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Must Do Whistler Blackcomb Runs: Interview with Feet Banks

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Mount Currie Coffee Company, Whistler — While most people who have been in Whistler for longer than six months wouldn’t need to be told who Feet Banks is, there still may be a question of what he actually does… Feet is an author, a magazine editor, a filmmaker, and an in-demand host/emcee. He has worked with Tourism Whistler, Whistler Film Festival, Whistler Blackcomb and the World Ski & Snowboard Festival.

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Feet moved to Whistler at the age of 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. Growing up in Whistler, Feet worked jobs that would allow him to ski all day and eat free food (ie. busboy at Sushi Village). Lucky for Feet, he’s been able to avoid the 9-5 lifestyle, by choosing a career path that allows him to romp around Whistler digging up all the great stuff about this resort town and sharing it with locals and visitors alike.

Between writing blog posts for The Whistler Insider, finishing off pending work before his Christmas holiday, and getting in a few runs, Feet found the time to sit down with Summit Lodge & Spa to discuss the Must Do Whistler Blackcomb Runs.

Interview conducted by Liz Hammond for Summit Lodge & Spa

Summit Lodge: What is your favourite run?

Feet: I’ve been skiing Whistler and Blackcomb since 1988, and one that I always enjoy is School Marm on Blackcomb — it’s a lower mountain classic. It’s often over looked because it’s the bottom half of the mountain, but it’s steep and fast, and it stays in the shade, so it keeps snow late in the year. It’s kind of tucked away so you can really open ‘er up and let ‘er go!

Summit Lodge: What can you recommend for powder runs on Whistler Mountain?

Feet: There are very few places in North America like the Harmony Zone on Whistler Mountain, just because it’s huge and open, and as you’re riding the lift you can see where you want to go, you can see where it’s been tracked, you can see where people are getting deep, and where the wind pockets are. The fact that you get to see everything before you rip it in Harmony, makes it an epic powder zone.

Summit Lodge: What about powder zones on Blackcomb Mountain?

Feet: It’s not on the map, but there’s an area called High Test and Low Test — my old man’s favourite secret powder stash. When we were kids and it’d be near the end of the day, my old man would always say “Well, there are always good tracks in High Test!” You kind of have to cut under 7th Heaven a bit and dip through the rocks, and then it opens up into a nice field of pow. You’ve got to find it. If you’re just a regular pow ripper, you can always find stuff in Xhiggy’s Meadow and Lakeside Bowl.

Summit Lodge: What’s the best cruiser run?

Feet: Obviously the best cruiser is Dave Murray Downhill on Whistler Mountain, which has been used for the World Cup and Olympic downhill races, is named after a local legend, and if you want speed, you can get it on Dave Murray Downhill. It’s a popular run, and you have to be careful of other people, but when conditions are good, you can go all the way down to the Valley like they do in the Olympics and that’s freaking awesome!

Summit Lodge: What’s the best cruiser run on Blackcomb?

Feet: On Blackcomb, the classic cruiser is Ross’ Gold/Gandy Dancer — you know it’s a good one because that’s where all the Ski Clubs used to train their gate racing. It’s the perfect fall line with lots of rollers.

Summit Lodge: What’s the best green run?

Feet: Burnt Stew Trials on Whistler Mountain — high alpine, meandering, very easy. Not for beginning snowboarders, because it’s too flat at the end.

Summit Lodge: What’s the best blue run?

Feet: Blackcomb has the best blue runs — Blackcomb Glacier and anything on 7th Heaven. On Whistler, the best blue is The Saddle; it’s nicknamed “Run of the Day.” You’re high up, you can see everything, and it feels like you’re in riding big mountains.

Summit Lodge: What’s the best single black?

Feet: Secret Bowl is the best black on Blackcomb. It actually lives up to its’ name, not many people go in there. You have to stay aware, because you might find yourself in a double black and trying to get out of it can be a challenge. On Whistler, the best black is Bagel Bowl, or anything off the peak.

Summit Lodge: What about skiing and riding backcountry?

Feet: The only way you should do it, is with Extremely Canadian Backcountry Tours. Don’t ever go by yourself. They’ll take you to the stops that even long time locals don’t know about, and they’ll get you there safe. They’re a one stop shop, Extremely Canadian.

Summit Lodge: Thanks Feet! Anything else you’d like to add?

Feet: The most important thing to remember about Whistler Blackcomb is there is something for everyone. No matter how extreme you are, or how beginner, you’re going to find something that blows your mind and tests your abilities, and gets the stoke high to get you back up there doing something a little bit harder the next day. If you don’t fall, you’re not learning, so don’t be afraid to take a chance and wipe out because that’s part of the game.

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