First on the Mountain – Fresh Tracks in Whistler

Written By: The Planet D

As we picked up our gear at Whistler Blackcomb for our week of snowboarding, everyone in the shop asked us if we would be doing Fresh Tracks. After figuring out exactly what Fresh Tracks was, we made up our mind to give them a try at least once during the next 5 days of boarding. (we ended up doing fresh tracks in Whistler twice) We bought our ticket in advance and two days later we were lining up for our first run on fresh tracks.

Fresh Tracks Whistler

fresh tracks whistler snow

Fresh Tracks costs $20 and must be bought at least a day in advance. You can use it any day you want for up to a year. This does not include your lift ticket which you must have to get up the gondola in the morning.

What is First Tracks?

First Tracks aka Fresh Tracks is that heavenly feeling of being the first group up the mountain before the ski hills officially open. Those who purchase fresh tracks tickets get on the hill before everyone else and have the opportunity to skiw down a run with nobody else in sight. We wanted to experience that!

It was day two of our snowboarding adventure in Whistler and we decided this was a good day to get up early and give Fresh Tracks a try.

Tip for Fresh Tracks in Whistler

Do not leave your boards with the ski valet at your hotel. Make sure you can access them early. Instead of leaving our boards with the ski valet at the Westin (no ski or snowboarding gear is allowed in your room), we checked them with the bellhop the night before. The ski valet doesn’t open until 7:00 am and we were told to be in line for First Tracks by 6:45 at the latest.

The website recommends being in line between 7:15 and 8:00 am, but the guys at the Whistler/Blackcomb gear shop told us that it fills up quickly. They were right! Getting in line early is worth it. We arrived just before 7:00 am and there was already a crowd forming.

Only 650 people allowed on First Tracks

fresh tracks whistler dave coffee

During peak season, you may risk missing Fresh Tracks if you are late because only the first 650 people are allowed up. We weren’t in any danger of that today, there was a queue, but it was a small queue. So, with fresh coffee in our hands, we joined the morning line up, got to know our fellow early morning risers and waited for the gondola to open.

Arriving at the top of Whistler Mountain

fresh tracks whistler mountain

The morning sun over the Rocky Mountains is beautiful! We arrived at the top of the gondola to a spectacular sunrise over the snowcapped mountains. The air was brisk and cool, but the sky was clear and blue. We snapped photos of the scene before giving heading into the chalet for an enormous buffet breakfast.

Breakfast on the Mountain

dave breakfast fresh tracks

The Whistler Blackcomb team had told us that Fresh Tracks was worth it alone for the amazing breakfast and they were right! Nobody is allowed to simply go up the gondola and start skiing, you first have to get your nutrients and caffeine fix for the day.

We overloaded our plates with everything. We didn’t really need all that food, but when it’s put in front of us, we can’t help but load up. From waffles to pancakes and bacon and eggs, we ate it all. There was yogurt and bagels, fresh fruit and oatmeal. We were thoroughly stuffed by the time the horn went off to signal the opening of the slopes.

Eat Fast to be first!

fresh tracks whistler sign

Arriving early had its perks because we had finished our breakfasts and we were strapping on our boards while other fresh tracks lovers were still riding up the gondola. We were carving through the slopes with barely another soul in sight.

We really only had an extra half an hour before the gondola opened to the general public, but being up there for fresh tracks, actually gives you the opportunity to do several runs free from crowds.

It’s more than just one hill free from crowds

fresh tracks whistler deb

Because we took off a half-hour ahead of everyone else, we skied down empty hills for ages. We snowboarded down a hill and came to empty chair lift after empty chair lift until we finally ended up at the Harmony Bowl just as it was opening.

We were one step ahead of everyone most of the morning! Once we reached Harmony Bowl, we were first in again and we had the added bonus of being the right time of day when it was bright and sunny.

Empty Trails in Whistler

fresh tracks whistler run

It was an incredible morning as we discovered new trails and routes that we had all to ourselves. We had only been snowboarding once before in Whistler (and that was yesterday) so we made many wrong turns that led us to one spectacular view after another. We could have kept our noses to our trail maps and stuck to our plan, but instead, we simply followed the wind.

About Whistler Blackcomb

fresh tracks whistler snowboard

There are 200 trails to choose from on Whistler Blackcomb so the sky is your limit.

We zipped down steep runs, got stuck on flat slopes, made a misguided choice which landed us in a field of moguls until we found our way to some leisurely scenic slopes. At times we simply sat and stared out at the horizon or watched other skiers zoom by.

We played hard all morning long and by the time we stopped for lunch, we lost count of exactly how many runs we actually did. We could have called it a day and been completely satisfied with our morning on the mountain, but we were here to ride and ride we did. We didn’t stop until our legs were numb and our smiles were frozen on our faces.

I use this phrase a lot when I talk about Whistler, but there’s no tother way to put it…”We had a blast!”

Read More Whistler Adventures:

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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8 thoughts on “First on the Mountain – Fresh Tracks in Whistler”

  1. Whistler is part of the Coast Mountain range not the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies run along the border of BC and Alberta, about 700kms away. The Coast Mountains are big and beautiful though! Thanks for your breakfast review, I’m heading up tomo!!

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  2. Looks beautiful, you guys! I used to ski race, and on race days we’d all be allowed up the hill before the mountain opened to the public. It was always the most amazing feeling to be up on the mountain by yourself on a sunny, clear day and with freshly groomed snow…the only other time I get that feeling of awe and freedom is when traveling! Glad you had fun!

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