BY: S. Threndyle
Unlike skiers, ski resorts get better with age. Take Whistler Blackcomb and Jackson Hole, for instance. Both mountains are celebrating the big Five-O this winter. (Hmm, the author still has his Whistler Mountain 25th anniversary pass around somewhere – seems like just yesterday, in fact). And Mt. Norquay? 90!
While most baby boomers are struggling with creaky knees and arthritic hips, Whistler and Jackson have been able to successfully re-invent themselves over and over again in the past five decades. From slow-moving double chairlifts (painfully slow in a biting north wind) and hockey puck hamburgers to the world’s longest gondola and vegan-friendly fare, Whistler has much to celebrate in its five decades. To get a flavour of Whistler’s storied past, tune in to “50 Years of Going Beyond,” an online documentary focusing on some of Whistler’s legendary characters, expertly produced by Mike Douglas’s Switchback Entertainment.
Mt. Norquay 90th
As the first ski resort in the Canadian Rockies, Banff’s Mt. Norquay blows out the birthday candles for its 90th season this year.
Jackson Hole 50th
South of the border, the rompin’ stompin’ Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) turns 50 as well. As the home of Teton Gravity Research (TGR), Jackson has an extremely well-documented ski culture. It’s worth watching “Born to Be Wild,” a five-part web series that shows just how crazy the last five decades have been. More wild times are sure to occur February 5–7 during the JHMR 50th Grand Reunion Weekend. JHMR is offering 50 per cent off lift tickets for the weekend and will bring back the legendary Powder 8 contest in Cody Bowl, the event that truly put Jackson Hole on the map.
Mt Ste Anne 50th
Rising above the frozen ice banks of the St Lawrence River, Mont Ste Anne is Quebec skiing’s birthplace of cool, with its silver gondolas and snaking, precipitous fall line skiing of the famed Versant Nord (north face). This fabled resort, home to many Canadian ‘firsts’ (e.g., ‘first gondola’) marks its 50th anniversary in 2016. Ski maker Rossignol is getting into the act by making fifty pairs of limited edition Mt Ste Anne 50th anniversary skis. Bon anniversaire!
At Whitewater Ski Resort, they’re still celebrating the installation of the Glory Ridge chairlift (bringing the grand total of chairlifts to four), while also marking the 40th anniversary of the resort.