Rain, rain go away
While North America’s Number One ski resort anxiously awaits the coming of the winter of 1995-96, the rain keeps coming down.
Typically, the American Thanksgiving has officially opened the ski season in Whistler, but this year the only thing to give thanks for is waterproof clothes and a faint hope that the snow has to come sooner or later.
Some employees have been laid off because of the lack of snow and everyone who is working has been peering longingly through the drizzle in search of a snowflake.
Blackcomb Mountain rushed to make snow and throw open the queues on Nov. 4 — their earliest opening ever — and then the rain came.
As of Pique press time Wednesday, Whistler Mountain did not have a sufficient base to support skiing in the alpine and Blackcomb was pumping water out of their fleet of 48 snow guns in hopes the freezing level would drop down far enough to make snow.
"There will be plenty for people to do on Whistler Mountain, but we would definitely like to have a whole pile of snow so we wouldn’t have to find other things to do," says Alicia Vennos, Whistler Mountain’s marketing manager.
Blackcomb opened yesterday with a limited number of lifts and trails accessible to mountain sliders. According to Mountain Manager Arthur DeJong, skiers can make some turns on the Blackcomb Glacier and the trail to the Rendezvous will be open. As well, Choker, Wishbone and a portion of Springboard will be open on man made snow.
Avalanche forecasters on both mountains are predicting cooler temperatures with rain turning to snow this weekend as a cool, north-westerly front blows into the region.
"There is going to be so much sub-tropical air hitting Whistler this winter I say lets get it out of the way as early as possible," DeJong says. "Rain early in the season is part of the scene here, but no one likes it in the middle of the winter."
Across North America, the picture is almost as bleak — save for a glimmer of hope in the Eastern Rockies where record early season dumps are hitting Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Banff.