(other than the fact they are having a FREE DAY tommorow)
1) You can get there by transit-easily. From my place I can take the skytrain to granville station, catch the 240, and transfer to the 247 and be there in 40 minutes. That means I can get there by 810 and I don’t have to leave my house till after seven! That’s before the hill opens, and it’s not stupidly early (it’s about the same as driving from Cloverdale – but without the car).
2) The new lifts are great. The lineups are still devestating, but it now only takes one quick ride to get from the lowest to the highest points on the mountain. Thus, even though Cypress has a higher elevation drop, Grouse’s entire elevation drop is available on just one lift!
3) The runs are great. Devil’s advocate (an run I skied for the first time Saturday) is now easier to find, and it’s a real double black that goes down mostly under the chair, turning into a regular black for basically the entire 1250 feet of elevation. Purgatory gets you “behind”, has a couple good steep sections. Also – outer limits, a run I’d never found before Saturday, is huge – and although if you go way “out” you need to hike back as the road is uphill (very slightly), that means a huge quantity of treed terrain that takes longer to be skied out. Some of it wasn’t entirely skied out by Saturday, despite not having snowed on it since wensday. And Centennial is a great GS run because it’s not steep enough that you can’t go full out on it and fly off the rises (except the last one, because it merges with Expo and has all the idiot snowboarders sitting in the way). (It’s hard sometimes not to berrate snowboarders, but this is merely because no new people ski, and thus all skiers are good. Since all new people board, a very high proportion of them suck. In absolute terms, there are probably a similar number of good skiers and borders, but in proportional terms, borders are awful and I hate them).
However, there are some downsides. There is a very commercial feel about the whole operation. However, the place has so much history (the terrain has not expanded since the early 70s introduction of the peak chair, did you know they hosted the world cup downhill shortly after that? The Peak chair was technically called the “Olympic Chair” (they were hoping for some of the events if the 1976 or 1980 Whistler Olympic bids were succesful)- which is the real origin behind the term “Olympic Express” for the new quad – not the upcoming 2010 Olympics)