Jan 15 2017

Return of the Fantastic Four

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp

Since the unfortunate and abrupt ending to my last trip to Alaska I have not had the great pleasure of skiing with what I call the core four – that is is me and the only three guys I know that have just as bad a powder addiction as I do. We have done numerous trips together to both British Columbia and Alaska and except for our misfortune in Valdez we have always had a fabulous time riding together. So when my favorite sherpa Kevin started raving about a new operation he found in the legendary Monashee Range, it didn’t take much convincing to get the band back together.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

The first landing in the early morning light is a instant reminder of how beautiful it is high up in the mountains and how lucky we are to be there. The ghost trees are particularly stunning and other worldly. 

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

And then it’s time to play follow the leader…

As usual British Columbia has had a ton of early season snow so our only concern was the predicted sub zero temperatures which fortunately had passed by the time we got there. Instead we were treated to classic BC conditions – a deep base covered with a minimum of a foot of fresh wherever we went which got deeper and deeper as the week progressed.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kevin in his natural habitat

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

David getting buried

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Aaron finding his bliss..

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Rippin time

The Monashees are famous for their old growth forest and amazing tree skiing and certainly our experience did nothing to dispel that truism. Besides providing a natural slalom course, the trees help keep the snow in pristine condition by blocking the wind and letting the snow pile up for us powder carnivores. So while the upper exposed slopes might be a little wind affected and only have a surface powder layer, the trees are invariably soft and deeeeeeeep.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

One of the big boys…

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Not just tree skiing

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Oh chute!

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Quick, our guide’s getting away…

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

on his tail

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

oh, what a beautiful morning…

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

now there’s proper technique

But as you can see from the photos above there was a wide variety of terrain to keep us entertained. From tight chutes to long powder stuffed meadows there was big fun around every corner. And of course all of it had natural features to play in and jump off. And since the landings are all deep and soft, the temptation is hard to resist.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

And the man who lead us to all this glory

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Our fearless guide, Matt

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

showing us how it’s done

Of course none of this is possible without a great operation making it happen. In this case it was Kingfisher Heliskiing whose entire staff treated us like royalty and made our every wish their command. Our guide Matt Devlin, whose attitude is best summed up by his photo above, delivered the goods run after run with a smile permanently etched on his face (not surprising considering what we had at our disposal).

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

the long commute from our lodging to the helipad…

And beyond the great skiing, delicious meals, comfy accommodations and toasty hot tub that Kingfisher provided there’s simply just the incredible scenery everywhere you look.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

It goes without saying that the hardest part of a helitrip is leaving, especially when it’s snowing hard which is exactly what happened on our last day.

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

Do we really have to leave?

The four shots above were taken on our last run and as you can see it was dumping! This would also be a good time to thank Kevin for all the fabulous photos he took (which you can click on to see larger) which are the majority of the action shots in this post. 

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

How we all felt about this trip

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

nothing like riding with good friends

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

and with all this bounty

Kingfisher Heliskiing - Monashee Range

no wonder his smile’s so big

As always we shot a ton of video and like last year I’m just going to post a tease until I have the time and energy to go through all the footage. It was a fabulous trip with great friends and marvelous conditions so until I see them again, here’s a tribute to the Fantastic Four – thank you guys!!!

 

 

 


Jan 16 2016

Back in the Heli Again…

CMH K2 transport ship

Sure beats Uber…

After my accident in Valdez, one of the questions people most frequently asked me was whether I would ever heliski again. For me, the accident had less to do with heliskiing than with the inherent risks involved in riding big mountains. The big question for me was whether I’d be physically able to ride again at all, not where I would do so if I could. So once the docs gave me the okay and CMH advertised that they were having a half price sale, I didn’t think twice about booking a helitrip in British Columbia where I have had so many great experiences previously.

CMH K2

Home sweet home…

I had never previously been to a CMH operation (they have 11 lodges spread throughout British Columbia) and had always thought of them as the big box store of heliskiing. I had no doubt that they they offered a great experience, but was used to going with smaller operators and smaller groups. However they were making an offer we couldn’t refuse, so we decided to try something different and boy did that turn out to be a great decision.

CMH K2

The syndicate

The biggest difference between this trip and past ones is that we would be riding in a bigger helicopter with a group of 10. Theoretically, this could have meant fewer untracked lines, and longer wait times but in reality it meant just more folks to celebrate the amazing conditions with that we were fortunate to have all week. BC has had an excellent early season and after a long stretch of on and off snow, we managed to catch the first stretch of sunny days with cold temps and no wind to disturb our precious bounty.

CMH K2

Before…

CMH K2

After…

One of our big concerns with any heli operation is whether they “farm” their snow – that is they insist that skiers/riders stay close to one another in order to save as much untracked as possible for future groups. So we were thrilled to discover that our guides had a very much laissez-faire approach to our chosen routes down the hill. Basically all they required was that we meet up at the bottom of the hill so everyone got to enjoy fresh lines no matter when or where they started. And because the snow stability was excellent and their terrain is primarily classic Kootenay tree skiing, we got to ride steep untracked lines all day long. What else could we ask for?

CMH K2

You don’t always need a helicopter to catch some air…

CMH K 2

Aaron shows how free heelers do it

CMH K2

Kevin with his usual cat swallowing the canary look…

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Trevor with his V for Victory pose…

Originally, this trip was going to be a reunion of our “core four” – the same group that went to Revelstoke and Valdez together two years ago. Unfortunately, one of the founding members had to drop out but came up with a worthy replacement as seen directly above. We then spread the word and picked up three more associates who ripped along with us.

CMH K2

Did I mention how beautiful it was…

CMH K2

everywhere you looked…

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and when you got there…

CMH K2

there were never any tracks…

Since we had nothing but bluebird days, the scenery was spectacular everywhere you turned and the late December sunlight was glorious all day. This led to an abundance of picture taking of our very photogenic crew.

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Aaron finding his zen…

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What me worry?

CMH K2

Who took this photo?

CMH K2

Our staff photographer, Kevin Edwards, of course…

My good buddy Kevin always complains that I never give him photo credit so I’m going to publicly state right now that any good photo of me is his doing and I owe him dearly for that as well as all the times he pulls me out of a flat spot. Who says skiers and snowboarders can’t get along?

CMH K2

But enough scenery shots…

CMH K2

let’s get back to why we were really there…

CMH K2

to find deep powder…

CMH K2

to rip turns through…

CMH K2

run after run…

CMH K2

and I’ve got to say…

CMH K2

it was absolutely worth…

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every second…

CMH K2

of my…

CMH K2

rehab.

Of course, we need to thank all the great folks at the CMH K2 Rotor Lodge for the delicious food, comfy accommodations, rides to the Nakusp Hot Springs after skiing, and most of all the incredible guiding and terrain they provided for four amazing days!

CMH K2

Cool sign too…

It’s really hard to capture just how fabulous the skiing/riding was with just some still photos especially because when you’re in the middle of an incredible run, stopping to take a photo generally isn’t at the top of your priority list. Fortunately we also shot a ton of video but cutting that into something that someone other than the participants would want to watch is a rather large task. In my past life, I was once a video editor so I may attempt to do just that but for now you’ll just have to settle for this tease.

And yes, my surgically rebuilt knee held up just fine, so there will be more tales from the Gluten Free Snowboarder. I need to thank my surgeon for sewing me back together, my physical therapists for working me hard, my family for helping me in times of need and my friends for telling me I’d be back. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but also to put a broken snowboarder back on the mountain. Thanks everyone, and see you on the slopes!!!


Apr 3 2013

The rain in Haines falls mainly on the plains (in the mountains, it’s all snow)

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It’s been a slow year for me riding wise. Between another below normal Colorado snowpack and a partially torn MCL ligament, I’ve been on the sidelines for a good chunk of the winter. And between being out of shape and overloaded at work I even considered skipping Alaska this year but fortunately for me the plane tickets were not refundable so staying at home was not an option.

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Mike doing some preliminary research…

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David working the hill…

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Me, stiff arming the snowpack…

After a long painful odyssey involving extended quality time in the Seattle airport, we finally made it to the promised land. There the dominant color had been grey for several days so there was a lot of pent up demand among the troops when the skies finally cleared. The first day was spent exploring the close in terrain and sussing out the snowpack but there was still plenty of fun to be had.

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The hangover I can never get enough of…

On morning two we headed straight for an old favorite, “Hangover Helper” (pictured above). We were supposed to save it for the Nike film crew but we decided to help them out by checking for stability – turns out there was nothing to worry about.

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Clears my head right up every time…

Hangover is a classic AK run – a 4500’+ vertical run with that starts with a huge steep face, narrows through a gully and then has a playful and totally delicious spine at the bottom – and since we were the first ones through, we got to enjoy it in all its pristine glory.

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Doing a little recon on the “Dragon’s Spine”

I could have left then and felt like I’d gotten my money’s worth but that was only the beginning. We were now in that sweet spot, where blue skies, deep snow and stable conditions combine to make the mountains your playground.

We left a little something for the film crew…

The snowpack was a little thin this year so not a lot of technical spine skiing but the big open faces were more than open for business.

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Kevin about to have some real fun…

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Cause, look where he’s headed…

By Day Three, we were in the groove and knew we had to move fast because of incoming weather. We went back to Hangover for another helping and then moved on to “Deflower” which was still quite the virgin.

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Getting it while the getting’s good…

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No shortage of lines here…

With the clouds closing fast we headed for a hill we had often admired but never skied – Flower Mountain.

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Ain’t she a beaut…

Two untracked runs from the top allowed us to finish on a high note. We didn’t want it to end but felt blessed to get what we got.

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And it’s not just the mountains that are big…

As much fun as the mountains are, the people who get you there are just as special. As always the folks at Alaska Heliskiing were unbelievably helpful and welcoming (thank you Sunny, Gabe, Vicki and company). The picture above is from a King Crab Bake held at the owner Sean Dog’s house on Saturday night. And yes, that’s the legendary “Stifler” holding his latest conquest.

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My kind of gang…

I also need to acknowledge my partners in powder without whom the down days would have been much duller (they also took most of the photos in this post). The old saying “no friends on a powder day” doesn’t hold true when a helicopter and thousands of acres are involved. As a matter of fact, friends who you see primarily in a helicopter, tend to have very positive memories associated with them.

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No place I’d rather be…

So once again, I need to thank my lucky stars (as well as my family and coworkers) for letting me have the opportunity to experience such grandeur. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to get to Haines, but one spectacular landing on the top of a mountain makes it all worth while. Because only in AK can you have a once in a lifetime experience several times a day…

 

 

 

 

 


Apr 16 2012

Spring Skiing in Haines Alaska

The sleepy little town of Haines, Alaska

Not that I need any encouragement to go heliskiing, but after the horrible season we had in Colorado this year I definitely needed a snow fix by the time April rolled around. And what better place to get some spring skiing in than Haines, Alaska where April is prime time as the temps get milder and the days longer.

The featured item on Day One's menu

The season in Haines doesn’t start till mid February and I had been following the reports since. While Alaska had record snows early, by the time we arrived it hadn’t snowed in two weeks so we weren’t sure what to expect. We soon found there was nothing to worry about as is usually the case when you have tens of thousands of acres in your permit area.

The run above, as seen from below

We spent most of the first day on a run called Canadian Buns, so named because it butts up against the Canadian border. It’s actually part of an area known as Buns of Steel because that’s what you need to negotiate the 4000 vertical feet from the top. On this day we called it pure heaven as it was covered with lovely soft powder and totally untracked (at least when we started – almost all the tracks above were made by our group).

Check out the plush carpeting

As you can see from the pic above, the snow was very user friendly so even though the helicopter could have taken us anywhere we wanted to go, we stayed put and would still be there if we hadn’t run out of daylight.

David enjoying a taste of the fresh

Every day it got a little warmer but it didn’t matter as while the runs happily transitioned from sweet powder to perfect ripping corn they all retained the same basic characteristics – steep sustained pitches with lots of untracked lines, and really, what else do you need?

Yes, they really do ski stuff like this in Alaska - this one's called Tomahawk

Fortunately I had a great crew to enjoy this all with led by David Cole, the man who (thankfully) convinced me that I really needed to check out Alaska last year and who I now wouldn’t consider visiting Haines without. He brought another steep freak fiend named Aaron who brought another friend named Justin and were joined by two Taos vets, Keith and the Flying Frenchman, Eric. See the happy family below.

What's not to smile about?

As usual we stayed at the luxurious Plywood Palace which this year had been stripped of every non essential item and even some essential ones like silverware and lightbulbs – but hey, it’s a step up from a lot of the other lodging like the employee housing below.

Prime Haines real estate - location, location, location

But of course no one visits Haines for the indoor accommodations – it’s the stuff outside that makes any of the comfort sacrifices seem trivial. People come from all over the world and sit for weeks just to get a couple of days and once you’ve been there when it’s good, it’s not hard to understand why.

Aaron shows how real men do it

As I’ve mentioned before, even if you didn’t ski it would be worth visiting just for the scenery. You hear a lot about global warming these days but up there there are glaciers as far as you can see in every direction. All I can say is we better not be ruining it for future generations…

Typical heli landing pad view

Hitching a ride back up the mountain

And of course I need to give a big shout out to the folks at Alaska Heliskiing. As always they took care of everything we needed as I personally went through several rolls of duct tape in a somewhat futile effort to keep all my gear functioning. No one is there for the money or the fame, just the opportunity to do some of the best skiing in the world and help others enjoy it at the same time.

Once more into the fray...

So once again I come back from a helitrip and feel like one of the luckiest men in the world. We skied 6 days in a row which is highly unusual up there as all it takes are some clouds and flat light to ground you. We had blue skies, mild temps and no wind – the perfect recipe for spring skiing. And as always I’ve never felt more alive than when I was on the top of one of those mountains testing my skills and becoming one with the hill. That may sound a little new agey but if you’ve ever been there I’m sure you know what I mean. If there is a god, I’m sure he’s spent some time in Haines, Alaska…


Apr 17 2011

Haines – the video

Surfing USA

One thing there was no shortage of on my Haines heli trip was helmet cams. Every one seemed to be sporting one in every shape, size and manufacturer. Because of safety issues, there was no setting up for shots so unless you had a super long telephoto or optical zoom a helmet cam was your best bet. The problem with helmet cams of course, is that without anyone else in the picture they quickly get boring no matter how good the skiing was. So I have a good 30 minutes of endless face shots and untracked terrain which will mean very little to anyone except me in my old age. I did pull still frames out of any good footage I had of others or scenics from my still camera which can be found here. As for the rest of my footage I’ve decided to just post this one little excerpt from a run called T-Top. It wasn’t the steepest or the deepest and it went on for a good 5 minutes longer than this clip, but it’ll give you a good idea of what the riding was like including my favorite new snow terminology – “sluff management”.


Apr 8 2011

Alaska – the last frontier


The view from our cabin - the massive face of "Hangover Helper" (first run day 2) Haines Alaska

For years I’ve been hearing epic tales of  heliskiing in Alaska and seen numerous film segments of mind boggling terrain. I always assumed that terrain would be off limits to me as while I’ve spent a lot of time on a snowboard I’m certainly no alpha dog. But thanks to the prodding of an old heliskiing associate, I decided to give it a shot and boy am I glad I did.

First taste of some Alaskan fresh

The Alaskan heli scene is quite different from your typical heli operation. Out go the luxury lodges, 5 course meals and highly structured schedules. Here everything is about the skiing and everyone is on board with that. We’re staying in what is known as the “plywood palace” where the big challenge is trying to get hot water in the shower. However, the views are spectacular, the company good and as they say in real estate it’s “location, location, location”.

Typical run at Haines - notice guide circled in red

And it’s not just the accommodations in Alaska that are different – what really stands out is the terrain. This is true big mountain, technical skiing the likes of which I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Had they shown me pictures first of where we were going to ski I probably would have passed but once they dropped us off I discovered that not only was it rideable, it was a tremendous amount of fun. If you look closely at the picture above, you will notice a skier circled in red – our guide who is posted up in a place where he can keep an eye on us while we’re doing the run. The guides here are just like the clients in that they are huge powder hounds albeit with a lot more experience and thus would take us to places they wanted to ski – in other words to what is more commonly known as “the goods”.

Scouting from the heli

Where's Waldo - can you spot the two skiers in this photo?

The two pictures above best demonstrates how we worked with our guide. First he would point out potential routes from the helicopter on the way up. Then he would scout the slope, set up in a spot where he could keep an eye on us, and then send us down one at a time giving us instructions via radio when we needed them.  I had never skied terrain like this but was very pleased to discover I could.

Ripping it up on Old Faifthful

Mike avoiding the slough and enjoying some turns

The gods really blessed our group on this trip as we managed to hit the best conditions of the year so far with deep light snow, great stability, and most importantly good visibility.  The forecast before we came called for rain/snow every day and the week before they were down almost all week but fortunately for us the forecasts were wrong and we’ve flown all week till today. But when they are down it usual means it’s dumping up top and that was the bounty we found when we got out there. When our guide warned us to watch out for our “face shots” on a particularly steep run we knew we were in for a good time.

Yes, we really did ski the mountain I'm looking at

And here's what it looked like from above

The two shots above are of a run called “Indy 5000” – the 5000 being a reference to the 5000 vertical feet that the run covers. It is the kind of run you can only find in Alaska and one I never imagined myself riding. But with a couple of feet of fresh snow it was a blast and a learning experience at the same time. I’ve had to totally reorient my skiing up here – back in Colorado you look for the gullys where all the good snow is – in Alaska you have to stay up on the spines and out of the gullys where all the slough runs into. It’s a whole different way of approaching a mountain but is tons of fun once you get on the program.

Dave airing it out on Old Faithful

There were mellower runs too but what they all had in common was a thick layer of fresh light snow. This provided plenty of opportunities for enjoying the natural features of the terrain as Dave demonstrates above. By day 4 we are all fine with the weather turning funky as our legs were all ready for some rest.

The scenery isn't bad either

What is also hard to imagine even with the help of cameras is how spectacularly beautiful and impressive the Chilkat Range is. Ragged peaks, huge spires and glaciers everywhere you looked. It would have been worth the trip just to see these mountains no less to get to ski down them.

Guide shack at Alaska Heliskiing - note the pirate flag

Of course none of this would be possible without the tremendous folks at Alaska Heliskiing. From the office folk to the guides to Jack who gives us rides everywhere – everyone is super nice and more importantly on top of their game. I had anticipated maybe some attitude since this is one the premier heli spots in the world but no attitude here just a bunch of folks chasing the best skiing in the world.

My partners in crime

Also have to give a big shout out to David Cole (the guy on the right) who convinced me to come up here and his buddy Mike who is more than happy to share any and all beta on a run (and cooks a mean piece of salmon). One of the really fun things about these trips are the people you meet and this one is no exception. I’ve made a bunch of new friends up here in Haines and any time someone leaves the closing line always seems to be “see you up here next year…”


Jan 19 2010

O Canada

Love thy neighbor

Love thy neighbor

We had one final day after our love fest in the Valhalla mountains but sadly the snow and fog returned so while there was deep powder everywhere, we could only access the runs close to the lodge that we had been doing for days. Now don’t get me wrong, these were still great runs – steep shots with lots of fresh snow – but after getting a taste of what the surrounding mountains had to offer we were all hoping to experience a little more of the nearby terrain.

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Ah, the memories

All in all it was a great trip. I always love to check out new terrain and what better way to do it than with a helicopter at your service. In the end we only really got to go exploring on 3 of the 7 days, but even the close in stuff  provided tons of excellent riding.

My kind of run

My kind of run

This trip also reminded me once again how lucky and spoiled rotten I am about powder skiing. There were a couple of first timers on the trip who were raving about what was at best a marginal heli day, which is still of course much better than almost any day on a ski hill. But once you’ve tasted the kind, all you want is a little more. Fortunately, the day we spent in the Valhallas was pretty much worth the whole trip by itself as I will not be forgetting those runs and that scenery till my brain cells totally deteriorate.

What's not to smile about?

What's not to smile about?

I would also be totally remiss if I did not thank everyone at Snowwater for doing everything possible to make our trip a great time. The guides and pilots went above and beyond the call of duty trying to get us out in very difficult conditions and the staff treated us like kings at every turn. Patric and Mariah were tremendous hosts – it felt like one week long party with good friends that just happened to be at a heli resort.  I will definitely be returning some day to check out the rest of their terrain and give Patric another chance to level me with an infraction (it’s a long story). Till then, I’ll be checking the weather and dreaming about O Canada…


Jan 17 2010

All hail Valhalla!

Finally above the fog

Finally above the fog

We finally won the weather battle yesterday. No fog, snow or wind – instead we got blue skies and cold temps – just what the doctor ordered. This meant we could go exploring – and like the Norse gods of old we headed to Valhalla.

First stop on the Valhalla tour

First stop on the Valhalla tour

Patric Maloney, the owner of Snowwater has a saying – A day in Valhalla, a customer for life. Today we got to find out if this claim was true. The Vahalla range is one of three in Snowwater’s tenure and a little bit of a haul to get to but it very quickly became apparent that it was well worth the effort. The scenery alone was quite spectacular – massive granite peaks towering over beautiful valleys filled with old growth trees. But we weren’t really there to sightsee, we were itching for some big mountain skiing after days of fighting the weather around the lodge and Valhalla definitely delivered.

Keith airing it out

Keith airing it out

When people think of heliskiing they often see a picture of perfectly spaced parallel tracks down wide open glaciers. While that has its’ allure it’s not why we go to British Columbia. We go for the natural terrain park that nature provides us. Big rocks and cliffs, pillows and mushroom caps, nicely spaced old growth trees – you name it, they’ve got it.

Love those old growth trees

Love those old growth trees

It was one of those days that makes all the time I spend chasing powder worthwhile. Run after run of steep varied terrain with unlimited opportunities for airtime. The guides call them “gigglers” because as you reach the bottom of the run you’re as giddy as a kid at your own birthday party. For one day at least we were all in heli heaven.


Jan 15 2010

The answer my friend…

still chasing the dream

still chasing the dream

The weather has been a big factor on this trip. Every day we seem to highlight a different meteorological feature and today’s winner was the wind. We started the day by going back to Tropicana where we had great fun two days ago. When we got out of the helicopter we were greeted by winds gusting to at least 60 MPH. This makes for both tricky skiing and of course difficult flying. Our pilot today was Ben and there’s a saying around the lodge that goes “Ben would do it”. He certainly did a masterful job today because shortly after the flying started snow and fog joined the wind for the perfect bad flying weather trifecta. Despite that we managed to get 5 runs in before heading back to the lodge for lunch.  After our food break we headed out for a few more before the weather gods shut down the heli for the day.

the cat patrol

the cat pack waiting for a ride

As I’ve mentioned before Snowwater has cat backup for just this kind of weather. So midafternoon we all piled in and headed back up the hill. While we all would rather have been flying in the bird, the cat does have its’ advantages. It’s a much more social place with tunes and plenty of good conversation. It’s also a great place to take a nap if the urge hits. And at Snowwater while the cat terrain is short, it’s also steep and lots of fun. Adding to the excitement is the mad rush that occurs when 13 powder junkies all see a steep untracked powder laden slope below them. The guides do their best to spread us out but patience seems to decrease in direct proportion to how much new snow is on the ground. Fortunately there’s plenty of lines for everyone and there’s an extra rush of adrenaline when people go flying by you as you make your way down the hill.

lining up for the next chinese downhill

Tara and friends lining up for the next Chinese Downhill

All in all it was another fun day out on the hill. Where the wind hasn’t compressed the snow, it’s still quite soft and deep. And for tomorrow there’s rumors of another weather feature we have yet to see – the sun. Bring it on!


Jan 14 2010

Getting better all the time

Out in the great wide open

Out in the great wide open

Day 3 of our Snowwater adventure. Finally got away from the lodge and started to explore the Bonningtons, one of the three mountain ranges Snowwater’s tenure covers.  Didn’t take us long to discover that while there was good snow up high, we needed to avoid going too low if we wanted to have our legs last all day. After some good but thigh burning runs we landed in an area called Tropicana. Now I’ve been drinking Tropicana since I was a wee lad, but it never tasted better than it did today. A 2500 foot consistently pitched slope with widely spaced trees allowed for high speed rippers that would warm the cockles of any snowrider. The persistent fog that has been haunting us for days chased us away for awhile but dissipated in the afternoon so we returned to greedily chug the Trop till our belly’s were full. There were nothing but smiles in the heli at days end.

Kevin making the most of it

Kevin making the most of it