Sunny days… oh sunny, sunny, sunny days… As the winter that wasn’t continues, mother nature has managed to brighten our spirits by providing the residents of the Sea-to- Sky corridor some unseasonably warm temperatures and bright sunshine presenting the perfect opportunity to hit the Whistler Blackcomb side country.
One gondola, two chairlifts, a T bar, a short hike and a traverse later, our group has arrived at the gates of Garibaldi provincial park with our sites set on the ninth hole from the summit of Mount Decker. Sitting at 2,421m above sea level, this flat top mountain provides seemingly endless descents for skiers of all ability. Roughly a two hour ascent from the park boundary, backcountry enthusiasts will travel through glaciers, moraines and even come across ice caves along the way to the summit.
Once the summit has been reached there are various routes to choose for the descent. Three of the most popular routes are the finger chutes (most difficult), the ninth hole and the main chute. Each route presents a variety of hazards including cornices, wind loaded slopes, exposure and of course snow stability.
After assessing the options at the top, our group chose to ski the ninth hole as it was in the shade and had a relatively easy entrance. With some surface hoar powder on top and spring like conditions at the bottom, smiles were beaming all around.