Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT - STORY BY STEVE FISHER

Learn­ing Fa­cil­ity Im­prove­ments

Whistler and Black­comb are mas­sive moun­tains, but don’t let their size or rocky alpine re­gions in­tim­i­date you. Within the re­sort’s 8,000+ acres of ski­able ter­rain there are plenty of be­gin­ner-friendly zones. This year Whistler Black­comb ( WB) has fo­cused its ef­forts on ac­com­mo­dat­ing new skiers and snow­board­ers by in­vest­ing $2.4 mil­lion to im­prove the moun­tains’ learn­ing ar­eas. This past sum­mer, Whistler Moun­tain’s Olympic learn­ing area re­ceived a com­plete re-vamp in­clud­ing new car­pet lifts and a mas­sive amount of earth­work. The Fan­tas­tic ski run was not only widened, but a large rock bench was also re­moved and the ma­te­rial was used to fill in the op­po­site side of the run. As Adam Fran­cis, WB’s moun­tain man­ager, ex­plains, lev­el­ling the slope makes it eas­ier to ski. “It’s to square it up, if you will … a be­gin­ner, they don’t have the abil­ity to turn that well so the fall line pulls them wher­ever,” Fran­cis says. With no short­age of new skiers and snow­board­ers in the Olympic learn­ing area, Whistler Black­comb has added more be­gin­ner-friendly magic car­pet lifts. As Fran­cis ex­plained, new skiers and rid­ers can now fol­low a four-lift pro­gres­sion: Start on the short car­pet and work your way through longer and steeper runs on the fol­low­ing three car­pets. Af­ter that, you’re ready for the chair­lifts! The groomers at WB have also cre­ated a few new ter­rain-based fea­tures to help build fun­da­men­tal snow skills. One new fea­ture is sim­ply a gen­tle dip in the snow that begin­ners can slide through to help learn how to main­tain front-to-back bal­ance. An­other new ad­di­tion is a U-shaped snow­bank that skiers slide up, and then turn around on.

The bank helps steer the skis and ac­cel­er­ates the process of learn­ing proper turns. Whether you’re a pro or it’s your first day, ev­ery­one needs good snow to slide on! To en­sure early open­ing of th­ese zones and as­sist with main­tain­ing ideal con­di­tions through­out the sea­son, Whistler Black­comb has added 32 new low-en­ergy snow guns to the Olympic learn­ing area and 13 more to the Magic Chair learn­ing area on Black­comb. While Whistler and Black­comb moun­tains are fa­mous for their high­level ter­rain, their wide va­ri­ety of slopes also pro­vides a great place to learn ski­ing or snow­board­ing from day one. “This new in­vest­ment pro­vides an in­creased foot­print of be­gin­ner ter­rain, con­tains var­i­ous slope an­gles and re­ally al­lows for a pro­gres­sive pat­tern,” Fran­cis says. With plenty of mel­low runs and ad­vanced learn­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Whistler Black­comb isn’t just a place where skiers’ and snow­board­ers’ dreams cul­mi­nate. It can be where they start, too.





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