Monday, March 7, 2011


Staring at the unlimited Revelstoke terrain
Since the originally planned Revelstoke trip in early January did not happen, a much shorter version was undertaken on the last weekend of Feburary with Patrick, David and Ryan. We left Vancouver on the Friday night and after many Tim Hortons stops and a few roll up the rim wins by Pat, we arrived in Revelstoke too late to do anything but hit the sack.

Patrick at the top of the bootpack above North Bowl
Saturday was a major mountain exploration day since they hadn't had much snow and it was pretty overcast. Revelstoke is massive! Despite the fact that it was -25 at the top, we managed to check out some pretty awesome zones before retreating to the lodge to warm up and get lunch. The groomers at Revelstoke are also spectacular. They are steep, straight and have killer rollers that could launch you much farther than you expect to go if you don't prepare for them. The only problem is that you get going so fast that body parts start to ice up. Patrick found this out the hard way when his ear froze to his helmet.

There is no Merlins equivalent at the bottom of Revy so we had to just make do on our own
Saturday evening was our night on the town. We did a tour of downtown Revelstoke starting off with the purchase of some Cinnabuns from Coopers foods. That stop was followed by a Little Caesars hot and ready pizza and a trip to the Village Idiot, the local bar. The bar had a wonderful array of retro skis, many of which we would have gladly taken home with us had they not been mounted to the walls or cut in half to make chairs. A quick stop at Outabounds, the local nightclub, concluded our tour and we headed back to the Super 8 to play quarters and poach the hot tub that had already been closed for a few hours.
Repping the sponsors
New quarters rule: the troll
Skiing sunday was more of the same. We went back to the places that we had discovered the day before and looked at them more closely, scoping out the lines that we wanted to hit had there been more snow. It had snowed a few centimetres during the night, enough to soften it up and make for some great skiing in some of the zones that we hiked up too. We also found some snow that was left over from the last storm and had a great time billy goating our way through the cliffs that litter the area.
Ryan struggling with the super S7's on the hike
We drove back to the motel after a great weekend, all ready to go home after we gased up and grabbed some Tim Hortons. Since it had been snowing most of the day however, we check the road conditions and decided that it was probably a good idea to stay an extra night since a travel advisory had been issued. I think that decision was aided by the fact that 15cms were expected to fall on the hill overnight. We spent the evening bowling and back at the Village Idiot where Pat and Ryan ordered the biggest burger I have ever seen. It was pretty gross but apparently it was delicious.

Burger, chicken breast, ham, fried egg, two types of cheese...
The next morning we woke up to what the snow report was calling 14cm, but we knew better. We showed up at the hill 30 min before it opened and there was already a line, the first one we had seen the entire time we had been there. Luckily, once we were on the hill the crowds seem to disappear and we felt like we were the only ones left on the mountain. We skied all morning getting fresh laps through the trees and took advantage of our exploring to go hit some of the airs that we had checked out the day before.
Digging the van out monday morning
Miraculously, the sun came out. It felt surreal being the practically the only ones on the mountain with all that snow and terrain all to ourselves. I am so glad that we stayed the extra day, it made the awesome trip into an epic one.
Stoked on life

Another busy pow day at Revelstoke

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


In the middle of February, Landon and I took a trip up north to Williams Lake where Landon was responsible for teaching a level 1 course on the weekends and the two of us did a 5 day touring trip out at Teapot Lake/Mt. Elsey during the week. This was my first experience with any sort of winter backpacking trip as well as my 3rd through 7th days of touring ever. Luckily, the lack of experience on my part didn't seem to have any effect on the trip and despite stories of having to sleep in a snow cave the last time Landon went on this trip, it couldn't have gone much smoother.

The view of Mt. Elsey from the skin track

Loading up the sled for the ride in

The trip involved driving east of Williams Lake and parking the truck past the town of Horsefly. This was followed by a 32km sled ride up the road and an hour long walk into the cabin which we used as a home base for the duration of the week. We left in the afternoon after having to redo the plastic on the bottom of the skidder so that we could tow all our gear in. On the way in, we managed to lose the skimmer and had to double back for it. We also broke a pole but luckily those were all the issues we had.

Inside the cabin
The cabin was fantastic and well equiped for lengthly stays. It had tonnes of wood stacked under the A-frame, a propane stove and some LED lights as well as a large loft with mattresses for sleeping on. On top of all that, it had a wood burning sauna, perfect for relaxing in after a day of walking and skiing.

The cabin!

The first day after our arrival was my first look at the area surrounding the cabin. It was huge and I didn't know where I wanted to start. Everything looked so good and was totally untracked. The first thing we had to do unfortuantely was break in a skin track from the cabin up to the ridge, about 140m of vertical. Once it was in though, we got to use it all week. We managed to drop our time on this skin track down from 42 mins on the first day to 8min 45seconds by the last day! All the other skin tracks that we used had been punched in by the group who had been in on the weekend which was excellent for us. We figure that we were averaging about 1000 vertical metres of walking up and skiing down per day, about three runs of ~350m each.

What is Landon doing? Taking a piss? NO! He is breaking trail...can't you tell?
The snow out at teapot was probably some of the best snow I have ever skied. It was so light that it didn't even stick to your boots and made operation of my Marker Barons very easy and quick during the change overs from walking to skiing. I have never had so much untracked powder. We got so greedy about it, that at one point I had to cross Landon's tracks but in order to avoid that yucky old used snow, I just jumped over the tracks and carried on.

The only tracks on the mountain

Looking at the moon

Love starts at the top of the hill

Although the weather wasn't always the best, we managed to get some sunny breaks as well as a bit of fresh snow during the week, not that we needed anymore snow, it was already blowing up around our shoulders on most turns!

Landon and some nub trees
In order to figure out what we were talking about and make landmarks for places, I came up with the word nub trees. A nub tree is a small tree that is about the height of an adult or is very narrow and can be easily seen over or around. The next largest classification of tree would be a christmas tree which is pretty self explanatory. Anything bigger than a christmas tree is a real tree. We also named lines, such as hockey stick and lightning bolt. There were some huge features in the area that would have been fun to explore but since phone reception was a long way off, we decided to play it safe and stuck to the more gentle glades. It wasn't like there was a shortage of snow or anything...

Lots of snow!
After skiing, we would get back to the cabin and basically eat anything in sight as we usually would have a late start with a big breakfast then ski/hike all afternoon and skip lunch. One night we had 9 servings of pasta between the two of us and another night we had 2 servings each plus 6-8 servings of grilled chicken. Yum yum! In the cabin we found a snowboard monopoly game which was really fun. Instead of buying properties, you bought mountains. Some of the halfpipe and terrain park cards were really awesome (community chest and chance), for example you got a get out of jail free card for being the fastest one down the mountain, yet if you got caught going fast, you went to jail... The best card by far read "Boned out a chicken salad in front of a Betty, collect $50". So good. Landon dominated both games we played but thats because I let him win.
Snowboard monopoly!

All in all, it was an amazing trip. The only way it could have been better would be to have been there longer (got more runs) or for us to have been fitter (get more runs). I can't wait to go back there in the future and check out some of the zones that we didn't have time for. The area is huge and the snow is unreal. What a trip!

Shreding pow in the afternoon glow

Hiking to the peak

Map of the area