Travel Blog

6 Apr

Snow Glorious Snow

“We’ve just had 117 centimetres of snow in the last week… such great conditions.”

 “Another amazing powder day today with more snow on the way Monday!”

“The slopes have received 44 feet of snow to date!”

It’s enough to make me groan out loud.

This year has been phenomenal for the folks in Whistler, BC. Reports of fresh dumps of snow greet me every morning as I scroll through my bookmarked websites here in Sydney, Australia. As most of the northern hemisphere moves rapidly into Spring, the world’s number one ski resort continues to enjoy record snowfalls on its slopes.

When I hear of Whistler’s recurring powder, when I see constant images of its white cloudy peaks and overflowing bowls, when I cast my mind back to carving across those expansive slopes, past deep snow drifts and along trail upon trail of the freshly fallen soft stuff prized by skiers and snowboarders alike, you can hardly blame me for missing it.

Sometimes it’s just too much to bear.

When I left the UK in 2003, I opened a Pandora’s box of encounters on my expat travels that I’ve not been able to close since. I lived in North Vancouver less than three hours by road from Whistler and I discovered a profound passion for snowboarding that I’d not previously known. I uncovered a land of ski schools, snow ploughs, terrain parks and back country. And don’t even let me get started on the après ski.

I was privileged to be given a window into a world far removed from that of my upbringing. And I liked what I saw.

But it wasn’t to be forever.

In 2006, I left Canada for Sydney’s Northern Beaches, wife in hand and a dog under each arm. Moving to a 14km stretch of world-renowned beaches and pristine waterfront, I dramatically changed the view outside my window. I now realise that I’d struggle to ever live away from this perfect beachside environment.

So I like the place I currently call home. But getting back to the snow…

The snow we get here in Australia is akin to a sprinkling of talcum powder on a baby’s bottom – a fine dusting at best and of no comparison to the winter wonderland often found in Whistler and Blackcomb. At this time of year, I can’t help but pine for all that ski and snow.

On this journey of mine from the UK to Canada, then on to Australia, I’ve seen and done some amazing things, met a bunch of inspiring people, and am living an extraordinary life but, each time I’ve moved on, I’ve been forced to give up a few of those extra special moments from each place I’ve been.

It’s the price you pay for gaining new experiences but sometimes the things you give up are harder to accept than the things that you gain.

I wish I could take a little piece of paradise from each corner of the globe. I wish I could bring a tiny bit of every place back with me.

And, if I did, I’d sure as hell start with 117 centimetres of fresh snow and a ski resort like Whistler Blackcomb.

Thank you, Whistler, for the memories. Promise to be back soon.

Russell V J Ward – Russell is a British expat and writer living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in Australia, who lived in Canada by mountains and snow, and now writes about his search for a life less ordinary at He can also be found on Twitter as @russellvjward.


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