Monthly Archives: March 2009

Qua Ridge

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Stewart – Ridgewalking on Qua.

Saturday was supposed to be a staff and friends day of catskiing at Wildhorse, but that was cancelled due to rain up to 1700m. However the sun was shining, and I figured we could find some decent snow at higher elevations, so took a snowmobile into Qua. 

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Andrea – Dropping in off Qua Ridge (North Face of Baldy in the background).

After some glorious Spring sunshine on the climb clouds rolled in just as we topped out on the ridgeline. It wasn’t the lightest of powder, but we had smooth soft turns down the steep East facing gully line. With weather coming in we were done by noon in time for a relaxing afternoon in Nelson.

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Kootenay Pass – TR.

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Andrew atop Lightning Strike (with the line Jeff and I skied last week on the Muffin in the background).

I spent the last couple of days up at Kootenay Pass, skiing steep powder lines in the Twin Lakes area. We had a few sunny breaks in the afternoon yesterday, but it snowed all day today. It was certainly getting milder today, but the snow was still creamy and stable.

This is my first time using Windows  Movie maker. It was easier than I imagined.

 

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Post skiing deliciousness.

After a hard day of touring at the Pass I’ve a habit of grabbing a road-pop (they have Checkvar at the Silver Dollar Cold Beer and Wine) in Salmo. Today we also stopped by the Dragonfly cafe for a snack, and I got the Deadly chocolate brownie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. What a way to cap off the day.

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CAA Survey

I received the following request from Matt Gunn. Whatever you think of the Canadian Avalanche Association’s  avalanche hazard rating system (I’ve got some issues with it) here’s a chance to provide some feedback. Check it out.

“Hi there, I was wondering if you would be willing to post a plug for a survey the CAA is running on out-of-bounds skiing. We’re trying to drum up respondents for the survey and I believe your blog would reach our target group. This is our second year running the survey and any help attracting more respondents would be appreciated”.

Survey:  http://www.outbounds.rem.sfu.ca/

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Whitewater

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Everybody loves Whitewater.

I’m all for making the most of what you’ve got, but it’s difficult to understand why Whitewater skiers express such fervent devotion to their little mountain. I woke yesterday to report of 12cm at Red, and an invitation I couldn’t refuse to ski 35cm at Whitewater. Sure there were some deep turns to be had, it snowed hard through most of the day, of course the food and beer were tasty, and being around stoked people is a buzz in itself. But for me there’s just no getting around that I’m skiing a tiny little hill (1300′ ), with very limited and mostly intermediate terrain (much of which you have to traverse to, and a significant part which isn’t even opened on a busy powder day), with a shitload of people and a couple of antiquated double chairs.  I could only manage 4 runs by noon, and the mountain was tracked out almost immediately – although still lots of fun in the cut up stuff. I’m sure back in the day, before snowboards and fat skis, when dropping Backsides was a secret, before it became cool, that people were skiing lots of lift serviced powder at Whitewater, but that’s far from reality in 2009. 

Back at Red today, charging long steep untracked lines till my legs gave in, I was glad to be home.

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The Gathering

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John Falkiner (with mic) and the Verbier/Clambin Crew

It’s rare that we get to engage with celebrity in our little Kootenay backwater, so although baffled by the concept of the Gathering I was looking forward to rubbing shoulders with a few of the names (John Falkiner, Marc Shapiro and Ace Kvale) I’ve been seeing in ski magazines for the past 20 years. At Saturday night’s function in the Lodge, I realized the whole thing was a reunion of sorts for the Verbier/Clambin crew, and we locals were just watching in from the outside, but everyone was having a good time. There was some world class entertainment – Ace Kvale’s pics were stunningly beautiful, but Dave Heath’s  integration of animation  into his Kootenay lifestyle showpiece was the highlight.

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John Eaves – Rocking Rafters.

When I was neophyte ski bum in Whistler in the late 80’s, I was  in the line-up for the Peak chair to open on a blue-bird powder day.  While we waited, one of the local hot-shot instructors (Doug Perry) and some blonde babe joined John Eaves for first tracks with the cameras rolling (for Skiers Dream  which I’ve still never seen). As I remember it, in a white one-piece and headband John was in a class of his own, ripping huge fall-line powder turns down the Shale Slope, then launched the Waterfall bigger than I’d imaged possible and stomped the landing. It was a life changing experience. John and his band played rocking blues in Rafters till late, and at 56 he looked like he was still capable of charging hard.

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Cliff dropping

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Kirk sent this photo of me skiing from a trip we did earlier in the year. This zone has dozens of 5-15 ft cliffs with perfect powder landings. My idea of skiing perfection. It’s dumping in Rossland today …… a powder day tommorrow.

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OK Chute

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Cam – OK Mountain.

Another cold clear windless morning. Cam and I dropped a car, rode the lift, and headed out to ski the obvious chute on the East face of OK Mountain.

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Cam – OK Chute (Rossland in the background).

It’s such a beautiful line down the OK chute, though I only seem to ski it once per year. It funnels through dramatic cliffs and can sometimes hold great quality snow (we had powder in the chute today). It’s chokes out with Alder about a third of the way down (a worthy clearing project I talk about acccomplishing at some point) but we’ve found a mostly clear line that connects adjacent ridgelines for a continous descent to the cascade highway.

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Moonlight Skiing

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Dave – Mt Kirkup @ 9.00pm.

Last night – Clear skies, windless, a full-moon, and minus 15 degrees – perfect conditions for an evening lap on Mt Kirkup. Nothing quite like powder skiing in the moonlight (sans headlamp) with the lights of civilization flickering below. Skinning up the moon shaded north-face  we actually encountered another group skiing down with headlamps – only in Rossland.


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Mt Roberts – East Ridge

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Mt Roberts East Ridge – From Rossland.

It’s an obvious skiable line, visible from most of Rossland. I look out onto it from my bedroom window every  morning. That it requires a car-drop and usually ends in tight steep trees and poor snow keeps the number of tracks to a minimum. But given that strong winds had hammered all the North faces, we knew it’d be loaded up and soft on the East Ridge.

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Ed – Orchards.

In those areas that had escaped the wind it was still pretty sensational powder skiing on the hill, so we ripped a bunch of lines before heading out.

Cam – East Ridge.

Down the Ridge it was boot to knee deep fluff until about half-way down, then a bit thinner and firmer underneath, but we still enjoyed lots of fun turns through funky terrain down to our waiting truck. I guess Mat wasn’t quite as generous with his verdeict on the conditions. 

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March 9th Update

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Stewart – Twin Lakes.

March skiing has so far been incredible. Yesterday I had one of my best skiing days of the year – touring at Kootenay Pass with sunny skies and over 40cm of new snow from the day before. I then woke this morning skiing to an unexpected  dump of the lightest fluff, which with only a small crowd, made for a great morning on the lifts. There’d been 25cm of new snow and it was still dumping when I had to leave at noon.

Stewart – The Muffin.

I was super stoked yesterday to ski a line off the Muffin that I’d been eyeing up for a while. Jeff and I skied the East face directly off the summit, down to the huge cliff bands above Twin lakes, then traversed left and down a series of pillow drops leading into the LSD couloir about half-way down it’s length to complete the line. All this in knee deep powder and sunshine – it just doesn’t get any better.

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