Monthly Archives: December 2016

Dec 28th, 2016.

Dave, Field of Dreams.

And then the sun came out. Remarkably little wind effect, and cold dry powder on every aspect and elevation, making nearly impossible to make a bad turn in the local backcountry. Finished the day dropping all the way in Patterson. 

Record Ridge.

The joy of living in an uninsulated cabin.


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Merry Christmas


It’s been a typical early season at Red Mountain. There hasn’t been an exceptional amount of new snow, but enough, with fresh lines aplenty for those brave enough to navigate the off-piste obstacle course. Crowds have been as scarce as any evidence of summer grooming.  There are some new faces checking tickets and loading chairs, tasty new brews in Rafters, and somebody has been busy putting up signs, but little else has changed. With the much hyped “Own the Mountain” crowd-funding campaign  losing momentum, and the massive new concrete skeleton in the parking lot still just a massive concrete skeleton, perennial community concerns about over-development seem misplaced. My friends, family and I are all healthy, taking time to enjoy skiing that gets a little better every snowfall. Merry Christmas.

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Lapping perfect powder gets monotonous for some. So instead we sledded into a new (for us) drainage in the Valhallas, breaking deep trail until the sleds got stuck,  continued slogging on skis until we ran out of day, and got one run in on a steep clear-cut. 

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Snow on the Way

NOAA Forecast for 6000′, just south of Kootenay Pass.

Snow likely, mainly before 10am. Cloudy and cold, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -9. Southwest wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Sunday Night 

Snow. Low around 7. Wind chill values as low as -9. Breezy, with a southwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.


Snow, mainly before 4pm. High near 24. Breezy, with a southwest wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Monday Night

Snow, mainly after 10pm. Low around 22. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.


Snow. High near 30. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.

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December 15th. 

Stewart, pic by Joel.

Another day lapping deep cold untracked powder lines with friends. 

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Arctic Air

Brent, Wolf Peak.

Minus 22 degrees at Kootenay Pass this morning, and didn’t seem to warm up much through the day. Made for the deepest and lightest snow conditions so far this season, but barely tolerable, even in the sun, and wearing everything I had.

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Opening Day


Elise on Slides.

Blue skies, fresh snow, and a surprisingly substantial base made for a great opening day at Red. The long first chair line-up and the frothing of marketing staff trying to generate hype were soon forgotten bouncing turns down fields of un-tracked powder, and by mid-morning we were skiing straight onto the chair. It’s low-tide on the lower mountain, with obstacles aplenty on poor line choices, but we were still finding fresh lines until we eventually gave our early season legs a break. The poutine and craft beer in Rafters were as tasty as ever.

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December 6th, 2016.

Temperature at Kootenay Pass this morning: Minus 17 degrees.

Snow-pack at 2000m: 190cm.

Snow quality: Sensational.



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We got a little more adventurous in our choice of terrain today. Lots of open water and obsticals below 1700m, but it all worked out. Snow surface conditions are exceptional.

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Parking Restrictions at Kootenay Pass?



The number of skiers parking at the Kootenay Pass summit have been exceeding the capacity of the parking area on busy weekends, potentially compromising the area needed for trucks to make their compulsory brake check before descending.


I spoke with an RCMP officer from Creston last weekend, who seemed pretty concerned about the situation, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to find this notice tucked under the windshield wipers of all the cars parked at the Pass yesterday. There was no identification of who is making the request, no suggestion of any penalties for ignoring it, and given that parking at the East side of Bridal lake is 500 meters away from the trail-heads we’re all accessing I don’t expect there’ll be much voluntary compliance.The much more sensible solution of clearing a parking area within the vast (mostly) unused flat area on the South side of the Pass would require MOT’s cooperation, which they seem institutionally incapable of, but I’m hoping that’s where we get to eventually.

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