Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some Kootenay love from Red Mountain

With Amélie in need for a day of rest, I headed back from Nelson to Kootenay Pass to meet up with our fellow German friends. The plan we set up a few days earlier consisted in meeting them either in their RV at the top of the Pass or at the Ripple ridge cabin.

I left Nelson somewhat early and arrived at the top of the Pass around 8h00 to realize they were up at the cabin.
I slapped my skin and started hiking.
It takes about 45min to an hour to climb the 200m or so up to the cabin.
New for this winter, there is a registration required and cabin fees as been put up in effect for the Ripple ridge cabin. You can reserve your night here.

As I got to the cabin, they were almost all packed up and readay to go. We climb the nearby Mt Baldy to get a nice short lap down back to the car where they drop their overnight equipment.
We were quite stoke about the weather that looked like it was going to cleared up, but all our hope quickly disappeared with new snow coming in!
We did some short laps on the east side of Cornice ridge. With the variable avy level, we played it safe and enjoyed this new snow!
Piet, Nils and Sara drove down to Nelson and for a second year in a row, they cooked my birthday dinner!
We split the following day as they were driving up back towards Roger's Pass and we were driving south to Red Moutain
It has been a few years since my last visit to Rossland's Red Mountain. The lodge as been upgraded, a new cat-ski area added, but the nice cool vibe of the mountain hasn't been altered. I don't know what is it about the south interior (especially the Kootenays!) but everyone seem to be friendly.
The new cat-operation give a ride up to the day user of the resort to Grey Mountain on which regular customer can easy access to some great terrain and conditions!
As I remembered, the terrain is quite awesome! It is steep and it is really weird to be able to ski a mountain 360 degrees! I personnally don't know any other resort on which you can do that! The weather was great and the cold temps was keeeping the snow just nice and soft!

I didn't remember how much slackcountry accessible from the top of the lift but it was quite big! For once, we stayed inbound and lap happily using the lifts and not really feeling like we needed to venture out of bound to find some great conditions!
I wish we wouldn't have to leave this place anytime soon, so that we would have been able to enjoy the unique ambiance of the Rafter bar, but road was calling us!

We drove from Rossland to Golden were we crashed overnight before driving the following morning to Banff were we hit Norquay.

I have heard great things about this resort which is the closest to Calgary.
Even if Banff doesn't quite get the precipitation that BC usually gets, the resort around Banff haven't been around for that long without a reason!

I do have to agree that even if the terrain is quite nice, it is the view that is really stunning.
Located about 5 minutes from Banff, you have quite an impressive view of the town and the massive Mt Rundle in the background.

Even if the resort is not renown for its powder, we were both surprise to find some deep snow even if the last snowfall dated a few days back!
Unfortunately, some of what looked like the best terrain wasn't open due to high avalanche conditions. All in all, it was a terrific day and a really nice discovery!
The reason why we were driving back towards Calgary is that we were both flying back to Québec. I was working (yep, sometimes, this is something I do) the following day.

As we landed in Montreal, it was pissing rain! Quite a contrast with the -15Celcius of the past days! Damn I was depressed!
I am now trying to survive my first period of work in January of 8 years... Now I know your pain! I've always thought that Mondays suck. I don't know what is it about the one in January, but they seem to be even worst! From full time skier, I have now downgraded to a weekend warrior! Quite a drop!!!
Stay tuned for some East Coast action!

1 comment:

Joel F. said...

Good luck with the eastern weekend warrior thing!