Mike Douglas shows what it takes crews to prepare Whistler Mountain for the season!
For skiers and snowboarders, opening day is one of the most anticipated and exciting events of the year. Weeks before resorts even announce plans to open their doors, eager enthusiasts begin checking snow reports, ordering new gear, and generally preparing for the upcoming season. But what does it take for a resort to prepare for the new season? Much more work than you may think.
In the second episode of Embedded, Mike Douglas continues his journey to document the inside story behind what it takes crews to open the Whistler Blackcomb ski area for the 2011-2012 season. Douglas gets the inside story on what to expect from La Nina this season and speaks with veteran Whistler avalanche forecaster, Anton Horvath, about the extensive avalanche control work that goes in to preparing the mountain. Afterwards, Douglas records his first powdery turns and confidently declares, “ski season is ready.”
Embedded is a six episode web series filmed by Douglas as he lives solo in the patrol shack atop the iconic Peak Chair at 7,160 feet on Whistler Mountain. Armed only with his computer, his camera and a sleeping bag, Douglas – known by many as the “Godfather of Freeskiing” – documents the resorts transition to winter over six days and six nights.
The final product will be a series of short videos that bring to life the behind the scenes work that goes into opening a world-class ski area. Douglas will be EMBEDDED with Whistler Blackcomb snowmakers, groomers, patrollers, and lift operations teams as they mobilize in preparation for Friday’s early opening.
“Good things seem to come to those who wait. As the snow falls on Whistler Blackcomb, we all want to be up there as soon as possible, which is an exercise in patience,” says Douglas, co-founder of award winning film crew Switchback Entertainment. “After a long wait, I’ve finally made it up Whistler Mountain and it’s so good! The morning views have been spectacular and there is lots of snow up here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
With a snow base of more than 20 inches at Pig Alley, Douglas could be in for a few exclusive ski laps with patrol as they prep the mountain to safely open for the public. There will be no general public access to the alpine terrain on November 18, as early season conditions still apply.
As much as 14 inches of snow is expected by Friday and Douglas could experience one of the raging storms that frequent the Peak of Whistler Mountain each winter; frequently clocking winds of more than 60 miles per hour.
The EMBEDDED story has only begun. Check out the first two days of Mike’s journey here and tune in daily for new episodes!
Episode 1: Patience
Photos by Paul Morrison