Skiing is an individual sport.
Recreational skiing most definitely isn't.
Even if you head to the mountain solo you won't be for long. Whether it's a chat on a chairlift or a few runs down the mountain, sharing a ski lesson or having lunch at a communal table, there are many opportunities for meeting people when you take a solo ski trip.
I'd like to introduce you to a few people I met on my trip to Whistler Blackcomb which I took with the support of American Express and Whistler Blackcomb. (See two more posts about this trip here 32 Tips for Whistler Blackcomb post and here Testing My Limits on the Fastest Bobsleigh Run in the World.)
We'll start with Gary whom I met at the top of the Whistler Gondola before I even had time to put on my skis. He is a character. A few words and I asked where he was from.
“Toronto,” he said.
“Not a chance,” I said. Gary has a drawl which definitely doesn't come from Ontario.
“Well Newmarket,” he said.
“No again. I have family in all those places and you're not from any of them.”
Then Gary came clean. He was originally from Newmarket, had lived in Oakville and Toronto but has been in Houston for many decades. What a fun encounter and great way to start my day at Whistler.
After that quick chat with Gary I headed to the meeting place for my Max4 Lesson. You can read about it here: Learning to Relearn. The lessons happen as the name suggests, with no more than four students in a group. Ours had three. So, for half a day I skied with Marg and Arlie from Phoenix. My lesson was for a full day so I spent the entire afternoon with our instructor, Junko.
I was up early the next morning for the Fresh Tracks breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge which is located at the top of the Whistler Village Gondola. After enjoying a buffet breakfast, these lucky people, myself included on this day, get to take the first runs on freshly groomed trails. On my way up the gondola I met Mo who is originally from India but has lived in Texas for many years.
Mo was solo as well. His wife and son were experiencing Whistler Village while Mo was skiing. We ended up having breakfast together and sharing our best tips about Whistler Blackcomb. Then we headed out on our own – though we did run into each other at the Inukshuk at the Whistler summit later in the day.
Leaving Mo I took a run on Whiskey Jack then got into line for the Emerald Chair. The line was thin so just two of us got on the four-person chair, Jody and I. What a great guy! We chatted all the way up discussing everything from his mom (hope you're reading my blog Jody's mom) and whether I could manage the blue runs at Whistler. You see, the color coding system for ski runs that's used throughout North America is a bit skewed at Whistler. Greens (the easiest) are more like blues and blues are verging on blacks.
Jody was certain I could manage some of the easier blue runs and wanted to show me so that I would stretch myself and take in more of the mountain. So we skied together with him patiently guiding me along a trail that was just a bit of a stretch but perfectly within my ability. Thanks Jodi. Because of you I got to see and experience so much more of what Whistler Blackcomb has to offer including the Peak and Symphony Amphitheatre.
But there were many more people. From random people on the chair lifts and the Peak2Peak Gondola to the hot tub at The Delta Whistler where I was staying to people in the village, I met people throughout my time there.
And the funny thing was that of all the people I met, I could count the number of Canadians on one hand.
Want to go skiing and meet people from all over the world? Go to Whistler Blackcomb.
Want to read more about taking a solo ski trip?
Solo skiing – my first solo travel experience was up a mountain.
Travel Solo for a Rocky Mountain High
My thanks to American Express (the official card of Whistler Blackcomb) and Whistler Blackcomb. While they supported this trip, the choice of stories from the trip, the perspectives, and the enthusiasm are purely my own.