Monthly Archives: December 2007

Deep Kootenay powder

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A favorite little stash in the Southern Selkirks delivered again, with 3 days of ridiculously deep powder skiing. Check out the video of Andrew getting right into it.

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Michelle joined us in the search, and psyched herself up for some drops. Check out the video.

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I was inspired to create a mascot for the cabin, in solidarity with the caribou with whom we happily share these powder smothered forests and mountains.

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Turned Around

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After delaying our planned departure in order to ski the first 4 runs on an unexpected 23cm powder morning at Red, we headed towards Kootenay Pass to begin a 3 day backcountry cabin trip, but found that an avalanche had closed the highway.

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We had no information, so filled in some time skiing the Gas pipeline back towards Salmo (actually pretty fun skiing), but eventually had to abandon our ideas of touring in in the dark, and returned to Rossland. We’ll try again tomorrow.

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Filed under Backcountry, Eclectica

A very Merry Christmas

My brother Cam and I skied together on Christmas morning. The Red chair opened for the first time this season, the sun was shining on the smooth creamy powder in Poochie’s trees, and only a small crowd of die-hards worked on tracking it out before the clouds rolled in at about 10.30am. One of Cam’s good childhood friends is getting married back in Oz, so we recorded this short video to be played sometime during the occasion.

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Hiking up to Motherlode

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With 3 days now of skiing on Granite, they’ve all been powder days! Today was smooth, soft and sunny, and I’ve no complaints but that my legs are a little fatigued from all the vertical I’ve been clocking. Rather than waiting around for the Silverlode chair to open, and enduring the 12 minute ride, I’ve been hiking up to Motherlode, an easy 20 minute warm-up and almost guaranteed first tracks (other than Francois and Michelle beating me up there and dirtbag patrollers poaching my lines).

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Granite Opening

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Granite mountain finally opened for lift serviced skiing today. I hiked up to Motherlode early for coffee, breakfast and 2nd chair. The  coverage on the upper mountain was pretty good, got a bit thin through the rock-bands, and was an overgrown mess lower down except in the few places where the brushing crew got to this summer. The powder wasn’t deep, but consistent and carvable on the fatties. There were no lineups, and Michelle, Jordy and I lapped our favorite lines, which were refilling with the constant heavy snowfall and strong winds. After 10 charging runs my legs felt worked, and it seemed prudent to rest for the many powder filled days to come.

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Stan’s Backyard

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Until recently I wasn’t aware that Retallack had any permanent residents, but Stan and Deb have made it their home, and Stephanie and I were fortunate enough to have Stan give us a guided tour, literally of his backyard. With snowmobile assistance for the first 1500′ we climbed another 2500′ directly up behind the house, taking turns re-breaking the skin track that was constantly filling in.

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In a couple of days of skiing, our small group hardly made an impression on the the glades of thigh deep powder accessible from the ridge-top, let alone the untouched bowls dropping into Whitewater creek. I’ll definitely be back.

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Silverlode Opening

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With little fanfare and almost no warning, Red finally opened this morning, and I joined the  small crowd who showed up to ride the new Silverlode chair. The chairlift does what it supposed to, and 10cm of new snow made for smooth skiing, but there was no getting around the fact that this is an almost completely flat beginner’s area. I made 10 short turns on the first less-flat pitch, meandered across the middle fairways (they certainly make me feel that I’m on a golf course, and not a ski mountain), and then got in another 20 turns down Corky’s or the old Granite lift-line. Sort of fun, but 4 runs was enough. I’m now off to Retallack in search of powder, and might even hit what is sure to be an incredible opening day at Revelstoke on Saturday. Let’s hope Red gets dumped on and that they can soon open up the real terrain.

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Opening Day #2 at Whitewater

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With a promising forecast, we made plans the night before, hoping there’d be enough new snow to completely obscure the December 4th crust. After our first run down Blast in knee-deep snow (22cm from the storm), we knew we’d made the right decision, and our crew of snow starved Rosslanders enjoyed a great day of real powder skiing at Whitewater. Red Mountain received 10cm, and with more forecast for tonight, the lifts could start turning tomorrow.

I tried out the Stockli Stormrider DP Pro Model skis that ROAM was demoing, and found them smooth damp and easy turning, though the Fritschi Freeride Plus binding are definitely not up to the task of hard lift serviced skiing.  I’m still a little sore from crashing after pre-releasing.

The Christmas lights through the Beaver valley are ridiculous, making for a surreal drive home.

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Conditions update

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I had an opportunity to check out conditions in the Wildhorse cat-skiing terrain yesterday. At higher elevations there’s 30cm of light unconsolidated new snow on top of the 10cm thick crust layer. It would have made for great skiing, but we were just snowmobiling on the cat roads.

The day before, a small group of us walked up Main Run at Red. The sun was shining, and the walking mostly easy, but very firm snow under a thin layer of light snow made for difficult skinning up the bowl. Long Squaw (Rino’s) has had a few passes with the groomer, so with 5cm of new snow it was relatively smooth and carvable.

Tonight and the whole week ahead look promising for snow. Whitewater is opening again tomorrow. Apparently Red needs another 20cm to open Silverlode. The touring at Wildhorse is sure to be getting even better. I’m ready.

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Filed under Backcountry, Red Mountain

Firm conditions, but we’re still skiing!

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Following the rain event on December 3rd and 4th and subsequent cooling, conditions in the Southern Kootenays are thin and solid. Not to be discouraged we’ve kept skiing, enjoying the sunshine, the easy travel, and the impenetrable coverage to ski some more adventurous lines. On Friday, Andrew I skinned up Jumbo and skied down Third Slide, which was pretty challenging in places, especially through the rock band and the thick brush bellow, but we kept our skis on the whole way. On Saturday Michelle and I skied opening day on the lifts at Whitewater, which far exceeded our expectations. Ymir Peak was looking magnificent in the sunshine, carving on the groomers was lots of fun (especially on the Scott Mission skis I was able to demo from Gericks) and the off-piste conditions were surprisingly consistent, with enough light fluff on top of the ice to make for smooth turns on the moderate angled slopes. Yesterday, Andrew, Michelle, Stephanie and I skinned up and skied down Jumbo, with time for a picnic at the top of Motherlode (see above pic). I won’t pretend that conditions are anything but marginal, but I’m just happy to be skiing.

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