I just picked up my new Garmont Radium ski-touring boots from Gerick’s in Nelson, and spent the evening fitting them and walking around the house. I can’t wait to try them on snow. I’m coming from the Garmont Megaride, and these are noticably more supportive, with refinements in the shape of the shell that provide a more even fit. I like the locking buckles, and Garmont are claiming that the new liner will resist packing out, but only time will tell. I was concerned that the overlap design might make for difficult entry but it’s certainly not an issue in my kitchen, though snowcamping at minus 20 degrees wil be the real test. I created a new toe cover to use in the molding process (baking them in my oven on an old bread board) – using a neoprene koozie (beer cooler) with additional padding on critical zones – and seem to have acheived close to a perfect fit.
With only 25cm of snow at the top of Granite, and perhaps 45-50cm in the Nelson Range, I’ve been cruising the internet to see who is actually getting any of the white stuff. Revelstoke is opening today with 80cm on the upper slopes (they’re advertising early season conditions), and there’s 145cm in the alpine at Roger’s Pass (but still thin down low). Lake Louise is open with 80cm, Sunshine with 60cm and Whistler with 50 cm. In the USA, it’s dumping in the East, a few Utah resorts are open with 50-80cm, while only Mammoth seems to be doing well with 125cm. There’s 80cm at a few resorts in Hokkaido (Japan) while in Europe, Chamonix just had a 40cm dump to make 100cm up high (the Grand Montet opens on the 29th) , while Eastern Switzerland and Austria seems the place to be, Engleberg has 150cm, St Anton 150cm, and Andermatt a whopping 210cm.
The NorthEast Washington forecast (the most detailed available for this area) http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecasts/display_special_product_versions.php?sid=OTX&pil=AFD mentions the potential for valley snow early next week. Bring it on.
Local photographer/film-maker – Derek Frankowski.
It was the weekend of the annual Rossland Mountain Film Festival. I avoid the mainstream ski porn that predominates at the popular evening sessions, but there’s plenty of quirky interesting stuff at the smaller venues. My favourites – Skiing in the Shadow of Ghengis Kahn , AK the Hard Way, Carts of Darkness, and the Frolfumentary. I also checked out Derek Frankowski’s photographers workshop – an interesting insight into the life of Rossland’s resident pro photographer, and a chance to check out a little of his new bike movie Lifecycles – there’s no doubt he and Gibby are setting a new standard for the genre.
Cooling the hot pool with river water.
I got to check out halfway hotsprings (north of Nakusp) for the first time on Sunday. What a beautiful spot. I thought Andrea and I would have to ski in (we had our gear), but the road was well packed, and it ended up being a (rare) day of complete relaxation. The higher peaks (Airy was completely covered) were looking tempting, but we really need some substantial storms to kick start our season. With nothing in the forecast, I guess Roger’s Pass is the only option.
A favourite photo I’d taken years ago of my ski fence and house reminded me of Stephanie Gauvin’s paintings. I passed it on to Steph and she turned it into something beautiful. It’s on display now at the Rouge gallery in downtown Rossland. Then this afternoon she stopped by unexpectedly with version for my wall – I’m stoked. To check out Stephanie’s prodigious talent head to: http://www.artiststephaniegauvin.com/
Andrea was keen (and I always am) so despite the potential of rain to 2000m, we headed up Idaho Peak yesterday for the first turns of winter. I was able to drive 4km up from Sandon (most of it ploughed for the mine), leaving a leisurely 8km skin up the road to the upper parking lot. It was pretty misty, with some wet snow flurries (it was a moist day) but the rain held off, and a a few skiers on their way down gave positive reports. I’ve skied some really crappy conditions on first days of the season, and this wasn’t too bad. In the consistent wet powder (perhaps a total of 50cm in the alpine – which should set up solid with cooling temps) you couldn’t really bounce em back and forth, but medium radius carved turns felt pretty smooth. The descent on the road was fast (I had the right wax) and exciting in places, but it was raining by this point and we soaked by he time we reached the truck – and the hot springs beckoned.
Walking the streets of Rossland this morning in falling snow, feeling the varying textures beneath my feet, high in appreciation of the simple beauty of the transforming landscape, I encountered the annual celebration of Canada’s martial history. The flags, uniforms, poppies, marching and bagpipes seemed so otherworldly foreign – I watched briefly from a distance and headed back into the peace of the storm.
With clouds that have enveloped Rossland clearing for the first time in a few days, I checked the Granite web-cam, and it’s looking snowy and beautiful. More snow tonight and tomorrow.
Looking into Kananskis from the Prarie View lookout (South of Canmore).
I’ve done a bit of driving in the past week or so, attending and presenting at the BC Mountain Bike Tourism Symposium outside of Chase BC, and then a quick trip out to Canmore AB. Lot’s of great bike riding on fun new trails, meeting some cool keen people, and surrounded by stunning landscapes – who could ask for more. I arrived back to snow in Rossland. 15cm on the peaks I’m told. Could it finally be transition time from riding to sliding?