Category Archives: Backcountry

Mt Airy

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Cam, 2000′ to the valley.

After days of lapping powder lines through the trees at Red, it felt great to ski some big alpine backcountry lines on Mt Airy. Boot deep consistent powder, no wind effect, eerily cooperative visibility, stable (enough) snowpack, and a stoked group of friends made for a memorable day.

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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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December 6th, 2016.

Temperature at Kootenay Pass this morning: Minus 17 degrees.

Snow-pack at 2000m: 190cm.

Snow quality: Sensational.

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Parking Restrictions at Kootenay Pass?

 

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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.

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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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Spring Powder

Storming all day, with boot deep powder over a variety of old snow surfaces, and not another track in sight. Skied a few of the classic KP lines and then returned to green grass and flowers in the valley, and beer-o’clock at the brewery in warm Spring sunshine.

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Bluebird in the Norns

Sunshine and easy skiing powder made for a beautiful day of sled accessed touring in the Norns. In the shadow of recent instabilities we kept our objectives moderate, but the turns couldn’t have been any sweeter.

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Chillaxing

Storms keep rolling in from the Pacific, in what is proving to be one of the wettest winters on record. As is common in March, conditions fluctuate widely, varying by elevation, aspect and the hour.  I’ve been obsessing over the forecasts, calculating how to be  in the right place at the right time, enjoying boot deep powder, carving groomers in the sunshine, and everything in between. With heavy rain pelting on the roof and depleting the snow banks my yard, chillaxing (a term currently favored by my nephews) with coffee is the call for this morning.

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Ymir Lodge

Sometimes you get exceptionally lucky. Our group of 16 flew into Ymir Lodge after over a meter of new snow in the previous week, and 25cm the night before. Then the sun came out, temperatures held, and we shredded incredible powder lines for 7 days. The Rossland Range was visible in the distance, yet we were in another world, living the dream of ski-touring every day, eating and drinking like royalty, and enjoying the company of a great bunch of friends. Ymir Lodge isn’t quite as fancy as some of the much more expensive hut options, but it’s comfortable and spacious with everything you need, and the amount and quality of accessible terrain is hard to beat. I’m told there’s availability through March.

 

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Lost Creek

It’s been over a week since we’ve had any fresh snow , so finding some preserved powder on Northern aspects was a bonus at Kootenay Pass yesterday. Travelling was fast and easy, so we covered lots of ground, linked up a few descents, and got to ski a new (for us) line into Lost Creek.  The Southern aspect back to the highway was a painless mix of crust and skiable schmoo, and we finished the day with beers courtesy of the generous couple who provided our hitched ride back to the Pass.

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Visibility

It seems like it’s been socked in and snowing most of the time lately. My regular Thursday ski touring buddy and I have achieved almost nothing this year, because every Thursday has been a powder day on the ski hill (with another one forecast for tomorrow). Not that I’m complaining. I’m totally satisfied lapping my favorite lines at Red in powder, but it’s not been conducive to blogging. Yesterday the sun finally came out, and it was a beautiful change.

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