Monday, January 14, 2013

Back to the stormy weather of Kootenay Pass and Whitewater

As we got back to Kootenay Pass, we found it pretty much in the same state we left it: cloudy.
Since we saw some fellow leaving for the backcountry on our way up from Creston about 3-4km from the summit, we figured it might be a good idea to start our day lower than the top of the Pass.

We hit an old logging road that was wrapping around what are called the Camel's hump. 
After about an hour of relatively easy hiking without much gain of elevation, we eventually started climbing.
We found an old skintrack that made the climb up the about 700m vertical run quite easy. From the top of the Camel's hump, you can clearly see the road.

We dropped towards the backside into some great openings through the perfectly spaced trees.
That was really quite a great run. The slight uphill on the old logging run slide real easy back to the car. Quite an extraordinary well preserved run after all this time without much new snow!

We drove down to Nelson, probably my favorite town in BC to spend the night. 

With a bit of new snow overnight all the way down into town, we drove back up towards Kootenay pass the following morning. 

The weather seemed like it wanted to clear up we head towards Cornice ridge. 

Unfortunately for us, the visibility got quite bad real quick. We did a few laps nevertheless through the openings.
Even if the snow was great, Amelie's old back injury got her to pain that wasn't compatible with more skiing. We then cut the day short and drove back to Nelson to spend the rest of the day to the institution which is the Oso Negro.

This great cafe located downtown Nelson certainly deserves a visit if you ever make it to Nelson. The nice vibe and great ambiance certainly makes it a must stop.

With Amelie's back rejuvenate, we drove back to the pass just to find pretty much the same conditions as the day before. With about 30-40cm of new snow in the past days, the conditions were just great!

Since the avy danger was fairly high, we didn't venture too far into the backcountry and stick to some more mellow treed runs.


After another great day delivered by Kootenay Pass, we head back to our car. We found our German friends from last year: Piet. He was again back to BC in a rented RV traveling this time with his girlfriend Sarah and his friend Nils.

Since we were planning to visit Whitewater resort the following day and the Germans were planning to go up to Ripple Ridge cabin, we made a plan to meet up again at the top of the pass in 2 days.

With some new snow overnight, we figured it would be great to visit this real gem of the Kootenays. It has been probably about 5 years since I last visited this resort. Located about 20 minutes from Nelson, with an average of 12m (that's 40feet ) of snow, it is a bit under the radar from the main destination. 
Since this visit, they added a new chairlift and by doing so, they extended the skiable terrain to 1184 acres. There was about 15cm of new snow overnight so the conditions were just nice and soft!

Even if the resort enlarge his terrain, it still have the felling of a small local resort. People were cheering  as we were skiing down under the chairlift and it seems that everyone knew each other.

Just to add to the small resort feeling, we bumped into one of Amelie's friend from Quebec. Jeff was doing his first (and I'm sure it won't be the last) pilgrimage to also out for skiing around the beautiful Kootenays.  We did a few laps with him rediscovering this great little resort.
I don't know why I've waited that long to ski this resort or why I haven't hit it more often in the past years. This resort simply have it all with steep lines, open trees, great bowls, short liftlines, smiling staff, great food, indescribable unique vibe and an awesome bar. It certainly should be high on your hit list if you have never skied it. If you have skied it before, I'm sure you know how great this place is.
As we left the ski hill, the snow was still falling hard. Once again, Whitewater has delivered a great day of skiing. 

As always, as we left I had a little pinch since I was leaving what I considered one of the best ski lift area of Canada.

Just a few more days to come before I have to leave BC. 

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