Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting deep at VMT

It might sound like a joke, but lately the snow has been coming in by the foot, not by inches. The storm hose is pointed right on British Columbia, and the cold smoke just keeps piling up at Valhalla Mountain Touring. We are in full swing here, with the 3rd straight week of operations, and this week has a bunch of friends from UT and CO up here to ski the pow. But instead of ranting and raving, and storytelling, I will let the pictures from the last 2 days do the talking.

Get up here! We still have some spaces for this winter!

All photos by backcountry.com's Tommy Chandler.

Me checking out the snow as the season starts, keeping it safe

Jasmin testing out the snow on yet another storm day.

Lindsay Yaw asks for the snorkel.

Me trying to get above the snow, but that is hard to do right now!

Jonn Webb taste testing the snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cold, cold smoke

The arctic air mass has taken over British Columbia. I know what you're thinking. It's Canada, you all live in igloos and it is cold all the time. But alas, no, SW BC is actually quite mild in the winter, and that is what makes skiing here so great-it's not frigidly cold! Right now it is so, so, so bitterly cold here that we can't even really ski on shady slopes. The snow is so cold that your wax just doesn't work.

It has made for some interesting plan changes for me this week. Originally I was supposed to be skiing in Roger's Pass. We did two days there, and it was literally some of the coldest outdoor recreation I have ever taken part in. We skinned up to treeline one day, only to met by 25km/hr winds at -24 degrees Celsius. For you math majors out there, that equals a -40 degree celsius wind chill (and -40 is where farenheit and celsius are the same!). This artic front also brought with it heinously strong winds, jacking all the snow at treeline and in the alpine.

We decided to pull the plug and head a bit south to the family's lodge in the Valhallas. A bit of protection from the wind and slightly warmer temps tempted us and Valhalla Mountain Touring has delivered yet again. We have just spent the last 2 days tracking out the cold powder, first a bit in the trees, and then today in the blazing sun. I gotta tell ya, it might be freezing cold out, but that is the bet time ever to ski the pow in full sun, the snow just stays as cold smoke all day long!

So, a video here to keep you psyched, and some photos from today as well...

Benny and Jas racing for the freshies!

Richard heading towards sunny powder on Rugged Peak

My Karhu Storm's getting psyched for 2 grand of cold smoke.

Richard steals some of Benny's powder

Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally, WINTER!!!

Living on the coast of British Columbia has its pluses and its minuses. The rainy fall, when the snow line hasn't lowered down, can be quite tough. I have spent the last two weeks desperately trying to find some winter outdoor recreation: 3 skiing attempts, and 1 ice climbing attempt. Actually, the 2 days of clear and dry weather were some of the best days of bouldering I have had in Squamish!

But quietly in the interior of British Columbia, winter has started, and about a meter to a meter and a half (3 to 5 feet for the yanks) has slowly started to pile up, and just this last storm cycle a good half a meter has just been added. I did all that I could in the face of more rainy weather on the coast and packed up my truck to drive to the interior.

As my friend pointed out today, I luckily married into a backcountry ski lodge in this zone, and guide their full time in the winter. So I took advantage of that with my wife, father-in-law and dog to go test out the ski legs in our own private backcountry ski paradise at Valhalla Mountain Touring. I shot some video of the day, so I will let that speak for itself. Winter is in full swing here, and the powder is dry and fluffy. Besides we have to start training our new puppy for his winter of ski touring - as you can hear from his yelping in the video, he was having fun.

Come join the fun! We still have a few spaces left on trips this winter...