K2inCanada's Blog

October 12, 2013

Visitors from Overseas – Part 4: Sea to Sky

Filed under: Canada, Germany, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 3:15 PM

Day 8 (Jun 26) we did a day trip to Whistler. Jeff had gotten this bad cold while on the island but hero as he was he still drove us around. We stopped in at Shannon Falls on the way up. The weather wasn’t the greatest – mostly cloudy and threatening to rain. But with all that rain, the falls were pretty full! I had almost forgotten how impressive they can be. Last time I stopped in here was 16 years ago when I first moved to Vancouver.

The weather didn’t improve as we got closer to Whistler. Nevertheless, we could see the top of Blackcomb – JUST – and decided to take the Peak-to-Peak gondola. This was after all my parent last chance before they had to go back home. Jeff decided to stay below and have a nap in the car instead. So up the three of us went in the Village Gondola to the top of Whistler Mountain trying to spot a bear on the ride up. But we only saw some deer on the now bare ski runs. Once at the top it was COLD, snow on the ground everywhere and a light rain had set in. But we quickly walked over to take the Peak-to-Peak Gondola. An engineering marvel, it holds the world record for the longest free span between ropeway towers—3.03 kilometres (1.88 miles) and highest point above the ground – 436 metres. It was build in 2007/2008 and cost $51M!!! So the ticket is not cheap… but affordable, especially when you get a seasons pass. But back to the trip. We waited for one of the few glass-bottom gondolas which gives you a completely new perspective of tree tops… I was originally hoping for bear sightings of course. By the time we started the ride across the clouds had completely rolled in and there was pretty much no views – except looking below. But seeing the cables disappear into nothingness and gondolas appear out of nowhere was pretty cool too….

We arrived at Blackcomb in clouds. And I should have taken my pour parents into the café at the top but instead I (in capital I) wanted to get to the highest point and see the glacier. That meant a short bus ride and another gondola ride up to Horstman Glacier. Except that this last gondola was an OPEN chair list. We weren’t really dressed for it but they gave us some plastic ponchos. So off we went for 20min through the fog and wind. Half way up the lift all sudden STOPPEN. No idea why. There we are, freezing and trying to joke about the situation; skiers skiing down the snowy slope below us… But eventually we made it and had a look at the glacier. It was miserable up there and I was surprised to see that many people ski. By now I did feel bad about dragging my parents up here … but I think they still enjoyed it because it was sooo different. Nevertheless, we had to take the same open chair lift down again (20min of more wind and cold and mist), ride the bus back to the Peak to Peak Gondola (at least they had the heat going full blast), ride the Peak to Peak back across to Whistler Mtn (another 20min) and from there another 35min down into Whistler Village.  Some adventure…

I can’t remember if we stopped for lunch or not on the drive home – I hope we did :-). We stopped at Porteau Cove – and I sure was dry by then. The weather had much improved closer we got to the coast and my parents got to see some nice vistas of Howe Sound.

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