Cam on Third Slide.
I’ve been getting out for a lap on the ski hill most days, getting into skiing shape and monitoring the conditions. 10cm of new snow on Tuesday covered the crust, but howling north west winds overnight and this morning have moved the snow around, and formed wind-pack on exposed slopes. With excellent coverage and a bomber base I’m now skiing on my new DPS Wailer 112RPs, and they seem to be handling the variable conditions with ease. Sadly rumours of an early opening at Red have been quashed. Conditions are already better than many openings I can recall, but until the recreational real-estate market gets hot, they’re going to be running an extra tight ship at Red. Opening now would stoke some season’s pass holders, but realistically wouldn’t generate enough extra traffic to cover operating costs, so I’ll keep walking.
Monthly Archives: November 2011
I’ve been trying out rockered skis the past couple of years, and have appreciated the turning ease and flotation of skis like the Rossi S7 and the Salomon Rocker 2. However with both these popular mass produced skis, I felt that the overly soft tails and lack of torsional rigidity limited their performance and range. DPS are a small boutique ski manufacturer based in Utah who have developed a reputation for building the most technologically advanced carbon fibre skis, and their Wailer 112RP model has been receiving glowing reviews in magazines and on the internet as a no compromise, rip the shit out of all conditions ski. Similar in shape to the Rossi S7 and Armada JJ, but engineered and manufactured to higher standards. They seemed like the perfect ski for me, and perhaps for many other passionate skiers. So I contacted the company, convinced them I could represent their skis effectively, and have begun selling them in Rossland. The traditional model for retailing skis out of a storefront seems antiquated in a world where a larger selection is available for less on the internet, but I’m gambling that there might be an opportunity to sell a select range of high quality skis, at competitive prices, with personalized expert service. They’ve been so popular that availability is limited, but please do contact me if you want to know more, and I’ll have demos available if you want to give them a try.
I often find the jibbing sections of ski movies to be annoying filler, but this was my favorite part of All I Can , the latest and highly acclaimed flick from Sherpas. Freeskiing pioneer JP Auclair gets creative on the streets of Rossland, Trail, and Nelson, in a tightly edited, funky sequence. Here’s a link to video of snowboarder Craig Kelly (RIP) making similar moves from 1991.
A group of us spent much of today wandering around Granite in the sunshine. Recent rain and wet snow has set up into a solid smooth base, that has suddenly opened up the whole mountain. It’s a bit scratchy down low, but perfect up high, and we were able to charge straight down the middle of Powder Fields without hitting a thing. I’m told that patrollers will start set-up this week, in anticipation of opening on Dec 10th.
Cam and I headed out for first turns of the season at Red Mountain this morning. There’s about 50 – 70cm of light dry snow on the ground, with no consolidated base, just a light crust about half-way down. Not enough snow to get adventurous, but on the moderate groomed runs where the alder isn’t too dense, there are fun turns to be had, and it’s been dumping hard all day.
Breaking news on mainstream skiing websites (that I peruse over coffee most mornings) is the death of professional skiing stuntman Jamie Pierre in an avalanche while snowboarding pre-season in Snowbird ski resort terrain. Most famous for pancaking a 255’ cliff drop into the record books, he of the “Jesus is watching over me” pronouncements seemed a bit flakey to me, but is being lauded post-mortem as a kind and mellow character. I just read through the Utah avalanche centre report on the incident, both out of morbid curiosity and to learn what I can apply to to my own travels in the mountains. I’m shocked. It can be unfair to harshly judge another’s actions in hindsight, but from what has been reported for Pierre and his partner to:
1. Not check the avalanche conditions report (which rated danger as considerable to high) before heading out.
2. Not perform any snow stability tests.
3. Ignore that there had been 10”-19” of fresh snow in the past 2 days, with strong winds.
4. Ignore multiple skier triggered avalanches occuring in the vicinity.
5. Ignore the large avalanche that they remotely triggered while boot-packing to their line of descent.
6. Not carry any snow safety equipment.
7. Drop into a 40 degree avalanche chute, that released immediately, killing Pierre.
Methinks a fitting cantidate for the Darwin awards, but for that he tragically leaves behind 2 kids.
After a few false starts, it seems winter has arrived in Rossland. It dumped most of the day yesterday, laying down 15-20cm of snow, and making for some treacherous driving (and walking) conditions on our steep streets.
In brilliant sunshine and full winter wonderland visuals I got out for a short cross-country ski this morning (just enough snow to loop around Larry’s), but it’s puking again this afternoon, and real skiing doesn’t seem too far away.
Cam surveying our handiwork
The transition to winter is a busy time in the mountains. So much to be done before a snowy deadline arrives, whenever it does. Progressively shorter days, colder mornings, and increasingly inclement weather. Cam and I found time to do a day of run clearing on Granite, a small contribution given the scale of what could be done, but year after year it adds up, and I feel a much more intimate connection to those parts of the mountain. From what I’m told and what we could see across the bottom of Slides, Red’s brushing crews have covered quite a bit of ground across the lower front-side of Granite. A much needed improvement.