Whistler Glacier Summer Camp Closes Down Blaming Climate Change
The owner of a long running summer snowsports camp that takes place on Whistler Blackcomb’s glacier each June and July has announced the camp will not take place this year as they feel that the snow situation on the glacier is no longer adequate for them to build terrain park features of the standard they require.
The ‘Camp of Champions’ had been running on the glacier for 28 years and in an online statement its operators, who have declared bankruptcy, but promised all those who had booked at attend a full refund, blame their situation on climate change. The statement reads:
“On May 31st, we received an email from Whistler Blackcomb stating, “It may look like there is plenty of snow to use on the glacier but in reality this season’s snow pack is not very dense and is full of air. When this snow gets moved and the air escapes it makes for much less snow than meets the eye. Keeping snow on the glacier will prevent melt, therefore regulating jump size is very important.”
“Once I received this email, I knew that we weren’t going to have enough snow to build the park we’ve been promising everyone all winter. Whistler Blackcomb never said, “There is less snow than meets the eye” before, even in the worst of the drought years. The predicament I find myself in is nature’s fault, not Whistler Blackcomb’s. This year’s snow pack is less dense than usual because we enjoyed such a long cold winter. We didn’t get the wet cement spring snow that builds the snow pack we count on. During the snow drought years of 2014 and 2015 we started with more snow than we have now and barely made it through two weeks. For 2017, there isn’t enough snow to build intermediate or expert sized jumps. A huge portion of our campers are intermediate / expert level riders, and a park without those features will leave them unsatisfied. It wouldn’t have lasted to the end of the camp season either.”
“You say to yourself, “Whistler just had an amazing year! How is this possible?”
“Every year, the final pitch of the Horstman T-Bar shrinks more and more making it harder and harder for Whistler Blackcomb to maintain. The giant pile of snow connecting the glacier to the top of the lift and the glacier itself is melting. This has accelerated over the last 4 summers. To give you an idea of how much melting has happened the last few years, in 2015 alone the glacier lost 35 vertical feet of ice. Last year, the entrance to the entire glacier had to be moved 40 feet lower. Campers now load on the T-Bar 3 towers up the glacier from where we loaded in 1989. The rock I used to sit on to do up my bindings in 1989 is 140 or more feet up the cliff wall above the camp park. Whistler Blackcomb spends an incredible amount of money and puts in an exceptional amount of work keeping that lift safe so people can ski the glacier in the winter and camps like us can operate through July. They installed snowmaking two winters ago to help build up the snow pack. They farm natural snow in the area where our summer park is and push it to the T-Bar to build up the track. Despite this, the T-Bar couldn’t open until mid/late January this winter because so much new natural snow was needed to rebuild the track after the last 2 seasons’ melt. Unfortunately all this work to restore the T-Bar’s track combined with the surprisingly airy snow pack has left us with the least amount of snow we have ever had to build our