News: La Niña is coming. And with that, snow for the Pacific Northwest.

El Niño is dead.  Long live El Niña.

La Nina | Powderheadz.com
Photo Credit: NWS/Climate Prediction Center.

 

The 2015-2016 edition of El Niño has come to pass and La Niña has a 60 to 75% of making an appearance.  And according to the NOAA, a pool of cold water is materializing in the Pacific Ocean below a shallow mass of warm surface water.  La Niña is coming.

And if it does, the Pacific Northwest to Squaw Valley will see above average snowfall.  There is already more concrete evidence as Whistler gets its first snowfall of the season (about 3cm).  We should be seeing more action from La Niña in the late fall and through the winter.  Some of the best Ski Resorts in North America will get the benefit of the larger than average snowfall:


  • Lake Louise, BC
  • Whistler, BC
  • Mt Baker, WA
  • Mt Bachelor, OR

  • Mt Hood, OR
  • Sun Valley, ID
  • Big Sky, MT
  • Whitefish, MT
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • Squaw Valley, CA
  • Steamboat, CO
  • Lake Tahoe, NV
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A Bit of History


The last time La Niña mattered was during the 1998-1999 ski season, when Mt. Baker, WA received the most snow at any location during a single season. 1140 inches of powder dropped that winter, totaling 95 feet. It’s still a record that hasn’t been beaten. Hopefully we get somewhere close to that this year, if not beating it altogether. It will more than make up for the lackluster winter of 2014-2015 that the Pacific Northwest had experienced two years ago.

It is still to early to tell when La Niña will truly show up, but it something to keep in mind if you are planning on any major snowboarding trips. There is a possibility that some resorts will have enough snow coverage for the Thanksgiving weekend. Or perhaps by Christmas time.  But forecasts this far out can be a little unpredictable. La Niña should reveal her true colors in the next couple of months. We at Powderheadz.com think you should hold off on buying those plane tickets until more time has passed.

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Perhaps I’m writing all of this because I just needed an excuse to just to show this clip:

Happy Riding!


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News: The Fourth Phase by Travis Rice Premieres Sept 8th.

 

Travis Rice's The Fourth Phase
World Premiere is September 8th at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles.

Travis Rice is back with The Fourth Phase, the follow-up to 2011’s phenomenal Art of Flight:

“This hydrological cycle, it’s this beautiful choreographed cycle of life.  I realized by combining my love of the ocean with my love of the mountains, it might be possible to actually follow the flow around the North Pacific.” – Travis Rice


WHO


The Fourth Phase by Travis Rice is a love letter to riding that follows the exploits of Rice and fellow riders Mikkel Bang, Shin Biyajima, Victor de Le Rue, Ben Ferguson, Cam Fitzpatrick, Mentor Bryan Iguchi, Eric Jackson, Jeremy Jones, Mark Landvik, Bode Merril, Pat Moore across the North Pacific.Powderheadz.com


WHAT


The premise to Art of Flight‘s sequel is an exploration of the hydrological cycle – the evaporation of water from the surface of the ocean to the condensation of clouds to the precipitation of rain and snow and finally to the runoff of water back into the ocean. While exploring the Wyoming back country in 2013 with his mentor Brian Iguchi, Travis Rice comes up with an idea. He plots a 16000-mile journey to follow the water cycle around the Pacific and snowboard along the way. Along with several legendary snowboarders, Travis Rice attempts to “witness firsthand the many moods of the North Pacific storm engine”

“Travis took this idea about the hydrological cycle and turned it into this epic journey.” – Bryan Iguchi

The Fourth Phase is a journey of self-discovery and an adventure to explore new terrain around the North Pacific. The film will cover breathtaking landscapes such as Russian volcanoes, the Japanese Alps, remote Alaska, and the Wyoming back-country.Powderheadz.com


WHEN + WHERE


The Fourth Phase debuts Thursday, Sept 8th, 2016 8PM at the Shrine Auditorium (665 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007). Some of us at Powderheadz.com will be watching it locally in Vancouver, BC at the Centre for Performing Arts (777 Homer St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0H3) on Saturday, Sept 10th, 2016 at 8PM. You can see the Global Premiere on October 2, 9PM on RedBullTV or purchase it on Midnight, October 3rd.  More details available at www.thefourthphase.com and you can pre-order from vimeo, itunes, or amazon.Powderheadz.com


WHY


The last movie to get this much hype was 2013’s Into the Mind by Sherpas Cinema. The Fourth Phase is sure to be another classic that Art of Flight was back in 2011. This will be the perfect movie to get us all amped for what is going to be an amazing season.

Winter is coming, and we can’t wait!Powderheadz.com


 

News: Vail Resorts Purchases Whistler-Blackcomb for $1.4 Billion

Soon your Epic Ski Pass gets you riding in the Great White North.


View of Whistler Blackcomb Ski-Lift
View from under Big Red Express. Whistler-Blackcomb, BC.

Vail Resorts Inc’s $1.4 Billion friendly takeover of Whistler Blackcomb aims at making skiing and snowboarding cheaper for everyone.  The proprieter of 13 resorts across the world just added the biggest gem to its collection with Whistler and on Monday, August 8th, they entered into an agreement to acquire them.  This makes Vail Resorts owner of half of the 10 busiest ski areas on the North American Continent with Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, and Breckenridge being the top 3.

This deal comes only months after the British Columbia Provincial government approved of Aquilini Investment Group’s plan to build a $3.5 billion Ski Resort in Garibaldi Park at Squamish, BC, which is about at 45 minute drive south of Whistler.  Also, Vail Resorts plans on honoring Whistler’s $345 million investment plan, the Renaissance Project, to create more offerings of additional four-season, weather-independent activities to make Whistler Blackcomb a better, more expansive year-round resort.


And What It Mean’s for You.


For now?  Nothing yet.  As of right now, the Season Pass for Whistler Blackcomb is still valid for 2016/2017 and the current 2016/2017 Epic Pass from Vail Resorts (which includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, etc.  Visit www.snow.com for more info.) does not include access for Whistler Blackcomb.  However, Vail Resorts has confirmed that the Epic Pass will include Whistler-Blackcomb for the 2017/2018 season and that it has no intention of drastically raising its rates for the very inclusive Epic Pass.

For reference, the Whistler Season Pass for 2017 is regularly priced at $2049.00 CAD while the Epic Pass for 2017 is priced at $809 USD.  So come Winter 2017/2018, Americans will gain a giant resort for the taking and Canadians will see a drastic price drop to their season pass.  Snow for Everyone!

 

Snowboarding Destination: Mont-Tremblant, QC

Mont Tremblant Village
View of Mont Tremblant Village

Located one and a half hours north of Downtown Montreal, QC in the Laurentians, Mont-Tremblant is the second-oldest Ski Resort in North America that offers the best skiing and snowboarding in Eastern North America.  Founded in 1939 by America Joe Ryan and later purchased and updated by Intrawest in 1991, this charming resort is reminiscent of skiing the Alps without the expensive plane ticket to get there.

Tremblant is consistently rated as the #1 ski-resort on the Eastern Seaboard by Ski Magazine and offers 630 ski-able acres with 96 runs on four distinctive slopes:

  • Versant Sud
  • Versant Soleil
  • Versant Nord
  • Versant Edge

And although you’ll get bigger skiing and snowboarding out west, Tremblant is a year-round resort that offers a more intimate slope-side village with world-class food and an amazing après-ski atmosphere.

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How to Get There


The best way to get Mont-Tremblant is to take a flight into Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) grab a car and drive 90 minutes north:

  1. Take Route 520 East towards Montreal
  2. Merge onto Autoroute 40 East and take Exit 70 for Autoroute 15 North
  3. Drive about an hour on Autoroute 15 North until it becomes Route 117 North
  4. Take Exit 119 (Montée Ryan) and drive towards the mountain and make a right onto Chemin Duplessis and follow signs for Mont-Tremblant Resort.

From Toronto/Ottowa:

  1. Head East on Autoroute 50 towards Montreal
  2. Take Exit 210 for Quebec 323 towards Mont-Tremblant
  3. Turn Left onto Route 117 North
  4. Take Exit 119 (Montée Ryan) and drive towards the mountain and make a right onto Chemin Duplessis and follow signs for Mont-Tremblant Resort.

A quick search online will also offer shuttles from Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) or Downtown Montreal to Mont-Tremblant as well.

During the Winter, Air Canada offers direct flights to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM) from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) from LaGuardia (LGA).  Those two airports should give enough options for those flying from around the world to Tremblant.  More information can be found here. Shuttle service is available once you get to  Mont-Tremblant Airport (YTM) that can take you to participating hotels and offer other premium services like luggage valet and express check-in.

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Tips and Tricks


  • Mont Tremblant is often fairly busy and getting up the Mountain can take more than half an hour if not longer if you are loading up from the village.  If you have a car and you’re with a group of more experienced skiers and snowboarders, take Chemin Duplessis to the North Side of the Mountain.  It’s less busy, has ample parking, and you’re practically in front of the lifts (Duncan Express and Expo Express).
  • Mont Tremblant is the largest mountain on the East Coast and can be the busiest.  Bring a sack lunch to eat up the mountain or head to the village around 2pm for world-class food.  Either way, you’ll find very empty hills around lunch time.
  • Quebec Winters are BRUTAL.  Pay attention to weather forecasts at the Base of the Mountain as well as the Summit.  Don’t get caught up top without the proper gear.  You’ll hate yourself for it.
  • Follow the Sun.  Ride the North Side (technically the East Side) in the morning and after lunch, ride the South Side (towards the main village).  Check out our list of Top 10 Skiing and Snowboarding Goggles to make sure you’ve got the right lenses on.
  • If it’s a windy day, stay on the North Side.
  • If you plan on going to Mont-Tremblant or any other Quebec Ski Resorts for an extended amount of time consider purchasing the Ski-Passe Partout Card.
    • 70 participating ski areas offering 5 discounts each.
      • 1 x 40%, 2 x 35%, 2 x 30% off at most of the ski resorts.
      • 1 x 35%, 2 x 30%, and 2 x 25% off at Mont-Tremblant, Le Massif de Charlevoix, and le Mont-Sainte-Anne.
    • $44.99 plus tax.  You’ll more often than not make your money back after two days on any of the mountains.  This is perfect for anyone who lives in Quebec, Ontario, Upstate New York, and Vermont.
    • Available at Sports Experts or Intersport.

Powderheadz.com


Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort: At a Glance


LocationMont-Tremblant, QC
Nearest Major CityMontreal, QC
Vertical645 m (2,116 ft)
Top Elevation875 m (2,871 ft)
Base Elevation230 m (755 ft)
Skiable area630 acres (255 ha)
Runs96
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 20 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 31 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 35 – Advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 10 – Expert
Lift system14 total
2 gondolas
12 high-speed quad chairlifts
9 chairlifts
3 magic carpets
Lift capacity27,230 skiers/hr
Snowfall39.5 m/year (156 in.)
Snow-making(181 hectares), 71%

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Snowboarding Destination: Whistler-Blackcomb Mtn., BC.

Whistler Blackcomb
Overlooking Whistler-Blackcomb Resort

Located two hours north of Vancouver in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is not just Canada’s favorite ski-resort, but according to 2016’s Telegraph Ultra Awards and Ski Magazine, the number 1 ski-resort of the world.  There are two colossal mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, connected with the longest continuous lift system, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, with a combined 8,171 acres of accessible terrain serviced by 37 lifts for skiers and riders across the world.

Also known as North America’s largest ski resort, these two massive mountains offer more than 200 marked trails that include perfectly groomed trails, secluded glades, powder-filled bowls, in-bounds back country riding, and wide-open glaciers available deep into the summer months.  Freestyle Skiers and Snowboarders will find six terrain parks ranging from beginner to insane, including a 22 foot Super Pipe. Averaging 462 inches of snowfall each year, there’s something for everyone at Whistler Blackcomb.

Powderheadz.com


How to Get There


The best way to get to Whistler is by flying into Vancouver International Airport (YVR), grabbing (renting) a car and driving through Downtown Vancouver, across the Lions Gate Bridge and onto the Sea to Sky Highway:

 

 

From Downtown Vancouver to Whistler usually takes around 1.5 to 2hrs by car, depending on traffic. However, if you plan on going to Whistler just to see the sights, there are plenty of other stops along the way that you should definitely consider:

  • Horseshoe Bay – A quaint, picturesque waterfront village on the North Shore that is home to the Horsehoe Bay Ferry Terminal, which gets you to How Sound, the Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island.
  • Britannia Mining Museum – A former copper mine in Howe Sound that has been converted into a museum that preserves the history of British Columbia’s Mining Industry.
  • Shannon Falls – The third highest falls in BC composed of a series of cliffs rising 335 meters above Highway 99.
  • Squamish – Considered the halfway point between Downtown Vancouver and Whistler and is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.
  • Alice Lake – This Provincial Park is a group of four lakes surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests and grassy areas.
  • Tantalus Lookout – One of the most spectacular viewpoints along the Sea to Sky Highway.
  • Brandywine Falls – A 70 meter waterfall and park that provides opportunities for picnics, hiking, and mountain biking.

For those without a car, Whistler offers a shuttle bus that can pick you up from either Vancouver International Airport or Downtown Vancouver.

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Tips and Tricks


  • Whistler Blackcomb opens on 11.24.2016.  Whistler’s Last Day is 04.23.2017.  Blackcomb’s Last Day is 05.22.2017.  You can find more detailed hours of operations here.
  • Whistler Blackcomb can get pretty busy. If you want to go riding as soon as possible, the fastest way up the mountain is by taking the Excalibur Gondola and not the Whistler Village Gondola.  If you get bored of riding Blackcomb, it’s quicker to take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola instead of riding back down to the Village.
  • Whistler is known as the Family Friendly Mountain and is often the busiest.  Blackcomb is the quieter mountain and is more tailored to seasoned vets.  If you’re a beginner, stick to Whistler.  If you’re intermediate to advanced, head to Blackcomb.
  • Accommodations at Whistler Village can be quite expensive during the Peak Holiday Season.  With Whistler being less than 2 hours away from Vancouver or 1 hour away from Squamish, it’s often better to find lodging there and waking up earlier to drive up to the mountain and back.  Parking at the Day Lots is around $8 a day and is only about a 10 minute walk to the Lifts in the Village.
  • If you’re from Canada, Oregon State, or Washington State, purchase the 3 or 5 Day Edge Card if you plan on spending a long weekend or even a week at Whistler Blackcomb.  You can save up to $40 a day.

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Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: At a Glance


LocationWhistler, BC
Nearest Major CityVancouver, BC
VerticalWhistler: 1,530 m (5,020 ft)
Blackcomb: 1,565 m (5,133 ft)
Top ElevationWhistler: 2,182 m (7,160 ft)
Blackcomb: 2,436 m (7,992 ft)
Base ElevationCreekside: 653 m (2,140 ft)
Village: 675 m (2214 ft)
Skiable areaWhistler: 4,757 acres (1,925 ha)
Blackcomb: 3,414 acres (1,382 ha)
Runs200+
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 35 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 110 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 35 – Advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 20 – Expert
Lift system39 total
5 gondolas
1 high-speed six-pack chairlift
12 high-speed quad chairlifts
5 chairlifts
16 surface lifts
Lift capacity65,507 skiers/hr
Whistler: 34,345
Blackcomb: 31,162
Snowfall10.22 m/year (402 in.)
Snow-makingWhistler: 215 acres
(87 hectares), 4.5%
Blackcomb: 350 acres
(142 hectares), 10.3%

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