Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Fingers

The last ski of 2017. We celebrated with a crack-of-noon start. So did the rest of Revelstoke. There were people everywhere. Most with Aussie accents. Cheers rang out as skiers descended from above in cloud of powdery snow. Groans too at the inevitable biffs. Good times!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Triangle Moraine and Dome Glacier

I'd love to know the number of times throughout the season when access to every single Winter Restricted area is closed but there is still no actual avalanche control performed. Someone will undoubtedly now tell me that I should consider myself lucky to be allowed to ski in Rogers Pass at all and that this wasn't always the case. Still, doesn't mean that the system couldn't be improved or be made less opaque.

Anyway we trooped up the Asulkan Valley along with half of Calgary towards the Triangle Moraine. We would perhaps continue onward to The Dome if the light was good. At the top of the moraine it was just good enough to tempt us upwards for another hour. Unfortunately the valley mist rolled upwards just as we reached our high point and we lost the light. We donned many down layers and waited around stomping feet and willing the mist to lift just a little bit. Alas, the cold crept into out bones and we were forced to retrace our steps back to the moraine. It was heavily tracked but the skiing was still good fun.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cougar Valley

We've managed to get it wrong on the far side of Balu Pass a few times. Too far across. Not far enough. Much trudging and not much skiing. This time we finally got it right and found the slidepath we'd been looking for. It had a mellow angle and provided some nice skiing with the fast surface conditions. And was completely free of tracks. A bit of a coup over the busy Christmas week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Illecillewaet Practise Slopes

-25C and the clock was ticking from the moment we left the car. In need of a short approach we headed for the Practise Slopes. Crikey it felt cold. Brenda was forced to break out the backcountry shnoz warmer. Not pretty. We were all beginning to feel a bit a desperate as we just managed to sneak into the sunshine at around 11:00AM. Heavenly! A quick bite supplemented with La Baguette Rum Balls and down we went. The skiing was good but we all had cold feet at the bottom. We turned tail and were back at the car by 12:30. I'm old enough to choose my battles!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

McGill Shoulder

C-c-c-cold! After living in the Okanagan for a decade -20C feels seriously cold. Lots of blow down combined with little snow made for a trying up track. Eventually we got above the trees and clouds to enjoy some spectacular views in the warm sunshine. We did a run on the the first slide path and then bashed our way up on climber's left of the two major slide paths for a another run in the trees. Great skiing.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vent Shaft Ridge

Visibility was pretty meh so we headed to Vent Shaft Ridge where the trees would give us some better definition. The upper part of Vent Shaft is a nice open slope with a mellow angle. The lower part is primarily tight tree skiing but there are just enough openings to keep it fun.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Loop Brook Bonney Moraines

A temperature inversion has lingered over Rogers Pass for about a week. It's cold in the valleys and warm in the alpine. We saw a thick layer of surface hoar below treeline with crystals up to 25mm. Amazing stuff. When disturbed it would collapse in a cascade and run like water down even moderately steep slopes. When it's eventually buried this will probably form a nasty layer.

Early season conditions still prevail in much of Loop Brook. The creek is open making for an awkward uptrack in many places. The "Elephant's Trunk" felt a bit sketchy too. After a couple of runs on the moraines we made the mistake of descending by far skier's right and got sucked into the jungle of alder. Oh man it was diabolical, tedious stuff. We almost managed to get back to the car before darkness fell. Not quite though! But the surface hoar sparkled like millions of tiny diamonds in the light of our headlamps. Worth it.

Sunday, December 03, 2017


As well as the great skiing conditions a highlight was Brian having to eat leftover curry with a stick.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Balu Pass

With Brian, James, and friends.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Asulkan Cabin

Custodian Steve installed a drying rack and moved a shelf. We did some skiing and caught up with Ken and Ed from Team Vancouver. Conditions were fairly typical for this time of year. We had a few runs in the Toilet Bowl, on the adjacent moraine, and in front of the Pterodactyl. The Pterodactyl required some sketchy traversing over rocks embedded in clear water ice. Zoiks! So perhaps there's a little less snow than normal!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Asulkan Hut Maintenance

This was a day trip to the Asulkan Hut to help Steve with some maintenance. He didn't need to transport a 16' 2x4 this time thank goodness. The approach is still scratchy. There is coverage from the parking lot but we did need to remove the skis and walk a few times on the way up and then many times on the way down. There's about a meter of snow in the tree triangle. Unfortunately there's also breakable cartwheel inducing why-am-i-doing-this crust down anywhere from 0 to 20cm.