May 23rd marked the official closing day of Whistler Blackcomb and it was a Gaper that will go down in the history books. For the first time in three years Blackcomb mountain has remained open for its regularly scheduled spring ski season. As I’m sure you may remember a little virus called Covid-19 caused many ski resorts around the world to cut the past two seasons short, abruptly and without warning. Of Course public safety, and halting the spread was very important and we all understand why it had to be done, but what about gaper day?
Gaper day is the unofficial name for closing day. To learn a bit more about this very special day, we must first get to the root of the word: Gaper. The term “Gaper” has long been used to describe the type of skier who isn’t a die hard, expert skier but rather a seeker of fun who cares not about the latest gear nor cutting edge ski technology. They use whatever gear they can scrape together. The typical gaper ski outfit consists of jeans tucked into rear entry boots, football team jacket, has no idea what parabolic skis are and skis in a “tuck” position at all times. Technique and looking good are not important to a gaper, all they care about is what really matters – having FUN!
This spring marked the first Gaper day in three seasons, and you could tell. Locals and tourists alike came out in droves and they were dressed to impress. Retro ski suits, bikinis, speedo’s, recycled halloween costumes and of course the #1 Gaperday classic – the birthday suit, were all spotted in large numbers sliding down that beautiful corn snow. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Gaper day is a great reminder to all us skiers that skiing is about having fun and being silly with your friends while sliding down a snow covered hill with slippery sticks attached to your feet. Sure there’s more to it than just that, but when you boil it down, that’s what it’s all about.
Big shout out to the gentlemen who rescued countless gapers from the pond skim. You saved lives that day!
A huge thank you to the ski patrol and staff of Whistler Blackcomb. Thanks for the great season!
Editorial and photos by Chris Dane German @dangermanvisuals @c.dangerman_