A tale of two mornings — early season extremes at Whistler Blackcomb 

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And furthermore...

But I'm getting carried away. Again. Still, I'm sure you all get the idea.

As for our first day on the hill, it was much better than I'd anticipated. Don't get me wrong. I've never seen so little snow at this time of the year — well, maybe the winter of '78. Regardless, venturing anywhere off-piste on Saturday was an exercise in stupidity. But on-piste was a whole different thing. Mountain Manager Doug Mac and his troupe of merry pranksters had performed some serious magic with their snow-hoses and grooming-machines. Our first two runs of the year were utterly sinful. Kind of like snarfing your grandmother's expensive chocolate bonbons when she's not watching. De-lis-cious...

But I'll be honest with you. The weather was foul. For one thing, the storm gods couldn't decide whether it was raining or snowing. The freezing level was all over the place. Which made for very soggy chair-riding. And it didn't matter how expensive or exotic your Goretex was — that inimitable wet diaper feeling came on pretty fast. As for the wind, forget about it. It was just plain nasty. And by mid-day, I'd had enough.

Still, I was happy to have done it. Another Opening Day at Whistler. Another successful start to the season.

What a difference a day makes. I woke up Sunday morning to a window-full of snowflakes and a text message on my phone. "C u at Creekside, 7:45." Really?

I mean, why? It's not like conditions would have radically changed overnight. We'd still be stuck on groomers. Besides, the Murakami still beckoned. I hesitated for a second. To ski or not to ski? But really, how could I refuse? It was snowing in the valley. The mountain was under a veil of white. Did I really want to stay in bed while my buddies ate up first tracks? No way. Might as well go up for a few runs, get the legs back into the skiing swing of things — even if it was only on groomers — make some turns with the gang. You know, make a social day of it...

I love Whistler. I love the fact that you can go up the mountain one day, and see nothing but rocks and stumps and twigs and exposed creekbeds, and return the next... to a vastly different scenario. Such was the case last weekend. It was almost like time-lapse photography. Only it happened in 24 hours. One day there was less than no snow. The next, everything was white. As I wrote on my Facebook site: "from hell to heaven in just one day!"

I know. You're sceptical. I would be too if I hadn't lived it myself. And no, it wasn't absolutely epic. But it sure was fun. And again, it was Whistler's special geography that made it happen. As usual, the goofy mix of rain and snow the day before had laid down a thick, frozen carpet of white for the new storm snow to fall on. The result? Anything above mid-station that was summer-groomed — and even a lot that wasn't — was now passable for the bold-at-heart. And with 20-30 centimetres of storm freshies to ski through, well, it suddenly felt like we were back where we should be. Right in the Whistler swing of things.

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