Here’s a Whistler Insider secret: March and April.
That’s right, while all the lowlanders at sea level are thinking about those first flowers of spring us mountain folk are usually getting bombarded with big glorious snowstorms dumping meters of fresh pow… and then the sun comes out.
March is traditionally one of the snowiest months of the ski season and no one can attest to that better than 2012 Whistler Sabbatical Project Winner “Lucky” Luke Dillon. In March 2012, Luke and his buddy Tim flew over from London, England for a one-month all-in Whistler winter experience. He landed March 15 and had to learn how to ski powder almost overnight — March 2012 saw over 4 metres of snowfall.
“It was perfect really,” Luke says. “Two weeks of getting anything from 3 or 4 inches to a foot overnight, then two weeks of blue skies and warm days— we saw the best Whistler had to offer. This year we’re coming back for the exact same dates.”
To back that up, here are the top 5 reasons why visiting Whistler in March and April is always a good call.
1. Numbers Don’t Lie
In the past five ski seasons March has seen an average of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) of fresh snowfall every year except one (March 2015 saw 120 cm/4 feet). Standouts include this year with 318 cm and 2012 was ridiculous with 405 cm.
2. More Daylight
In Canada, the day with the least sunshine is December 21 and it’s totally dark at 5 PM. By March and April we start getting way more daylight and the chairlifts stay open for an extra half hour or more. That translates into at least one more lap of ripping up the biggest ski hills on the continent (or an extended patio/Après session. Win-Win).
3. Sunshine = T-Shirts and Goggle Tans
All that extra daylight combines with April’s inevitable break from the spring storms and suddenly Whistler gets hit with some epic, sunny spring conditions. Mountain-top picnics and skiing 7th Heaven in a T-shirt are both must-dos. As well, Whistler’s big Spring status symbol is seeing who can rock the darkest raccoon-eyed goggle tan (a dark goggle tan means you are riding more days than working and therefore must have life all figured out).
4. World Ski & Snowboard Festival
There is no bigger party on snow. Every mid-April since 1996 the WSSF has kicked out the jams with ten days of free concerts, huge ski and snowboard contests and some of the biggest art and culture events on Whistler’s calendar. It’s the party to end all parties but the thing everyone forgets is the actual skiing and snowboarding. We pretty much always get at least one big bluebird pow day each festival and if the sun sticks around there is truly no better spring skiing/riding experience.
March and April are mustache month in Whistler as Sushi Village hosts their annual WSSF Mustache Party (now in its 12th fur-tastic year!) Even without the incredibly fun party at Sushi Village, mustaches are fun to grow and a solid ‘stache (even a fake one) can provide endless laughs all month long. It will also catch powder during those late March snowstorm faceshots and make for really good photos to send home to all your friends stuck at work.
6 (Bonus). Bright Smiles
The people of Whistler live for snow — it’s literally why most of us are here. The big snows of March get everyone incredibly stoked and happy and with a bit of glorious sunshine in the mix there is truly no better time to experience the “real” Whistler. Just ask Lucky Luke.
“Coming from a purely ‘European’ ski background, Tim and I are used to a certain hostility in our usual ski haunts,” Luke says. “That is not the case in Whistler however. The incredible friendliness and warmth from the top of the lifts to the bottom of the Village is incredible. Everyone has a smile and a joke and it’s a fantastic atmosphere to be in and around.”
Well, the secret’s out…See you this March and April. Bring the pow boards, bring the sunglasses, and let’s finish winter off proper.
March 17, 2016 – Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun stoked. BRIAN HOCKENSTEIN CINEMATOGRAPHY