Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jim Habrel Hut with every Tom's Dick and Barry

Fourteen backcountry skiers from Ontario armed with years of stories went to celebrate Tom's last ski days as a single man, hopefully not last ski days ever. The Jim Habrel hut is located at 2030m on the Serratus - Dionne col about a 6 minute helicopter ride from the Squamish airport, it is a simply spectacular location. This amazing alpine setting makes good weather a necessity when visiting this hut, the surrounding terrain is almost entirely glaciated and travel in whiteout conditions would be almost impossible. We very lucky to be graced with great, almost tshirt weather for our three days up there aside from a bit of a SW wind on day one. On that first day the mountains were alive as we watch cornice drop after cornice drop start slides on all aspects 'summer was winning'. Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful trip. 

Gentlemen of an extraordinary pedigree

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Stadium in the Backyard

It was great to explore some of the classic lines in an area so close to home that has been inaccessible during the winter for so long. Last year even with the Gondola in place, the snow was so poor at lower elevations that there was no hope in getting turns in here. This year is a different story. Paul, Mike and I were in the parking lot at the crack of 9:30am  under a mostly great but good visibility day. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the bottom of the skiing slope before the skin track got steep and a bit slick. At the Habrich - Skypilot col we headed right towards the Stadium gl. Almost immediately after the col there is a rather steep slope that has to be skinned that would not be great in higher avalanche conditions. After reaching the top of this slope the views really open up and the terrain becomes undulating. We climbed as high as we could on the glacier and got a lovely run down on 20cm of snow. Back at the gondola station by 3:30pm, only to be disappointed that the bar wasn't open.
Yes Paul, we know that is where we came from. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sking the Sea to Sky Gondola - Never Miss Albert's First Day

If you only got out once in December, this was a good day to choose. It just started dumping on the approach above the and the stable snowpack enabled us to ski a great open pitch. We were not to enthusiastic about the skin up the open slope initially however. Its too bad that the tree skiing is a bit short in this area because the spacing of the trees is fantastic. 
Albert not showing any rust

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Birken Awesome

A good start to winter on the Coast is just what we needed, Wednesday me Greg, Cam and Mags headed out to the Birkenhead area in hopes to find some snow that was spared Tuesday's monster outflow winds. The major problem with skiing in the Birkenhead Area are the long approaches and lack of plowed roads to a good starting elevation. Luckily early season you can make it pretty high on some of the logging roads (getting up is the easy part). The snow really was fantastic, consistent and very light shin deep powder. 
Short days make for some great light in the alpine - looking good here Cam

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Opal Cone October

At least once every time that they visit I like to really tire out my father in law David. This time we decided to head up to the Elfin Lakes area of Garibaldi Park, the classic alpine access in Squamish. I recently bought and Rocky Mountain Vertex that simply flies uphill, lending this to David quickly evened out any cycling speed advantage and made it a pleasant ride up to Red Heather (about 40 minutes). The temperature overnight had dropped down below freezing at 1400m elevation making the trail a little bit slick so we took a little bit of air out of the Vertex's tubless tires to improve grip - ooops. It turned out that when I was packing my bag, while remembering the ever important summit beers, I forgot to put in my pump. The lower pressure caused a patch inside one of my Maxis Ikons to leak and I was left with VERY low tire pressure for the rest of the day (9PSI!!!) The road up to Red Heather has been recently repaired which should help to make it skiable with another anticipated low snow year on the way. Many of the alpine colours have faded by now but it is still a wonderful time to be up high. Mt Garibaldi had her cloud cap for most of the day so we couldn't quite see everything but wow what an area. Past Elfin lakes the trail has been recently upgraded with a machine and is pretty much a road all the way until just before Opal Cone it is a manageable grade that would be great to bike but for some reason BC Parks has limited Bike access to Elfin. There is an opportunity to create an incredible bike loop that starts at the Diamond Head Trailhead past Elfin lakes to Mamquam Lake and out via new trails that would link to the Mamquam FSR.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Howe Sound Highlines

What a fantastic day of riding above Howe Sound in this endless summer.
you couldn't make up a prettier place to ride bikes