harmony 

Little Whistler Peak hike a thing of the past Davey Jones can remember hiking up Little Whistler peak in order to access fresh, untracked powder many times over the past 28 years. Yesterday Jones, 79-years-young, got a ride up Little Whistler Peak on the new $6 million Harmony Express quad chair at the official opening of Whistler's newest lift. "We used to ride up the T-bar and walk up the side of Little Whistler, it's only about a 25 minute walk and then it was all open, lovely country," says Jones a retired Vancouver neurologist who has been skiing Whistler since the day it opened. The new lift opens up 1,200 acres of skiing in Harmony Bowl and gives access to Sun Bowl, Symphony Bowl and Glacier Bowl. On hand to celebrate the opening of the new lift was a four-member a cappella band called the Four Tunes. The name of the Harmony Express comes from the nearby peaks named Flute, Piccolo and Oboe. Jones, who now makes his home in Whistler, was joined at the official opening ceremonies by local dignitaries, mountain officials and Diamond Jim McConkey. A new run in Harmony Bowl has been named in honour of McConkey. McConkey was the second director of the Whistler Mountain Ski School, and the new run, with it's challenging terrain and steep pitches is as diverse as Diamond Jim himself. David Perry, Whistler Mountain's marketing director, says the names Davey Jones and Jim McConkey are synonymous with Whistler Mountain skiing and it was an honour to have them on hand for the opening. "Not since the installation of the Peak Chair in 1986 has a lift actually opened up so much new terrain," says Perry. In conjunction with the opening of the new lift, Whistler Mountain has done some major trail work in the area. The biggest change has been to The Saddle, the entrance to the Glacier Bowl, which was lowered 16.5 metres. In three weeks this fall work crews moved 8,000 cubic metres of material into the opening, rounding off the entrance and transforming it from an extreme skier's chute into an intermediate ramp. The work was done mostly with excavators and bulldozers - sometimes tethered to one another so they didn't roll down the mountain. Pika's Traverse, a new novice route cut along the back of the Camel Humps, leads from Little Whistler back to Pika's. Harmony Ridge, which separates Harmony Bowl from Symphony Bowl, has a variety of terrain and feeds a number of other runs, including McConkey's. The G.S. run has also been re-contoured to a constant grade of about 42 per cent. Off-season improvements were also made to the Peak off load. The traverse behind The Cirque and The Couloir is now graded so that a boarder or skier can glide from the Peak Chair right to The Saddle.

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