Sunday, January 6, 2013

Living in and above the clouds

We eventually reached Nelson after 8 hours of driving. There wasn’t much new snow around the Kootenay Boundary as there was on the Coastals.
Since I haven’t skied the backcountry around Whitewater for about 6 years, I thought it would be great to visit an area which provided me some great memories. Plus, neither Étienne nor JS has skied this area before.
We parked at the backcountry parking lot near evening ridge and headed towards the backside. The visibility was bad but I felt confident enough to give a try.  Even if the clouds were quite low, we figured that most of the better lines and opening in the frontside of the backcountry were tracked. In fact, the backcountry around the resort kinda had a look of a resort!
After passing through Hummingbird Pass, we kept going north following one of the many skintrack that have been put up. The skintrack that we were using hasn’t been much used. That either means that we are going to a shitty place and that’s why no one is going this way or we are following a less known backcountry spot with promising powder.

After taking our skins off, we quickly realized that we just hitted the jackpot. 

The trees that we were skiing hasn’t been much skied. We did one really good lap and on our way up, we scouted multiples great lines that were untouched. The clouds were still pretty thick and I remembered the backcountry around there to be quite easy to get lost and we started to figure the best way to get back to the car.
The easy option would have been to follow the skintrack that we took on our way in, but the skiing around this skin track wasn’t any interesting. We started hiking towards the south to get to a better face to ski down to the car.
After some debate, we had to concluded : we didn’t know where we were, the sun was dropping and the time was running.

We eventually crossed an old skintrack with faded skitracks beside it. We figured it would be our best bet back to the car. Fortunately, it was! 30 minutes after ripping the skins off our skis, we were back to the car.
With all the great lines we saw, we headed back to the same area. We pretty much got the exact same great skiing as the day before the main difference was that we were this time above a great inversion.
The turns we got in, were smooth and bottomless. We would have been able to use a bit deeper snow, but considering that the last storm was now a bit more than a week ago, we were quite lucky to ski in such great conditions.
Beneath us, was litteraly a sea of clouds.
The only downside of this inversion was that the south and west facing slopes started to get baked by the sun.
We got joined at night by one of JS’s friend, Ben who joined one of the trip a few years back in Rogers. It was great to see him again; especially since he was just coming back from a year long trip around the world.
After a few minutes, JS explained to him who cold it was a few nights ago while camping. Ben replied that he thought we were supposed to use motels and accommodation and that he didn’t brought any camping gear!
Oups, miscommunication!
We all tossed him and since the temperature in Nelson was fairly mild, we were all able to get a comfortable night out camping.

For his welcome back day, we headed back towards the backside of the backcountry of Whitewater. We started to know our way a bit around and since the skiing was still great, we didn’t hesitate much.
This time, we dropped from Mt Beattie down towards 5 Miles Creek, than climbed back up towards Whitequeen. 

Again, the temperature was perfect and the view was just spectacular. We dropped towards the frontside of Whitequeen expecting the worst.
From the view we were able to have from the parking lot, everything looked tracked. The south facing aspect let us expected to get some really wet snow as well.
We were able to find some great opening by pushing a bit more west from the summit and even if the evergreen trees were dripping from the really warm sun, the snow was not so bad.
That was some great time around a great place but it is now the time to head towards Kootenay Pass to check out some new options.


Dave said...

I see you guys have a GoPro. How about some video of your great adventures?

Evans Parent said...

I'm not into video editing yet but my friends are trying!!
The main problem is that I get to see the result about a year after the trip!

I'll see if I can get an edit that I can put online from the previous year.


Dave said...

Ok sounds good.