Friday, February 12, 2016

Discovering the Rossland range backcountry potential

We left Nelson to head a bit south towards Rossland. This village is for me a mini version of Nelson, so I have always liked to spend a bit of time there.
With a bit of fresh snow on the forecast we figured it would be a nice move.
We used the information from Backcountry Skiing Canada and headed towards Mt Kirkup.
The visibility was poor so we stayed low and skied through some openings in the forest.
I haven’t heard much about the backcountry possibilities around Red Mtn Resort, but I was pleased with what we found. The runs were not long though, but lapping it was nice and fun!
As we were driving to the Nancy Green pass to tour on a mellow terrain, we spotted a car parked next to a clear cut and a skintrack leaving from it.
We followed it and eventually ended up on Mt Pewman.
We had again a nice day skiing, but battery failure shortens the documentation of the day!

Having to leave soon, we made our way back towards Revelstoke.
Since we have bought lift tickets in pre-sale in November, we didn’t wanted to leave without having using them!

The Germans not that interested in paying to ski a non-powder-chocked-resort, we splitted. They left us at the public pool and after chilling there for a little while, we walked to a friend’s place a few blocks away where we crashed after making a gigantic nachos!

After lapping inbounds on the groomers for a few runs, we headed to the North Bowl were the conditions were much better!
It hasn’t snow much, but the wind had piled the snow in some nice and deep pockets!

We returned back to the resort, but headed to the slackcountry looking for some more freshies. The south boundary of the resort gives a great access to some nice slackcountry option. After skinning for about 20 minutes and gaining around 50m of elevation, you enter a nice open bowl. At the bottom of the bowl, there is a cat-track that you can follow all the way back to the resort.
We lapped it twice before giving the resort a few more runs.
Then we rushed down, hitch-hike back in town, grab a lift to the bus station with my friend’s roommate and catch the Greyhound back to Calgary.
That was the end of a great trip punctuated with less snow that I’m used in British Columbia, but it was also nice to be able to really see the areas that I’ve visited so often without being able to have a look at them!

Now back in Quebec where I’ll be skiing a bit less this winter due to the past year where I was busy not working!

Having moved from Montreal to the Saguenay area, I’m quite optimistic about some great weekend warrior skiing!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Revisiting the Kootenay backcountry: London Ridge, Whitewater BC and Kootenay Pass!

Since we felt Rogers started to be a bit track due to the lack of new snow, we hit the road south.

First stop was London Ridge near Retallack.
Piet has been there before and thought it was a good option.
It is pretty tricky but you can find some quite useful information about it here.
The skin up was in a logging road with not much snow. We actually got to an opening after a climb of about 600m.
The weather was quite spectacular with an inversion to top it off!
There were actually quite a lot of tracks already, but we made it to the west summit where it was totally untrack.

After snapping a few quite spectacular pictures due to the sun falling rapidly, we started skiing down.
The snow was really spectacular being cold, steady and blower!
The ski started to be a bit shitty around 300m from the bottom since there wasn’t too much snow to have a proper base.
We made some combat skiing keeping left of the main gully until we got to the lake at the bottom.
With a long approach and not that many options to ski out, I wouldn’t return there too soon.
We drove south to the Whitewater parking lot where we slept.

The backcountry around the resort was so tracked it looked like a resort!
We skinned a bit deeper towards Mt Beattie figuring it would be a good option since it was north facing.

The snow was effectively nice and surprisingly untrack!
We stayed overnight in the parking lot.
I was at the exact same spot about 10years from now with not as much of a pimp setup!
Souvenirs from my first winter ski-tripping!
Ten years after...
The skiing was so good that we returned for another round!
After another great day of skiing, we headed to another classic : Kootenay Pass!
I’ve never been to this pass in good weather. With the avy forecast being on the Low side again, we headed towards what is call ‘The Muffin’. This mountain is located on the south side of the highway and looked quite promising!
We toured under a bright blue sky and ski (again) some great pow!!
I've always thought of Kootenay pass as a non-steep option, but we found some nice lines!
With the high pressure sticking around a bit more, we ventured on the north side of the road to have a good view of what really is on this side!
The weather from the day before has really affected everything that was a bit south or west facing and created a quite solid suncrust.

Nevertheless, we found some great snow and had and awesome day touring around!
We looked at the map to try to find backcountry spots we all have never been. We eventually settled to head towards Rossland and ski the backcountry around there.
We quitted the pass and spend the day in Nelson which is one of my favourite city in Canada to resupply, rest and shower!
Now off to Rossland!!