Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vans, Dog and Kootenays

I finally got around to building a bed in the back of the Delica and what better way to try it out than a week of skiing in the Kootenays. After getting some good powder turns in on Christmas Eve I felt that all the talk about the low snow year on the coast was a bit overblown - that being said its always nice to try  a new spot. 

Here is a quick summary of the trip:

Jan 28th - Leave Vancouver at midnight and make it to a farmers field in Chilliwack. 
Jan 29th - Drive to Nelson and meet up with Greg, Mark and Laura for beers. 
Jan 30th - Ski Evening Ridge off Whitewater access rd. 
Jan 31th - Whitewater Inbounds + a few touring laps of the slackcountry with Ally and Matt
Jan 1st - Lazy tour with the dog up Evening Ridge again
Jan 2nd - Kootenay Pass  ( Salmo - Creston) 
Jan 3rd - Ski Red Mtn with Kim and Kevin
Jan 4th - Watch World Junior Hockey Semi Final in Grand Forks and Drive home. 

The highlight of the drive was definitely watching Mags herd a 12 deer through some fields near Oosooyos and even coming back when I called her - an amazing sight to say the least. The base of  Whitewater sits at an elevation of 1600m and is about 20km from Nelson. The access to the backcountry in the area seems so be amazing. Evening Ridge, where I skied on day one and three,  is an easy skin up through old growth timber providing access to a number of skiing options. There is also an incredible amount of backcountry terrain that is very close to the top of the chair lifts, I would have liked a chance to explore this more but since I had the dog I didn't want her to miss out on the skiing and i'm not sure how well she would have delt with chairlift. Another great thing about the ski hill is the quality of the food, which is well publicized. My wife has had the cookbook put out by the same people who run the cafeteria for a number of years now and has cooked me some great meals, I was excited to try the original!

Most of these photos are either of the van or the dog. (What do you expect)

Night number one hotel in Chilliwack, the coyotes were going nuts when I arrived and let the dog out. Mags immediately found a dead frog to roll on the next morning, great. 
Top of the first skin, she digs a hole and sits happily(?) in it. 

Why are you doing this to me?
Actually the car was the other way Greg
Look at those goggles, he must be a fantastic skier
She likes this part

Yes we each had our own Delica there, did you think we would share? (Greg drove from Alberta)

Well deserved rest

Ally and Matt; just of the side of the Silver King Chair at Whitewater
Two dudes and their Vans on new years day, thanks for the party Nelson folk
New Years Day, apparently Martha didn't feel up to being in a photo. 
New years day jaunt, 

Whitewater Ski 
Someone is ready to go

It was time to move on from Nelson, so Matt and I went up for a day at Kootenay Pass. There was a big storm forecast to hit later in the day on Friday night but we were hoping to be able to see something up at the pass before it hit, when I woke up to snow covered windows on the van in Nelson I knew that wasn't going to happen. We shuttled both cars to Salmo as I was going to be leaving for Rossland directly from skiing. The drive up to the pass wasn't to bad despite the weather. I had been given some good tips of where to ski in the area; we headed up to 'Baldy Rocks' hoping to ski something E or N as the sun had cooked the S facing slopes on the previous day. Unfortunately the stability wasn't great and the new snow from that morning was slabing up quite a bit. I started down a slope and kicked off a small wind slab, this freaked me out a bit so I hiked back out before the slope got even steeper. Having the dog with me certainly causes me to be a lot more conservative. A small wind slab that would probably not affect me too much  but it could easily push the dog into a position that could hurt it or necessitate me to go into an area that I might not feel that safe in to get her out. We ended up doing some laps of the more mellow south side, no tracks at all in the area and the new snow had covered up that sun-crust nicely making for great runs.  We met a couple from Comox and joined them for a lap, then both decided to take different routes back to the parking lot, when we got back to the parking lot late, they were not there which was surprising since we got a little turned around on the way back. Just as we were starting to worry, they came walking across the road, unfortunately one of them was missing a ski, it had gotten away from her as she was taking her skins off. She ended up walking the 5km back to the car with only one ski! Even after deciding to take the easy route out which was supposed to just follow a logging rd the whole way, we had a bit of trouble finding our way back to the car, and it was getting dark. Its amazing how quickly you can get turned around especially in low visibility. A good reminder to bring proper navigation and safety equipment, you never know when you are going to need it.
Moody Kootenay pass light

The beginings of a half pipe down a back ally in Rossland

As you can see, the JP Auclair segment from 'All I Can' must have kicked off a bit of a park and pipe scene in town. 

The dog started the trip in the passenger seat - by the end it had smartened up!

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