Whister: Different from Ontario

By: Benjamin Osorio

I am from Huntsville, Ontario and have had the good fortune to train in a number of places throughout the province. I am new to B.C, and am loving the differences and challenges in training environments.

As many of you are aware, B.C varies from the coast to the interior climate and topographical features. Because our training center is in the beautiful Callaghan Valley in the Whistler area, the temperature and precipitation reflect the coastal climate with all of the beauty of majestic forests and rugged mountains. The majority of trees here are pine and are draped with “tree beard,” which is a moss-like plant that gives conifers the impression of having beards. There are also giant cedars the likes of which I’ve never seen in Ontario. I’ve grown quite fond of one giant that lives right where we tend to do our roller ski sprints. The tree is a great reminder that I’m no longer at home.

B.C has many mountains, which are quite a change from the rolling hills back home. The mountains make the trails here in Whistler quite challenging with long climbs and gnarly descents. The long climbs are great to practice striding and to focus on staying in zone. The hills in Ontario are usually quite short.   Powering up them and slightly elevating your heart rate is not a big difficulty because when the ground levels out, your heart rate returns to an appropriate level.   Getting a longer glide and staying relaxed has been a big focus for me this year.   I am working with the climbs instead of fighting them. Altitude is also something that Ontarians don’t have to contend with, but in B.C it’s a very real factor. This makes for interesting hikes where at the bottom you might only be wearing a t-shirt, but by the top, you’ll need a long-sleeved shirt or jacket.

The mountains also make the weather change more quickly. One day it snowed, became sunny then snowed again ending with sun in the span of a few hours.  Precipitation is much greater. In Whistler it rains all the time - not the most ideal for fall training.  Boot dryers are a great invention!  Come winter, the rain turns to snow, and a lot of it. The snow also tends to come earlier and is denser and heavier. Sometimes the snowflakes are huge when they come down. For anyone considering moving out West I recommend buying a pair of zero skis. They will likely become your go-to classics.

So far, this is what I have experienced. Though it has not yet been a full year that I’ve lived here, I look forward to the many things I have not yet experienced, but that will become part of my B.C. life.


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