Ashley McMillan: La Nina it is then!

So the forecasts, (take your pick of them) show nothing but snow, snow and more snow this coming week.

In fact, bearing in mind that we’re only into early December, this week’s forecast is pretty amazing – over one meter of the heavenly white stuff, depending on which forecast. Should keep must locals and visitors alike happy for a few good turns at least!

This of course means that there is much work to be done at the lower village or valley level. Roads must be continually ploughed and cleared at the moment. I’m having to sporadically clear the huge snowfall dumps (both the new falling snow and the dumps from the roof as the snow-pack gets too heavy) off of our patio and a path down to the road – an escape route if you like!

Of course, it’s finally warmed a little at the valley level, so some of the snow has turned to sloppy slush and it’s impossible to walk anywhere just outside of the main pedestrian village stroll without stumbling across big waterlogged streets and huge puddles. This then may well make you wonder why some gals still continue to insist on wearing their ‘Ugg’ boots. Yes, you know who you are. Not even so much as a smattering of anything about them that suggests they’re any good whatsoever in any kind of damp weather, then they get thoroughly soaked and then retain that lovely ‘stained’ look about them when they finally dry- Why guys? Why? As for any guys wearing out there, yes you Aussies…what’s that all about anyways?

It’s always kind of funny to see the ‘newbies; around town at this time of year. There’s something about the new guys in town that you simply got to admire though. They all share that same enthusiasm that brought us all here in the first place. Many of these guys will have been in the original line up on day one. Many will have been beating themselves up on the hill most every day since the mountain opened, some now carrying their broken equipment and some carrying their broken limbs – already, like a badge of honour. It’ll be a shame that some of these guys have already ruined themselves for the rest of the season. It is perhaps a little surprising that for a few individuals into town for this winter season, that they have barely ever even seen snow up close before and for others, this will be the first time they’ve even strapped on a board or a pair of skis. It’s a long way to come to experience something you’ve absolutely no idea how you’ll take to!

The enthusiasm of some of these new guys is great though. It can even be a tad infectious to a seasoned ‘local’ now like myself. They’re simply lapping up all the experiences that Whistler has to offer and why shouldn’t they experience everything that life and Whistler has to offer while you can! These guys are the ones who are in a constant state of euphoria. Always enthused to pass on their goodwill to passers by and visitors that come to their bar, cash desk, mountain lift or wherever they while their hours away waiting for the next time they get to go ‘shred’.

The town positively thrives on the number of its extremely transient society as each ‘changing of the guard’ brings new smiles, new ideas and renewed passion to all that is already great across our resort. With every tranche of new blood in town there is a new lease of life breathed into its foundations. These guys are good for us…even with their oddly chosen choice of footwear…!

So in amongst the continual ‘dumpings’ from the local snow gods, no doubt relatives of the so far great ‘La Nina’, those in town are revelling in the sheer volume of heavenly white stuff for them to play in. Sure, its still early season conditions up there and people will still find the rocks and the trees just under some of the surfaces, but the mountains are getting just that little bit more epic with every passing hand of the 24 hour clock. We’re going to be looking at over 3.5 meters of snowfall by this weekend so far this early season and although perhaps not actually setting records, its definitely a great base to carve out a few great turns, chop some powder and in all actuality…take a few good hard ‘bails’!

We’ve pretty much got the hills to ourselves for now. This’ll change as the hoards of festive travellers swamp us over the Xmas and New Year weeks. They’ll be here to experience all that Whistler can throw at them. Many will be looking for that ‘Disneyland’ white Xmas that exists in their ‘ideals’, looking for sleigh rides, great Xmas day entertainment and dinners, beautiful lights everywhere at nighttimes reflecting off the snowfall (think winter wonderland images). Some of these holiday season visitors will certainly have money to burn, hard earned I’m sure, but they won’t have to think twice about the fees being asked to partake in the local activities. By the time Mr & Mrs Smith from Australia have arrived for their near 3 week stay, booked ski lessons, rented all their equipment, snowmobile rides, different restaurants, etc, etc, some may well have ‘invested’ several thousands of dollars in the pursuit of family happiness. Well I hope they all find what they’re looking for and take away memories that last them a lifetime.

As for myself, all I really want for Xmas (in case any of you were wondering about this…), is to be able to rid myself of this problem knee from my IT Band issues, cease visiting the physios, x-ray clinic, acupuncture needles and commence some hard training in pursuit of my running prowess. Anyone know any magic cures…??