My uncle, Ken Paynter, left eastern Canada long ago, following the call of the Great White West. After some time in Banff and Lake Louise, he settled down in Whistler, British Columbia. Well… perhaps “settled” isn’t the word… ending up in Whistler is far from settling.
I must admit, every time I visit, I can’t help but feel a little jealous. Forget the skiing for a second… the view alone is a reason to pick up stakes and head out west. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up every morning and look out the window to see the sun peeking out from behind the majestic Coastal Mountain range?
But the skiing…. my god, the skiing!
Those raised out west may have differing opinions of Whistler, compared to what they call “less commercialized” ski resorts. But I, for one, don’t really care. I’m an eastern boy, raised skiing in Quebec’s Laurentians mountains. While better than what Torontonians have to ski on, the Laurentians are nothing when it comes to true big-mountain skiing.
Up north, the Laurentians offer long lift lines, short runs, freezing-cold days, and conditions that range from (very) hard packed, to ice. Tremblant, the largest ski resort in the area, charges ticket rates equal to Whistler for what amounts to at best a third of the vertical and an even smaller fraction of the terrain.
That’s just comparing Whistler and Tremblant. Don’t forget, Blackcomb is right next to Whistler, and included in the price of the lift ticket. Oh yeah… and Blackcomb is even higher than Whistler.
About this time every year I start getting The Itch. Perhaps it has to do with end of the university and CEGEP rugby seasons. Perhaps it is the smell of my never-completely-dry hockey gear. Or maybe even its that smell on the cool fall breeze which makes everyone think of snow.
To scratch The Itch I typically find myself cruising the net, checking out skiing videos by the dozens. This year has been no exception, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find two superb offerings from Matchstick Productions and Warren Miller.
I’ve linked both movie trailers below, for your viewing pleasure. Both are available in high definition, and I strongly recommend viewing them both in HD and full-screen.
Attack of La Niña
. . . Like There’s No Tomorrow
As is typical of scratching an itch, however, it only gets worse. I’ve gotta get out west this year. I’ve gotta find me some un-tracked POW.
The “Steep and Deep” is calling, and I’ve got to answer!