Highs and Lows at Whistler Blackcomb

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SAM Magazine-Whistler, B.C., June 6, 2005-Whistler Blackcomb closed June 5 after a season of record-breaking highs and lows.

Heavy snowfall through the latter half of March and early April delivered exceptional conditions that lasted well into the spring, and set the base for summer glacier skiing and riding. The resort had its share of weather challenges this year, though, with a low early season snowfall, followed by record rains in mid-January.

More than 10 feet of snow in March and April raised Whistler Blackcomb's total snowfall for the winter season to 270 inches, nearly 70 percent of normal. In a fitting April Fools joke, Mother Nature dropped 17 inches of fresh pow. The spring snows came too late to offset the worst mid-winter weather of the past 30 years; worst of all was the eight inches of rain that nearly drowned the resort during late January. The lack of snowfall before March forced the areas to use 180 million gallons of water for snowmaking, a single-season record.

Before the rains came, though, Whistler hosted record numbers of Christmas visitors. And after the rains, the resort introduced 3,000 beginners to skiing and riding in one remarkable learn-to week.

For next season, Whistler Blackcomb will look for help from the snow gods. Literally. Most years, employees build an early-season bonfire of old skis and snowboards to honor Ullr, the Nordic god of the alpine. Alas, they abandoned the rite last fall. Duly humbled, the town plans to stage the best Ullr party ever next November. \