Monthly Archives: February 2008

Flaming Couch catches air!

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About to take off.

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Showing excellent form in the air.

The old fold-out couch had done it’s time in the patrol shack atop Red, and had to go. Fortuitously Jordy and had decided to finish our day with a couple of runs on Red, so were able to witness and help out as the couch was disposed of in classic Red Mountain style. Skis were attached to the base, it was dragged into place, doused with gas and set alight, then to the accompaniment of cheers from the small crowd, was let fly down the first pitch of Back-trail, catching serious air-time off the Steil-hang, before disintegrating into a well dispersed trail of smoking debris. Thanks to Meg for the pics.

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Roger’s Pass – Bonney Glacier

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Lunch break atop the Bonney Glacier

Although I’ve still got loads of great unused pics, this is probably the last post from my recent Roger’s Pass trip. For the final day of the trip we packed up early and skied out of the Wheeler hut, drove down the Trans Canada a short distance, and skinned up Loop Brook. Our objective was the north facing slopes of the Bonney Glacier. After hearing our nightly fire-side stories in the Wheeler, a couple of skiers from a larger UofA group were keen to try something a bit more adventurous than their experience would have otherwise allowed, so joined us for the day. Conditions remained perfect, warm in the sun, but the snow remained cold and dry, we had a a skin track to follow to the top, and untracked expanses on the way down.

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Andrew – cruising on the Bonney.

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Andrew – threading a line through the lower pillows.

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The end of a great trip – Lisa, Brace, Kirk and Andrew freshening up in Loop Brook.

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Roger’s Pass – Lily Glacier

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Andrew – Checking out the line from Dome Saddle.

Another classic run at Rogers Pass – dropping into the steep wind-roll from the Dome Saddle (accessed from the Asulkan side) onto the Lily Glacier, skiing West facing slopes lit up by the afternoon sun, on easy open terrain and a series of huge rolls, breaking right for a steep North facing pitch into the valley.

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Andrew – skiing on the Lily Glacier.

The ski-out down Loop Brook is shorter and steeper, far more fun and less effort than the long flat push out from the Asulkan. Altogether a fine 4500′ descent.

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Ben (Bin) – checking out my tracks, before giving it a try himself (2001).

Which reminds me – In 2001, while winter camping in the day-use shelter just off the highway, I was touring up Loop-Brook and noticed a likely gap jump adjacent to the skinning track. It’s not that technical, but clears a precipitous canyon, and I thought it might make a wild photo. I don’t think we actually got the action shot, just this one of my track, but it makes me laugh every time I ski by.

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Red Mountain – Conditions Update

It’s been well over a week since I skied the lifts at Red, and anecdotes of hard chattering snow and huge bumps had me less than enthusiastic. But yesterday I woke to a reported 12cm of new snow and clear skies on the web-cam, so I waxed my skis and checked it out. The new snow was a little on the heavy side, but all the better for covering and padding, and on smooth sections and areas where the old snow hadn’t been sun affected and frozen (Northern aspects), the skiing was great. Not quite a full-speed charging powder day, but easily 80%. The Monday turn-out was tiny, with no lift-lines, and the visibility was perfect until about mid-day, when the fog rolled in. The forecast for the next week looks promisingly snowy.

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Our Backyard

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Cam – Dropping in to the Double Hour Glass 

After a week of incredible skiing at Roger’s Pass, we figured Kirk from Vermont needed to try out our local touring, so yesterday we skied Old Glory. A short intense blizzard was just finishing dropping 5cm of heavy powder atop mostly refrozen snow, making for balling-up (bring your skin wax) and then extra firm skinning (my new B&D ski crampons came in handy) and pea-soup visability, but we climbed into sunshine at the summit. The double-hour-glass was firm-ish but very carvable (although a bit rocky through the lower pinch), while the Hanna chutes provided smooth turns on consolidated powder. The ski-out was corn snow, getting sticky at the bottom. Altogether a fun day with lots of variety.
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Cold Kootenays to finish the day – Stew, Andrew, Kirk, & Cam.

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Revelstoke Mountain Resort

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Alison on Kill the Banker. 

Before heading to Roger’s Pass I got a chance to ski at the new Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Unfortunately my visit corresponded with both Alberta’s Family Day and President’s Day in the US, so the lifts and the especially the parking were overwhelmed, but it was a sunny day with 20cm of new snow, the ticket was cheap (just $44 with my Red Pass) and I had a local friend to show me around, so we had a fun day. I’ve skied many mountains that don’t measure up to the skiing I enjoy on a regular basis at Red, so I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the hype, but I was impressed. The bottom half of the Resort is always going to be marginal skiing, so the huge vertical will really only come into play once or twice a day (just like skiing at Whistler), but the the upper mountain is both more extensive and provides better quality skiing (bowls, cliffs, and gladed trees) than I had anticipated. The facilities are first-class (what a contrast to Red!), the views incredible, the snowfall adequate (though they’ve positioned the resort on perhaps the least snowy mountain in the region), and when the proposed new lifts are in place and all the terrain is accessible, it’ll be hard to beat. Revelstoke itself is woefully unprepared for the changes taking place, still a red-neck town without the services to meet the needs of the resort driven influx (despite the crowds of forlorn caffeine  junkies wandering about on Sunday morning, all the coffee shops and breakfast joints in downtown were closed) , but with the speed that condos are selling and housing prices are rising, it won’t be long before Revelstoke is transformed into another resort town for elites.

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Roger’s Pass – Asulkan Glacier

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Plenty of Fresh Lines.

The 4000′ North-East facing lines on the Asulkan Glacier off the Dome Saddle and Sapphire Col always seem to always deliver exceptional skiing. With steep rolls, exposed ice, and more than a few drops to add excitement, and enough terrain to always find fresh lines, you could easily spend an entire trip just lapping the same skinning track. Although after grinding up that monster 4 times in 5 days (including twice in one day) I was beginning to imagine myself bound in some Sysiphean predicament (perhaps I am?).

Here’s some video of Andrew enjoying the powder below Sapphire Col.

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Kirk Kardashian – Dropping in from Sapphire Col (A long way from Vermont).

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Kirk – On the third pitch.

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Our Late Afternoon tracks off the top of the Dome Glacier (there’s nothing quite like that edge of the world feeling as you drop over a huge convex roll) .

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