Jan 18 2019

Another Season starts with lots of Powder!

Now that I have a house in BC, my ski season is split into two parts. In November and December, I take advantage of opening terrain in Colorado to get my powder legs. Then when January rolls around I head north to Canada. Unlike last year, Colorado started off with a bang as I managed to ski several deep powder days at Vail, Loveland and Beaver Creek. Below is a sample of what it was like – very tasty!

That’s my good buddy Joel Gratz laughing in the background and we spent a fabulous day plundering the deep untracked in Blue Sky.

I was also fortunate enough to catch the opening of chair 4 at Loveland so got to play in some of my favorite terrain in the early season. Then 2019 rolled around and I headed up to my house in Revelstoke. As usual they had great early season snow so when I got there conditions were prime. And as luck would have it, on my first day there I ran into my favorite guide GG and we proceeded to have a lovely powder day tour. 

At the same time, a crew of my friends had just arrived and caught a great day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort before we headed out for a three day cat trip at Great Northern Snowcat. To get there we had to take a ferry across Galena Bay which you can see in the photos below.

Once we got to the other side, it was a short drive to the lodge where my Revelstoke roommate Terry now runs operations. We had three great days of skiing with deep snow and blue skies the last two days. Day one on the other hand was a bit murky

On day two the skies started to clear and we were treated to fabulous views in every direction. We had a great group of folks to ski and dine with.

Notice that everyone has a big smile on their face as we had great conditions and a wonderful guide (Jamie – who I had met years ago at another operation) show us around. That’s him in the photos below enjoying himself – his enthusiasm was contagious!

There’s my buddy Joel again who as usual kept studying the conditions to add to his extensive database of weather patterns around the world.

And it wouldn’t be a powder trip without my buddy David who I have enough footage of to do a full length movie. He brought along his buddy Chip who most certainly enjoyed himself as you can see from the pics below

And Joel brought Alex along for his continuing powder training program he started last year at Kingfisher Heliskiing.While skiing with a snowcat does not provide as much vertical as a heli, it is more leisurely and still gets you to the terrain you expect to find in British Columbia. We got up high enough above the clouds to see the awesome views and found deep stable snow wherever we went – the perfect combination!

We also had a french trail guide (Nico) who entertained us in the cat and tore it up behind us on each run as seen above.

On day three we even took a short hike for a run that felt like Alaska terrain – big wide open turns for everyone! And it wouldn’t be BC if there wasn’t plenty of airtime for all with that soft forgiving snow to land in…

For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the lodge and while all the meals were instagram worthy I did not take any and just enjoyed the gourmet fixings. On the last day I had a Banh mi sandwich in the field – certainly a first for me. But as always the staff was wonderful, the accommodations lovely and the whole trip a delight! THANK YOU GREAT NORTHERN!!!

And now I’m back at my house in Revelstoke waiting for the snow to get deep again on the local hill…life is good!





Jan 11 2010

No more pineapple!


My temporary home sweet home

Now I love Hawaii as much as the next guy. I’ve had many a fine vacation in that tropical paradise. But when I’m visiting British Columbia I don’t want anything associated with the Hawaiin Islands particularly something known as the “Pineapple Express”. This term refers to a weather pattern where warm moist tropical gets funneled directly from Hawaii to British Columbia. While moisture is generally a good thing, the warm air that comes with it is not and can lead to rain throughout the BC mountains in the middle of January. I have experienced this phenomena before and it’s not a pretty thing. Unfortunately the area I’m visiting right now is in the middle of this pattern and while we’re fortunate it’s not warm enough to rain, it has made the snow very heavy and more importantly has caused a lot of fog which makes flying a helicopter quite problematic.

nice accomodations

nice accomodations

This year our group chose a new venue for our annual helitrip – Snowwater. Like all the heli and cat places I’ve visited in BC, it is very nice, with comfy rustic lodges, great food and wonderful staff who cater to your every wish. What they can’t do however, is change the weather. They do have the benefit of having a snowcat that they use when they can’t fly but they can only ski the local terrain for so long before it starts getting skiied out which is not a term I want to be using on a helitrip.

Looking for freshies

Looking for freshies

For most of the day we played hunt and peck with the helicopter and the fog. It would look like it was clearing, so we’d get in the heli but by the time we got to the top of the hill the fog would close in again preventing us from getting any distance from the lodge. We did get some good shots at the top of the runs but eventually everything would funnel back towards the lodge where the terrain would start to look more like your local ski hill than your typical heli paradise. Eventually we switched to the cat for our last run which was actually one of the better runs of the day as we accessed some terrain that had not yet been skied this year.

the happy camper in the cat

the happy camper in the cat

For those of you that know me, it will come as no surprise that I was less than thrilled with the conditions. Fortunately, I was able to remember that I was incredibly blessed do be doing a trip like this in the first place and it is still a lot of fun to ski with a bunch of folks as dedicated to chasing powder as I am. On every trip like this I meet really nice people whom I exchange snow stories and info with usually in the hot tub or over a delicious meal so I got that going for me. But if you know any weather prayers, please say one for me as I will only be here for four days and sure would like to see what these incredible mountains have to offer.

Nov 7 2009

Like I needed more encouragement…

You don't have to star in a movie to get this kind of powder - GCH 2008

You don't have to star in a movie to get this kind of powder - GCH 2008

Just got back from seeing the latest Warren Miller movie – “Dynasty” – the 60th anniversary edition. While I usually just go for the free ticket (early/late season midweek Copper, Winter Park or Steamboat or 2 for 1 during mid season) it once again reminded what a good production budget, excellent camerawork, strong editing and good music will do for you. Also seeing it on the big screen makes a tremendous difference – so while Warren Miller is hardly cutting edge, a live show packed with hundreds of enthusiasts makes for a really good time. That and and all those powder shots which immediately go straight to the pleasure centers of my brain and remind me why I spend so much time trying to chasing the snow. My name is Brad and I am a powder addict. Speaking of which, as I walked out of the show I guy handed me a small flyer titled “Powder Addiction” which contained this link to a new cat operation near Berthoud Pass. I think I may have to do some hands on research on that one…