Blackcomb reopens areas with more stable snowpack 

Still potential for large slides, but changing to summer conditions

Since Blackcomb Ski Patrol made a decision during the May long weekend to close most of the alpine due to the elevated slide risk, much of the mountain has been reopened as the spring operations head into their final week.

The south side of 7 th Heaven was reopened on May 22, although the Lakeside area remained closed for safety reasons. The Glacier Express chair, and the Horstman and Showcase T-bars also remained closed through this week due to avalanche risks, but were scheduled to close anyway on May 27 to allow groomers to build terrain for summer glacier camps and public skiing.

The Crystal Chair was still running, with groomers working hard to keep the ski-out open as long as possible. According to Blackcomb Avalanche Forecaster Tony Sittlinger the snow is going fast, and the decisions are being made day to day.

The Jersey Cream chair reopened on May 27, allowing access to the terrain park through the last day of the spring season on June 8. Summer glacier skiing starts on June 9.

While the level of risk has dropped, Sittlinger is asking people to obey the closures and use extreme caution in the backcountry — and to avoid the backcountry if possible.

“Is it possible for more deep activity to occur? Yes,” said Sittlinger.

“Is it going to continue with the frequency that we saw last week? No, the snowpack has already slowed, but that doesn’t mean that it’s stable. It’s slowly turning into summer snow, getting thinner and breaking up.

“In the backcountry we’re seeing additional terrain hazards like crevasses, snow bridges over the crevasses, Bergshrunds (gaps created where the glacier pulls away from the mountain), and other hazards that present themselves when the snow melts in the summer.”

Summer glacier passes are $235 for season passholders, and day tickets range from $52 for adults to $27 for children aged 7-12.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Whistler

More by Andrew Mitchell

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation