Following years of a dwindling snowpack, Whistler Blackcomb has removed the T-bar on Horstman Glacier. The move comes as no surprise to locals and visitors alike who have witnessed the alarming recession of the glacier over the past 2 decades.
Once a mecca for summer ski camps and off-season training, the undeniable effects of warming temperatures have left the Horstman Glacier a shell of its former self. Longtime operation Camp of Champions closed its doors in 2017, announcing the glacier had become so plagued by meltout they couldn’t feasibly build the terrain features they hoped.
Camp of Champions founder Ken Achenbach stated in a 2017 Facebook post:
“Every year, the final pitch of the Horstman T-Bar shrinks more and more making it harder and harder for Whistler Blackcomb to maintain. The giant pile of snow connecting the glacier to the top of the lift and the glacier itself is melting. This has accelerated over the last 4 summers. To give you an idea of how much melting has happened the last few years, in 2015 alone the glacier lost 35 vertical feet of ice. Last year, the entrance to the entire glacier had to be moved 40 feet lower. Campers now load on the T-Bar 3 towers up the glacier from where we loaded in 1989. The rock I used to sit on to do up my bindings in 1989 is 140 or more feet up the cliff wall above the camp park. They installed snowmaking two winters ago to help build up the snowpack. They farm natural snow in the area where our summer park is and push it to the T-Bar to build up the track. Despite this, the T-Bar couldn’t open until mid/late January this winter because so much new natural snow was needed to rebuild the track after the last 2 seasons melt.”
Unofficial Networks bids farewell to the T-Bar, a wonderful memory of sunburns and slushy park laps.