Season Starter: Whistler-Blackcomb Delivers Early Turns

On the day after Thanksgiving, it was raining in the village at Whistler and didn’t look all that promising.

But the village (at 2,200 feet) is one thing and the upper mountain is another.

At the top of the Whistler Gondola (6,000 feet), it was stormy and looked a lot like winter. Great coverage made for a fantastic early start to ski season during a trip to Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia.

The SkiZer hit it for two days over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend while the other Americans watched football at the bar. It was stormy, pretty foggy at times, but hey, it was skiing in November. You gotta love that!

Days 1 & 2

  • Vertical: 30,000 feet
Fitzsimmons Creek roars through the lower mountain at Whistler-Blackcomb
Blue skies peeked out for a moment at the base of the Whistler Village Gondola.
SkiZer gets some turns off the Crystal Ridge Express chairlift at Blackcomb.
Skiers unload on the Big Red Express at Whistler.
Fresh pow off the Jersey Cream lift at Blackcomb.
Stormy weather shuts down the Peak to Peak Tram
The Peak to Peak Tram takes 11 minutes and shuttles skiers between the two mountains.
Skiers enjoy a rare view of blue skies from the Longhorn Bar at the base of Whistler.


Hot on the Trail of Lewis and Clark

When you follow the trail of explorers, you might as well follow the best.

SkiZer recently got the chance to hit the road from Clarkston to Cape Disappointment, hot on the trail of Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery.

Well, not exactly hot on their trail. The explorers, you’ll remember, traveled across Washington state in 1805 at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, who wanted them to find some kind of cross-continent waterway. After leaving Missouri in May of 1804, the Corps spent 18 months traveling more than 4,000 miles over unknown mountain ranges and running rapids on unknown rivers.

When they hit Washington state, they were in a hurry to get to the coast. Winter was about to close in and they hoped to reach the mouth of the Columbia before they were trapped in snow and ice.

The only problem was negotiating the rapids on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Their journal accounts are filled with harrowing adventures on the difficult waterways.

Today, their route remains fascinating and wild in many places. SkiZer camped and made like a Corps of Discovery member in their wake.

To follow their route offers a great opportunity to try to imagine what they saw with fresh eyes.

Looking down on the Palouse River in the Snake River Country.
A dawn visit to the Listening Circle at Chief Timothy Park near Clarkston.
A train travels over the Snake River on a high trestle.
SkiZer checks out a dugout canoe at Sacajawea State Park in Pasco. 
SkiZer walks the hills high above the Columbia near The Dalles, Ore.
The Stonehenge World War I Memorial at Maryhill.
Hiking at Beacon Rock State Park in the Columbia Gorge.
Finally — on the Pacific Coast at Cape Disappointment State Park.
Checking out “Clark’s Tree” on the Long Beach Peninsula.