I went up to Whistler with James after he had recently made an (almost) succesful attempt at doing every running lift at Vail in a day, accidently missing only one beginner chair, and he thought we could do the same thing at Whistler Blackcomb.

Some considerations we took were:

  • The lift’s open and close times.
  • Typical lift line locations in the morning versus afternoon.
  • Waiting until after the time change so the lifts run longer.
  • The chance of alpine closures due to current conditions.
    • Note that the Glacier T-bar doesn’t run as often, partly due to the receding glacier, and that Franz’s Chair is typically only ran when the alpine is closed, in order to help reduce the lift demand.
  • Weekdays and non-optimal conditions are going to provide shorter lines.

Note: Since Franz’s Chair is supposedly only open when the alpine lifts are closed, it is worth researching if there is ever a short window where it is possible to do both Franz’s Chair after it opens and all the alpine lifts, including Glacier T-bar, before they close. Thus making is possible to get all 23 lifts.

Whistler Mountain

We were able to start loading at 8:15am on the Fritz Simmons Express [1] then right to Garbanzo Express [2], before the short ski down to Emerald Express via Lower Whiskey Jack (green).

Next, we took Emerald Express [3] up, and after reading the lift status, realized we made a mistake and that Peak Express wasn’t going to run until 9:30am, in another 40 minutes. We were hoping to earn “style points” by working in the longest runs, from top to bottom, on both the Whistler and Blackcomb sides, so we gave up on the Whistler side to ensure we had enough time. In hindsight, we could have done Olympic Chair and Whistler Village Gondola next giving Peak Express time to open, thus being able to do the full Peak to Creek.

From there, we skied down via Lower Pony Trail (green) to Little Red Run (blue) to Upper Franz’s (blue) to Highway 86 (blue) to Upper Pony Trail (green) to Upper Expressway (green) to Fallaway Bypass (green) to Lower Dave Murray Downhill (black). Given the Spring like conditions, the lower down we got the icier the conditions were, making it clear we were operating on principle instead of logic.

From the base, we took Creekside Gondola [4] then continued up via Big Red Express [5], and on the ride learned that the Blackcomb Gondola had shut down the day before due to a failure and was under maintenance this morning. We decided to save that one for the end to ensure it had time to get fixed and continued on by taking the short connector to Peak Express.

From Peak Express [6], we took Matthews’ Traverse (green) to The Saddle (black).

Bringing us back to the Whistler T-bar [7] so that we could ski down via Pika’s Traverse (green) to Harmony Piste (blue) to G.S. (blue).

From there, we took the Harmony Chairlift [8], and skied down via Upper Burnt Stew Trail (green) to Jeff’s Ode to Joy (blue) to Adiago (blue).

Followed by the Symphony Express [9], and skiing down via Jeff’s Ode to Joy (blue) to Burnt Stew Trail (green) to Harmony Ridge (blue) to Sidewinder (green) to Upper Olympic (green) to Upper Fantastic (green). Upper Fantastic is a beginner area so we took it slow and I did some carving drills to fit in.

Which lead us to the Olympic Chair [10], a slow fixed chair for beginners, before we skied down via It Happens (green) to Lower Olympic (green) to Lower Fantastic (blue) and back on to Lower Olympic (green).

To finish off the Whistler side, we took the Whistler Village Gondola [11] and decided we were making such good time that we would take the time to stop and get a burger at Roundhouse for some extra “style points”.

Blackcomb Mountain

Once we finished, we took Peak 2 Peak Gondola [12] over to the Blackcomb side and skied down Wishbone (blue) to Jersey Cream (blue).

Then took Glacier Express [13] to ski down via Upper Ridge Runner (blue) to Rock & Roll (blue) to Backstage Pass (blue) to Blackcomb Glacier Road (blue).

Working over to Crystal Ridge Express [14], so we could Ski down via Lower Ridge Runner (blue) to Blackcomb Glacier Road (blue).

And take the Excelerator Express [15], with a short ski down Wishbone (blue).

Then up Jersey Cream Express [16] to ski down Catskinner (black) to Upper Easy Out (green).

And Catskinner Express [17] with a ski across Expressway (green) towards 7th Heaven Express.

While in line for 7th Heaven Express [18], we decided to get a bonus ski run down Everglades (black) through the trees back down to 7th Heaven, ideally we would have timed this run a little earlier as the snow had started turning to mashed potatoes. We waited in line about 20 minutes, as they had to skip loading every forth chair due to the engines overheating, which ended up being our only real wait of the day. After we took 7th Heaven Express the second time, we skied down via Upper Greenline (green) to Upper Springboard (blue) to Stoker (blue) to Grub Stake (blue) to Greenline (green) to Village Run (green).

We then rode Excalibur Gondola [19] and skied down Green line (green) to Yellow Brick Road (green).

After a “quick” ride on Magic Chair [20], another slow fixed lift for beginners, we skied down Merlin’s (blue).

Bringing us to the final lift, the Blackcomb Gondola [21]. We opted to stop for a victory hot chocolate at the top versus getting more bonus laps in for extra “style points”. We hit over 36k feet, but 40k and more is possible for those seeking a vert challenge as well.

Conclusion

All in all, it was the perfect activity for a weekday and we likely would have had to ride groomers most of the day reguardless. We learned that there is no need to rush, as long as you just stay moving. I’d be interested to see what approaches other people take and what “style points” they can come up with.

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