While downhill enthusiasts relished in the fresh powder that covered Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains’ peaks last week, the heavy snowfall proved just as valuable south of the Village.
Ski Callaghan in Whistler Olympic Park also opened for the season on Thursday (Nov. 24), with nearly five kilometres of trails open for cross-country skiing.
The ability to open these freshly snow-covered trails was a pleasant surprise for the Whistler Sport Legacies-run venue, which had originally planned to start out the Nordic season with only an 800-metre loop created from last winter’s stored snow.
“(Last week’s snowfall) allowed us to jump on it that day and that night and open up some trails that weren’t available two days before,” said Tim Hope, managing director of Whistler Olympic Park. “We’re off to a great start now.”
It was an exciting day for the Ski Callaghan passholders who showed up ready to hit the snow for the first time this season on what Hope called “a beautiful winter day.”
“The trails were covered completely and it was snowing like crazy, so it was a really good skiing day from that side of things, but we were able to get people on snow and get skis on the trails,” he said. “Everyone’s really excited at the beginning of the season to get on snow and get up there.”
While snow levels for opening day have been significantly higher in past years — last year’s opening day saw over 24 km of trails available to ski — Hope said he can’t remember a more perfectly timed dumping than last week’s.
“The snowfall that we did see is a typical snow event here, however the timing of it was ideal in terms of it showing up a day or two before we had planned our opening day,” he explained. “From that side of things, I think from my time here, it’s pretty unprecedented… Right now it’s really just allowed us to provide a product for our users.”
With a lodge elevation snow height of approximately 60 cm recorded on Friday (Nov. 28), Ski Callaghan was also able to open a series of snowshoeing trails, as well as their four-to-five-lane tobogganing slope over the weekend.
When all trails are opened, Ski Callaghan will have over 50 km of trails available for use.
For those looking to try something new, Ski Callaghan facilitates rentals and lessons for both classic and skate skiing, including a weekly Wednesday night specials where both trail access and rentals are on offer for $5.
“I think if people are snow enthusiasts, it’s a wonderful sport to get out and try,” said Hope. “We try to do our best to make it accessible for everyone… My suggestion would get out there and try classic first, given the snow and current trail conditions. It’s a wonderful way to get out there and ski among snow-covered trees and trails. It’s a great experience and a very accessible sport for everyone.”
For more information about Ski Callaghan and Whistler Olympic Park, go to whistlersportlegacies.com.