Monthly Archives: March 2008

Steep in Nelson

After an incredible last couple of days of skiing 40cm of light new snow at Red, I’m packing away my hill skis and resting up for the Purcell traverse. We leave on Thursday. I just found out that the movie Steep is playing this Wednesday night (April 2nd) at the Capitol Theater in Nelson. It’s a documentary about the history of steep skiing, with interviews and footage of all the major players from Bill Briggs and the French pioneers to Doug Coombs and Seth Morrison, and I’m stoked that I’ll get a chance to see it on the big screen.

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Endless Winter

My yard – March 28th.

It’s nearly the end of March, there’s still over a meter of snow in my yard, and we’re still skiing cold, dry powder on the ski hill. It seems we’re not going to be getting any Spring skiing on the hill this year, and it might be a late start to the biking season. It snowed heavily all through the day yesterday, and I rode the Red Chair until it closed at 5.00pm (thanks to management for the positive change) , each run better than the last. After closing, I had my appetite sated at the reincarnation of the annual Turkey Roast. It was great to see a whole bunch of old and new faces participating in a real community celebration. Today was more powder skiing in the sunshine. Unfortunately I lost and never recovered a ski while skiing the Waterfall about half-way through the day. I went back on my touring skis and poked around, but it seems I’ll have to retrieve it sometime this summer. I’m not too concerned, as the skis were de-laminating and the the bindings kept pre-releasing. I’ve other skis I can use for the last few days, and I’m already considering what new set-up I’m going to purchase for next year (Scott Pures or another pair of Coombas). I did a lap on Mt Roberts in the afternoon, but found the Knife-edge into Center Chute surprisingly wind-effected. Skiing was much better on the hill. There’s more snow in the forecast, but I’m hoping it lets up soon, so that conditions can settle for our up-coming ski traverse, otherwise we’re going to be in for some energetic trail breaking.


Dave – Second Slide (Red Mountain in the background).

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Thoreau wasn’t a skier, but I think he would have empathized with those of us who devote our lives to this indulgent whimsical passion.

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from all worldly engagements. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shop-keepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon—I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago….” – Henry David Thoreau (1851)

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Easter Skiing


Jill – catching some air at the end of the day at Wildhorse.

Late season powder skiing continues in the Kootenays.  After a couple of great days  skiing at Red, showing guests from Salt lake City and Whistler a few of our secrets, I was back up at Wildhorse with a group of Red Mountain lifties. I don’t know who was loading chairs at Red on Sunday, but we were having a great time in the untracked mid winter conditions.


Rugged Conditions on Unnecessary Ridge. 

Today I wandered around our local mountains with Cam and Andrew. We toured up Kirkup from the highway, and skied the North glades. I guess I’m getting a little spoiled from all the untracked snow I’ve become accustomed to, and found it a bit tracked for my liking. So we traveresed over to the Old Glory trail and on up to Unnecessary Ridge, where we were blasted with horizontal snow in the howling wind.  We dropped off the Ridge on a slope I’ve never skied before (same aspect but south of the Hanna Peak chutes) for a great steep powder run and a long rolling descent down a gully into the South fork of Hanna Creek and on down the highway. It snowed most of the afternoon and into the early evening – so it’s going to be a powder day at Red tomorrow.

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Broken Dynafit Insert Post

I thought it was just the attachment screw working itself loose, but the issue with Dynafit heel insert in my Garmont Mega-rides is actually a broken locater post. I’ll call Garmont tomorrow and try to sort something out in time (15 days and counting) for my ski traverse.

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Record Mountain – North Face.

Stewart – Dropping the cornice.

After 3 hectic days of charging fresh lines on the hill, it was actually a relief to wake up to no new snow. Looking to stretch the legs and enjoy some smooth turns, Jeff, Denis, and I made quick time out to Record, and dropped into the North side for a couple perfect powder runs in the sunshine.

Jeff – Finding the goods.

…and charging. 

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Red Mountain – March Powder


Cam – Orchards Cliffs.

With 43cm of new snow in the past 72 hours, and coming up to our third powder day in a row, it’s good times at Red Mountain.

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Mt Roberts – The Hourglass


Pete – Dropping his knee through the pinch in the Hourglass.

With free skiing on offer at Red today, I thought touring away from the crowds would be a better way to enjoy the 6cm of new snow. But the crowds didn’t arrive, and the line-ups were non-existent, so I skied a couple of runs on the hill in my touring set-up. It was surprising how well the light-weight sloppy gear handled the still firm-ish conditions. My Coomba skis really are exceptional – I’ll have to write a review sometime soon. Not wanting to push my luck, I headed up Mt Roberts with Pete. The Hourglass looked inviting from the top, but we were really just carving on the firm snow underneath. Down in the trees adjacent to Center Chute it was more like powder skiing, good enough to lure us up for a second run down Gunbarrel Ridge into DL’s trees, which was a little less consistent. It snowed for much of the day, and there’s more in the forecast.

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Kootenay Pass – Four Chutes in a day.


Andrew – Heading towards the Rampart from Twin Lakes. 

The snow gods don’t seem to be blessing the Rossland Range at the moment, but only a hour away at Kootenay Pass it’s a different story. With good stability and dry, boot deep powder on Northern aspects, Andrew and I linked together four classic chutes for a great day of skiing.  Longer Spring days allowed for an uncharacteristic late start, but we we made quick time to Lightning Strike ridge for a steep, tight start and a 1500′ powder run down into Twin Lakes.


Funky Terrain on those Ridge-lines. 

The climb to the top of the Rampart (if there is a more established name for this feature – I’d like to know) had a few challenging sections on the narrow, steep and convoluted upper ridge-line, but the chute we were aiming for (the obvious line visible from the Pass itself) was less steep than anticipated, and dished up 800′ of creamy turns.


In the chute through the cliffs of the Rampart.

Our existing skin track made for quick climb to regain the ridge-line, where we met up with some friends from Rossland for the scratchy climb to the top of the Muffin. We skied an exposed, steep and narrow 1200′ chute off the Muffin into the North West drainage, then after a short climb finished the day dodging sluff for fresh tracks down the 1500′ Banana chute to the highway, and hitched a ride back to the Pass.

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Elgood Creek


Michelle – taking it easy on her knee in Elgood Creek. 

Michelle and I wandered up Elgood Creek this morning, checking out the snow conditions and just enjoying being in the forest. We found consolidated but still dry and consistent snow on protected Northern aspects below 1800m. At higher elevations everything was wind effected, and the skiing variable, even in the tight trees. The steep chutes off Elgood peak looked full of snow, but it wasn’t the right day for them. We sure are fortunate here in the Rossland Range, with so much great skiing that we can access directly from the Highway, ski-touring for a couple of hours is as easy as going to the gym.

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