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!

 

 

 

 


May 3 2013

Mayday! Mayday!

A snow beard in May?

A powder beard in May?

My trip to Alaska let me know my knee was ok and got me pumped for the rest of the season. The only problem was that it had not been snowing much in Colorado and last year there was no snow after mid March so there were lots of fears that 2013 would be a repeat. However, if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that nobody knows what mother nature will do. This year in Colorado, she decided to play a mean trick and wait till most resorts closed before turning on the snow spigot. The biggest snow cycle of the year started the day after Vail shut down for the season and continued till they reopened a week later – the first time they’ve done that in 26 years. I was lucky enough to catch the reopening which was quite spectacular and like all good days at Vail, very well attended as you can see from the photo below.

3 feet of untracked tends to draw a crowd

For those who can’t bear for the season to end both Loveland and A-Basin stay open till at least May and tend to do well in spring storms. This year has proven to be a stellar example as Loveland has received over 100 inches since April 1st – no fooling! I was fortunate to catch three days during that stretch – all of which were at least a foot with the last on May 2 being a 17″ in 24/24″ in 48 extravaganza. I was too busy snarfing powder to take many pictures but did record the clip below for authentication purposes.

So sadly it seems like another season has come to an end (at least the powder chasing part). This one had it’s ups (BC, Alaska, powder days in May) and downs (MCL tear, another below average snow year for Colorado) but all in all just thankful that I get to play in the first place. And hell, October is just 6 short months away…


Apr 27 2011

Springtime in the Rockies

Going...

going...

gone...

When I was up in Alaska, everyone kept telling me that I would now be ruined for skiing anywhere else. But for me the exact opposite seems to be true because as with any true addiction, a good dose just makes me want more. Fortunately for me, this April in Colorado has been stellar and provided me with numerous opportunities to get fresh fixes. Yesterday it was Loveland’s turn to deliver the goods – when the morning report said 8″ overnight and snowing hard (16″ by lunchtime) I called everyone on my list but no takers so was forced to shoot the following video of myself just to prove how good it actually was.


Jan 19 2011

I-70 Savior – Loveland saves the day 1/18/11

The (patient) powder hounds reap their rewards

Any skier who has spent a  winter in the Denver/Boulder area is almost certain to have has an I-70 horror story. For a front range skier there’s no escaping the terrain trap that is the main thoroughfare through the mountains. When I woke up Tuesday morning to find out that Vail had called 16″ and Breckenridge 26″ (roll eyes here) my first thought as always was “time to get moving”. My second unfortunately was “better check on I-70” and sure enough it was closed. I had planned to go to Vail with everyone’s favorite forecaster Joel Gratz who immediately suggested we leave right away and take 285 to get around the closure but this had the potential of breaking my hard and fast rule that I must spend more time on the hill then in the car on any given ski day.

Does this look familiar - I-70 Georgetown exit

Since only a relatively small portion of the road was closed (Georgetown to Silverthorne) we decided to take a chance and head up hoping the road would open by the time we got there. No such luck however, so we sat in the car for two hours searching the web in a futile attempt to get some info all the while being greatly entertained by the CDOT phone road report which told us that the road was closed so we “should plan accordingly” without giving us any indication of why it was closed or when by chance it might reopen.  Just as we were about to give up and head home the road reopened and now our only option for first tracks was Loveland.

Who needs a queue when there's powder to be had

We certainly weren’t the only ones whose plans had changed to Loveland but news of the road closure had discouraged a lot of folks so while they were quite a few powder hounds out, there was plenty to go around. Loveland had also called 16″ but with the high winds the day before (a 100 mph gust was recorded the previous morning)  I assumed the snow would either be in Kansas or heavily wind packed so was very pleasantly surprised to find a legitimate foot plus of high quality Colorado snow. In the last year, Loveland has opened almost the entire East Wall you see above the tunnel which has steeps, cliffs and lovely glades so we spent most of the day there getting fresh tracks and face shots as evidenced by the video below.

Loveland Powder Day

The Loveland ski patrol did a hell of a job getting things open considering they were also stuck in traffic and opened all of the ridge by mid day. There was quite a crowd hiking up the hill and they were all rewarded for their efforts. They say good things come to those who wait and on this day that was certainly the case…