Thursday, December 24, 2015

Good Old Rogers still delivers the goodies!

Apparently, much of the good things must come to an end one day or another. After a GREAT year living in Grenoble, I moved back from France to Saguenay, Quebec (that’s in Canada ;) in May. After a year playing the housewife, it was about time for me to get back to the work market!

It was kind a hard to find a job and after spending most of the summer whitewater kayaking to keep the boredom away, I eventually found a job in late September! It was just about time, since I was starting to juggle about the idea of stopping my work research and postpone my return to the work market in April.

Since the office were closing during the Holidays, I already manage to line up a first ski trip by adding an extra week of non-paid holidays to get a nice three weeks off.

The plan was fairly simple: go to BC and revisit good ol’ stomping ground and hope to be able to toss in a few new runs! With signs of winter and great snow dump in November and early December, it looked like the most promising skiing destination anywhere in the world for Christmas.
Winter really took its time to show up in Quebec. We are usually not dumped on, but at least the ski hills are usually doing a great job on doing fake snow. Such fake snow is a bit harder to make if the temperature hoover around +10Celcius...
I usually like to skin up a few times to warm up the muscle from their summer break, but this hiking boots were more useful than climbing skin to get around the brownish hills!

I was pretty proud to mount my very first pair of skis myself (I’m not much of an handy guy, so mounting the skis was pretty stressful!) even more that those Xalibu skis were design and made in Quebec.
The plan for this ski trip was simple: Fly to Calgary, rent a car and find snow...
That was until 7 days from departure, when Piet, Sarah and Freddy, (the Germans with whom I spent last Christmas in Norway with) sent me a message.

Snow was not coming to the Alps, so we are flying over to Calgary 3 days after you. We will be renting a RV and you are welcome to join.

I eventually got to Calgary where signs of winter were much more obvious than home.
After using shuttle and Greyhound bus, I eventually made it to Tree, a friend now living in Revelstoke, after a bit more than 18 hours of travelling!

It hasn’t snowed much, but the resort looked like a good option to get the legs warm up. I have never skied the resort, so I was pretty stoke to check it out! Tree was also all in to ride the resort. After a few laps where the runs were smooth but not so deep, we slapped our skins on and went for a little tour just next to the resort.
The cat-skiing terrain is just adjacent from the resort, but you can get to it after a 15 minutes/50m vertical-gain skin. The terrain is pretty extensive and you can get back to a cat-track that get you back to the lift after another 15 minutes /20m vertical-gain hike

This is probably the best ratio Quality vs Effort slackcountry skiing I’ve ever seen!

The snow was nice and smooth and I was pretty happy!

It did snow a bit overnight, so we headed back up to the resort to witness the improvement!
And improve it was!!
With strong with coming from the south, the snow piled up in the backbowls turning a gentle 15cm overnight into the best day of the season so far!
After lapping furiously until closing time, I rushed back to Tree’s place to pick up my stuff and head to the bus-stop to go back to Golden to wait for my German friends to show up with the RV!

The eventually picked me up around midnight at the bar were I had a few beers with a friend who lives in Golden.

We made it up to Rogers Pass first thing the following morning. I felt I haven’t been there in ages, but my last visit was in 2013. I guess since it is one of my favorite place in the world this is why it has missed me that much!
We headed up to Teddy Bear Trees for our first day out.
Weather was nice and snow looked nice and cold on the skin up.

Our expectations were fulfilled on the way down.

Freddy here tasting for his first time the Canadian goodies!

We scope untrack lines starting near the top of Grizzly Shoulder and dropping into Grizzly Bowl that was untrack. We made the plan to ski it, skin back up and head towards Grizzly West which is usually really nice to ski.
Since it was Piet’s idea, he got to ski the best open line which consisted of around 250m vertical of 40degrees untrack 25cm of snow... Beside his line, we all had good run since it is a very wide wall to lay down turns on.
Visibility was getting a bit bad as we got back up, we found the entrance into the Grizzly West slidepath without too much problem.
Grizzly West has a steep entrance that is kind of pillowy before opening up. Being a bit less popular than Puff Daddy because of the 100m extra vertical you need to climb to get in, there is usually a bit less tracks.
Life in the RV is so far not too bad! (and not too stinky yet!!)

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