Winter Wrap-up

It’s officially spring, and so it’s time for me to recap what I’ve been up to during the winter. My notable activities this winter mostly consisted of the holidays and skiing. Here is a video of me skiing at Park City Mountain, Utah. Read on for more highlights.

Winter is of course the holiday season. I spent Christmas and New Year back in Canada, but before that I attended a few Christmas-related activities in Seattle.

2019 Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
Went to the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition in Downtown Seattle to get into the holiday spirit
Lumaze Seattle
Went to Lumaze Seattle to see some Christmas light displays. The place was mostly geared towards family with kids, but there were some nice displays.

The Chinese Lunar New Year also took place during the winter. It was the most festive Chinese New Year I’ve had in years, since my family was joined by some of our relatives. Certainly helps that there are a lot of Chinese people and business around in Richmond.

Aberdeen Centre Chinese New Year
Aberdeen Centre in Richmond was all decked out in Chinese New Year decorations
Lion dance at dimsum
Was having dimsum with my family and a group of dancing lions barged in. Wasn’t expecting a lion dance but it was fun to see.

Since I’ve moved back to somewhere close to mountains that have snow in the winter, I decided to invest in skiing this season. I bought my own set of ski equipment, and also bought an Epic Local Pass for access to Vail’s network of ski resorts.

Whistler Blackcomb
Nice views from the top of Whistler Gondola
Whistler Roundhouse Lodge
At the Roundhouse Lodge at the top of Whistler Mountain Gondola. This is only 2/3 way up the mountain. Can see by all the skis that it was a busy ski day

My first use of the season pass was going to Whistler-Blackcomb. I’ve been to Whistler in the summer, but I have not skied there before. I went there early in the ski season, so the snow wasn’t great and the ski area was only around 30% open. The weather was beautiful though, and Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, so even 30% is still quite a bit of ski-able area. The gondola ride up Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain take 25 minutes and only go up 2/3 of the way to the top of each mountain. It’s definitely a huge ski area and I definitely plan to go back there when it’s fully open. For this trip, I took my time to check out the scenery didn’t do a lot of run. Also, I had new ski boots and I was breaking them in, so I didn’t want to go too hard.

Whistler Village fireworks
Was walking around Whistler Village and saw a small fireworks display
Whistler Village Olympic Plaza
Whistler was the site of a number of events for the 2010 Winter Olympics

Later in the season, I took a trip to Utah with a friend to ski at Snowbasin and Park City. Located about an hour north of Salt Lake City, Snowbasin was site of downhill skiing events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s a good-sized ski resort with some nice runs, and probably the most upscale lodges I’ve been to for a ski area. I was working to improve my skiing skills this winter, and I tried to ski my first black diamond trail at Snowbasin. I actually managed to stay upright during the steepest part, but fell in another section and slid 150 feet down the hill, stopping just short of crashing into some bushes. I was not hurt and continued to ski.

Snowbasin Resort
Gorgeous day to be out skiing at Snowbasin
Snowbasin Tram
At the bottom of the Allen Peak Tram, located at the top of the John Allen chairlift. Interesting contraption to go a little further up to the mountain peak. The trail up there is a little too steep for my current skill level though, so I didn’t go up.

We spent a day at Snowbasin, and 3 days skiing at Park City. Located about half hour east of Salt Lake City, Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the US. It used to be two separate resorts that got combined when Vail acquired both of them. There hasn’t been any major snowfall before our arrival so the snow wasn’t that great, but weather was beautiful for all the days we were in Utah. Park City is huge, but I did my best to cover all of the areas except the ones that lead only to double black diamond trails.

Park City Canyons Village parking cabriolet
On the Canyons Village side of Park City, you get take a cabriolet (open air gondola) lift from the parking lot to the resort village.
Park City Mountain Resort snow truck
Saw this awesome-looking snow truck at the top of one of Park City’s mountains

The Utah ski trip was the first time I took a flight to go skiing. It worked out fairly well though, as I got a roller ski bag to get my equipment through the airports. For someone who has never skied more than two days in a roll, I held up reasonably well during 4 continuous days of skiing. I was tired by the last day though, and got off the mountain a little earlier so I can pack my stuff for the flight back home. The trip was a fun experience, I definitely plan to do more ski trips in upcoming seasons. Colorado or Tahoe are the likely destinations.

Park City Mountain Resort
Pretty good views at Park City at the top of McConkey’s Express lift
Park City Main Street
Checked out Park City’s historic Main Street. Pretty typical tourist town street with shops and restaurants.

In addition to Whistler and Utah, I also skied at the local ski hills. Stevens Pass is covered under the Epic Local Pass, and I went there twice on weekends. I also went to Crystal Mountain as part of a company outing. I’ve been to Crystal once last season, but this visit was the first time I went all the way to the top to take in the views of Mount Rainier. I also did a few runs down some single black diamonds and didn’t fall. I’m still not an advanced skier, but I’ve definitely improved my skills during this season.

Stevens Pass backside
First time I’ve been to the backside of the Stevens Pass.

At the top with Crystal Mountain with Mount Rainier in the back. (click to enlarge)

I was planning to ski a few more days, but it looks like the ski season has come to a premature end thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. In total I skied 9 days, 8 of which was on the Epic Local Pass. This meant I got a little bit of savings from buying the pass, since even Stevens Pass charge around $100 for weekend lift tickets.

With the coronavirus pandemic going on, I probably won’t be doing much in the way of adventures in the next few weeks. Hopefully with the various measures that the governments have undertaken, the spread will slow down and life can return to normal soon. Keep it clean, wash your hands, and stay safe.

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