Whistler removes Horstman T-Bar

19th July 2020, by Abi Butcher

Iconic freeskier and POW Canada chair Mike Douglas on the Horstman Glacier, Whistler

Iconic freeskier and POW Canada chair Mike Douglas on the Horstman Glacier, Whistler

The Horstman T-Bar lift in Whistler-Blackcomb was removed this week, because the glacier has receded so much the ski lift was no longer serviceable.

The Horstman Glacier at the top of Whistler-Blackcomb has been a cause for concern among locals for many years. Once a mecca for summer skiing and a regular spot for ski teams to train, climate change has led to the glacier melting so much that the T-bars were left hanging high above the dwindling snowpack, even during winter.

When Where to Ski & Snowboard’s web editor Abi Butcher was skiing there in March 2019, she met up with friend and professional skier Mike Douglas, a Whistler local and one of the founders and now chairman of Protect Our Winters (POW) Canada.

Standing at the top of the glacier, looking out over the bowl, Mike told me: “The whole bowl was way more filled in with snow, like a rounded and full bowl of milk — but now there’s only half as much milk.”

Over the 2018/19 season he said Whistler-Blackcomb had been “fighting all winter” to make the Horstman T-Bar work for summer camps but were only just holding on to it.

“It’s been a gradual change over the decades but in the past 10-15 years it’s been changing more dramatically,” said Mike, who trained on the glacier in summers as teenager.

Now, the lift is no more, and the resort said in a statement: “Over time, the Horstman Glacier’s profile has changed to the point the Horstman T-bar became inoperable and required us to remove it. The Showcase T-bar is in a better location and will continue to service the glacier for both summer and winter. We are looking forward to welcoming skiers and riders for the winter season, several months away, and our intent is to be back to summer glacier skiing in 2021”


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