At first the new chair seems like it really doesn't do much for the resort; the terrain is very intermediate on the lower end and will only bring more people into what used to be pristine backcountry. However, on further inspection it is a great addition in some obvious, and not so obvious ways.
Symphony only gets you closer to the start of the hike into the Flute, not actually to the top. This means you still gotta climb if you want up. That will make it busier but not as busy as if the chair actually went all the way up the ridge.
The first chutes to the rider's left of the chair are mint steeps and lead into classic glades. Now, however, where riding used to end and the old hike out began, there are easy paths to the chair.
More interesting than the riding closer to the chair, in my opinion, are the apparent options presented out of Sun Bowl, as well as that the chair does actually appear to spread people through the area.
Everybody knows it can get crazy out of Peak and Harmony, especially during the holidays. Saturday was one of the best days of riding imaginable, with snow over freakin' head. The snakes of cars into the village and the people lined-up around the mountain were substantial in the early morning while the untouched alpine was being prepared. I expected (I thought optimistically) that it would be 15-20 minute waits everywhere, all day. And at first it was.
After Symphony opened I was riding right on to both Peak and Harmony chairs, up and down without delay. Wicked.
"It's pretty surprising the line-ups aren't bigger," says Coach, a long-time Whistler area heli-ski guide. "It could be because Symphony just opened up. It should take a lot of stress off some of the other lifts."
Often if you aren't first to your favourite spot on a weekend powder day, the old mother is somewhat tracked out after 12. Despite playing around on Symphony for a few hours Saturday, I think it may have been the best West Bowl I've ever had Saturday afternoon, with few of the best lines lost.
How did you say? Boiiiinngg.