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Shane Szocs' New Pass

Mike Douglas

Douglas on the Flatbar

Szocs with Whistler in Back (opens Thursday!)

Highway 99 Tuesday Morning

Shane Shredding

Mike Douglas, Shane Szocs, Cam Trumner

Words and pictures by Matt Harvey.

News of Whistler's abundant early season snow has been plastered on for the past week, so I had to see it for myself. I rolled into

town Friday afternoon after a 14 hour commute from Ottawa, Ontario. It was like

Christmas. Snow blanketed the trees as far as the eyes could see, and Christmas

lights marked the entrance of every hotel and restaurant. The stories on NS were

no lie - a good two feet of snow filled the ditches on the side of the road.

It was around 8pm, almost time for the 2Track premiere. I stopped by Nate Loader's

place for some quick drinks with NS Clothing, 4FRNT, Jib Culture rep Jeff Schmuck

and we headed to the village. All the local shreds were in attendance like Chris

Turpin, Ryan McKeeman, and Rex Thomas. Pretty standard Whistler slosh fest till

the wee hours, then grabbed some sleep before opening day!

In classic Harvey fashion, I totally slept in. Missed out on the grand finale of

Freeze Factor (where thirty people stayed out in the cold doing gnarly elimination

challenges such as slurpy chugs and kidney bobbing to win a $1400 pass), and of course, missed the

first bunch of lifts. When I finally got down to the Daylodge to get my passes, it

was evident that Whistler Blackcomb was off to an epic start of the season. I met

up with 2Track cinematographer Paul Cotton and made some turns. The pow could be found by a

blind man with no legs so we had a pretty dope first day of the season. Little did

I know, the best was yet to come.

I totally lied at the beginning of this story. I didn't just decide to ditch

school to be at Whistler for opening day. So Saturday evening, after a grueling

(the good kind of grueling) day of powder turns, I met up with Shane Szocs to

start work on the 2004 High North Ski Camp web site. We really got nothing done on

Saturday, so to bed I went, only to wake up eight hours later to another foot of

totally dry snow.

Sunday out-did Saturday ten fold. There were no line ups, and tons of the white

fluffy. Shane and I met up with Cam Trumner and Mike Douglas to shred the gnar. We

went through the park for the first time to find a vast array of features to play

on. The Blackcomb park was better than an Edelweiss or Fortune Park in peak season

(if you don't know where Edelweiss or Fortune is, consider yourself lucky). At

the top was a box with a ledge on the side, then a box rainbow, a trapezoid, a

long curved box, three variations of flat rails, and a flat with a wee jump at the

end. Then on the side, which I didn't even see until Monday, were three picnic

tables and some tiny rails to learn on. There wasn't really anyone there though

cause powder chasing was the name of the game!

Monday was more of the same. Fresh snow yet again! Crystal Chair was closed so we

spent a lotta time traversing over to the runs to the left of Jersey Cream. Some

of those trails were completely untracked and the abundant face shots resembled a

Jenna Jameson flick. We hooked up with Dan Treadway for a couple laps and the only

thing more entertaining than his mach 10 powder skiing is his redneck stories.

They really never end, with tales of squirrel shooting when he was 7, to

dismantling fellow sledder's engines for fun. Makes for great chairlift

entertaining, that's for sure! Enough of that though, we broke trail to the base

in the afternoon to work on the website some more.

My plane was to leave several hours later and come back to the real world.

Unfortunately, another 20 centimeters of snow were scheduled to make an

appearance, so after much convincing (read: delay your flight) from Shane, I made

the call to stay another day.

Thank the holy almighty because Tuesday was the day!! Totally fresh everywhere,

and barely anyone skiing. The only ones on the mountain were the locals, and every

local was on the mountain. It was elbows up as everyone raced for the untracked.

Shane, Treadway, and I made a short two minute hike up in the Crystal area and

found a wide-open playground of fluff. We made the most of the opportunity before

others followed by snapping some shots and jumping off anything we could find. We

did that for most of the day, traversing further on each run to find more

untracked, and really, it was everywhere! What a great way to end my stint in


It's not every day an Ontario boy can jump a plane to Whistler and enjoy four days

of straight powder, but someone has to do it, and I'm glad that it was me. It

wasn't all fun and games though as Shane and I punched in hours of work on the new

High North site. It's looking pretty dope, so be sure to check it out in the near

future ( But hey, who am I kidding, a couple

hours of coding for a nerd like me who enjoys it anyway, four days of knee-deep,

and some good old fashioned Whistler partying makes for one hell of a weekend,

especially when the alternative is sitting in front of lame professors blabbing on

about how to make a web page.

Huge thanks out to Shane and Amanda for putting me up in their killer place (be

sure to congratulate the two next time you're in town. Rumor has it they're

taking the plunge this coming February!). Thanks also to Karla, Sara, and Katie at

Whistler Blackcomb for letting me ski for nothing!

For the latest info on Whistler Blackcomb, check out