gives off a mysterious atmosphere.
(8) According to the guide, the ice cave may collapse suddenly within a few weeks due to the weight of new snow.
(9) Whereas the topographic feature eroded by glacier is called “bowl”, their tops are steep but gradually becoming more easier from the middle to the bottom. After entering Glacier Road（intermediate, ■ More Difficult）, I felt relieved that the snow had been groomed.
(10) It is a long run of about 6 mi/11km from Blackcomb Glacier Entrance to the base. I enjoyed the half-day with not only thrills on a steep slope, but also the wonderful extraordinary experiences and the spectacular scenery.
Today’s difference in elevation is about one mile/1,600m, which corresponds to the altitude difference between Kamikochi area and the summit of Mt. Hotaka (Hotaka-dake), seen from there, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
The following is the checklist of myself, Lever 4 (maybe), for the glacier downhill:
Preparation in advance
□ practice traverse down and stem turn on ungroomed and steep slope before the tour.
□ to cultivate physical strength and endurance
□ sufficient protection against cold
□ helmet, anti-fog goggle, protector
□ to take out accident insurance
On the day:
□ physical condition must be good; no jetlag left
□ weather and visibility must be good (dangerous if whiteout)
(11) Whistler Resort is another world. I’d be waiting for next year’s trip to Whistler again.
It is a magnificent view from the end point of 7th Heaven Express (altitude: 7,494ft/2,284m), a quad high-speed chair leading to the top area of Blackcomb Mountain.
You can find Green Line（beginner, ● Easiest） which is extremely wide along the chair.
(12)《EXTRA》To all Pokémon Trainers
I won the first overseas gold gym badge at Little Whistler during the stay.
Why do not you try planning a spirit in Whistler♪
Thank you and see you next time♪♪
Whistler Resort, Canada, in May（Part 1）