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Whitefish & Revelstoke 2/2 to 2/7 > Trip Manifesto

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Four of us flew into Spokane on 2/1, intending to ski at Whitewater and possibly Schweitzer, but we made a last minute decision to drive to Whitefish (Big Mtn.) instead because it appeared to have better conditions and a good chance for fresh snow. It just seemed like the perfect time for a road trip.

Bob, Richie, Me (Steve not pictured, but looks like Bob anyhow)
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We skied three days in Whitefish before deciding abruptly once again to pack up and follow the radar to possibly more fresh pow in Revelstoke.

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Whitefish:
We were very lucky to have a chance to hook up and ski with Sibhusky and two of her friends for a day and a half. Sibhusky can really ski hard and fast and knows her way around everywhere, so we had a phenomenal time and her friends were a blast too: icon14.gifbiggrin.gificon14.gif

Sibhusky (middle) & friends:
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Bob, Steve, Richie
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Day 1 - Last Wednesday was very cold, but the skies were clear and the views were spectacular.
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The Easter Bunny
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Unfortunately, there had been a lot of wind on the front side right before we arrived and turned a lot of the fresh dry powder into some nasty windslab. Fortunately the groomers were among the best I’ve ever skied and we had a hell of a good time tearing huge fast GS turns all over. We were still able to hit several areas that had boot deep light powder, mostly in the steep tight trees over in Connie’s Coulee and on the North Side.

Connie's
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Day 2 - Sibhusky showed us around all day and we had some pretty good skiing on Big Medicine, Upper Langley and Heep Steep. Skiing with Sib and her friends, we realized we somehow missed an entire third of the mountain we never knew was there. This place is huge! Some snow started up late in the day (if I recall) and the groomers really became spectacular although the infamous fog had rolled in at the top and our jackets started covering in rime. I honestly don’t know when I’ve had more fun on groomers (or did I already mention that). We hit the North Bowl Face then tried to traverse into the East Rim Area, but it seemed to be all breakable crust. The next day, it would be gone.

Day 3 – Friday it was snowing steadily and with only a few inches in the early morning everything began to change rapidly. My too-fat Fat-ypus I-Rocks stopped chattering on the groomers and beating up my quads and the snow filled in all the chinks in the windpacked slopes. Luckily, we bumped into Sibhusky again and off we went on a new adventure. She took us to East Rim and Whitey’s which now skied beautifully.

Whitey's
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There was plenty of boot to mid calf deep powder and Whitefish rocked. We skied Don’s Descent which had the best powder of all, but was pretty unnerving in spots with huge tight trees and the most threatening tree wells I’ve ever seen. I got nervous enough that I pulled out the breathing tube in my Avalung and stuck it in my mouth for two runs through Don’s.

Don's Descent
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We decided to hit the road at about 1 pm to travel up to Revelstoke. There was still a lot we never got to ski and would have loved to. Some big steeps were left behind for another day and it was hard to drive off with it snowing hard right down into town, but we’ll get back there to finish that up soon. Whitefish is a great mountain. Lots of hidden treasures to be explored. The terrain reminded me of a slightly rounder Jackson Hole but with better groomers and much tighter tree shots. This is a really big, fun mountain to ski. The town also had some great places to eat. The only real complaint I can think of is there could be a better lift layout. The runouts back to the main lifts can be a bit tedious at times, but that’s about it.

Revelstoke:
It was a long trip, but the sun came out along the way - until just before hitting Golden, B.C., when the flakes suddenly began to hammer down. We stopped for a great dinner in the Kicking Horse Grill and during that short time it snowed about 4” outside the door.

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The nuking didn’t last too long, but it was long enough that Roger’s Pass had to be closed due to avalanche(s) so we decided to find a motel and continue on early the next morning.

Day 4 – We had just the 4” of fresh snow from the night before, but it was all on top of very soft snow everywhere.

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The trees skied great and we found numerous stashes of light snow in the trees that were boot deep. The groomers were nice, but not as plentiful as at Whitefish and not quite as good. We spent most of our time exploring the woods around the Ripper chair. Later we skied some bumps over near Roller Coaster that were perfectly soft in the sunshine with no signs of any crust even though this area faced south. Amazing conditions, top to bottom!

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My legs were getting tired though and getting down to the “mid-mountain lodge” (which it isn’t even close to) was brutal, as my uber-fat skis fought me all the way down. I longed for Whitefish. Revelstoke will kill you if you’re not in peak shape, and with the vertigo inducing whiteout at the top, picking my way through small bumps at the steep top section was brutal at times.

We later checked into the fantastic (IMO) Powder Springs Inn. A real skier’s hotel with a killer buffet breakfast, and a great atmosphere.

Day 5 – We signed up for the complimentary mountain guide service the hotel offered to guests and skied for several hours with Michelle. Wow – another great tour! The visibility at the top was nasty once again so it was great to have a guide who could really ski and knew her way around. Richie’s legs were toasted, so he took the day off while Michelle took us to some great spots in the glades on the skier’s right of the Stoke chair. After assessing our considerable lameness, she decided to take us into the North Bowl via a few different routes that didn’t require hiking.

Sweet Spot has an entrance that mocks its name, especially in poor vis, but once we got into the bowl, the skiing was sweet. We skied until we dropped and I dropped first, while Steve and Bob stuck it out till the end. It was a wise choice to hook up with Michelle because there are some sneaky big cliffs tucked into some spots at Revy where you just don’t expect them.

Day 6 – Monday. The gnome was fully buried before breakfast! 30 cm. since Sunday afternoon.

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It was light pow and the gondi line was huge, but once on the hill, there were no lines with boot to knee deep snow was on all aspects, top to bottom.

Pow Day in lower North Bowl area
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I cried alone during lunch because my legs were worn out after skiing some massive bumps on Jalapeno. The entire place was getting bumped up fast, but the glades and the North Bowl remained spectacular all day. I made a comeback after lunch and suddenly felt the best I had all week. The Fat-ypuses were in heaven and lookin’ for some mo buttah. We eventually finished by ducking into Critical Path Glades just below the Stoke chair base and could not believe how steep it was in spots. Then we ripped soft spring like bumps all the way to the base. I ended day 6 in The Zone and it felt great.

It was an incredibly long drive in the dark back to Spokane. Good tunes on the ipod made it bearable and we found a cheap motel around midnight in Spokane before flying home on Tuesday. Overall, a very solid adventure rating of 8.6 on the lift-accessed scale of 10.

(*Warning> I do have helmet-cam video as well. However, before posting I need to edit out prolonged episodes of panting, inappropriate grunting, and some vulgarity directed at my skis - could take a while.)
post #2 of 19

Old guys ruleicon14.gif 

I'm allowed to say that since I think I'm in the same demographic as you guys.

 

Looks like fun.  You said cold, did you catch those -25 temps they had in the Rockies a couple weeks back?  What was air temp up at Revelstoke?  What made you go to those places now rather than Mar or Apr?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I would never plan a trip there in April. Even March can be risky with the low base elevations. We did consider early March, but there were some scheduling conflicts and early Feb worked out best for us.

Temps started out in Whitefish a few degrees below zero F, but gradually got warmer each day. In Revelstoke it was between mid teens at the top to mid-high 20's at the base. Nothing ridiculously cold at all.
post #4 of 19

Now that's a real ski Trip! Enjoyed reading the post and the pictures. Looked like you had big time fun. Curious how many miles between WhiteFish and Revelstoke?

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
350 very scenic miles when the weather is clear, especially north of Cranbrook. Only real problem is Rogers Pass. I wouldn't want to do a 1K mile round trip again too soon, but it was still fun despite all the SUV time. Luckily it was a very large, yet cheap, Yukon XL. Cranking up some Allman Brothers, Muddy Waters, old Clapton, live Talking Heads, The Dead, etc. made it all the more bearable.

Still had plenty of time for some good meals, hot tubs, Kootenay Ales and the Super Bowl in the great pub at Powder Springs. Actually, I guess I would do it again, but I'd have to stretch it out a bit next time. 10 days minimum. Only real regret is we didn't have time to get a day in at WhiteWATER, which was the initial destination all along. It would have been a good ending, so we just might have to get there next year. cool.gif

 

 

post #6 of 19

I think your trip captured so much about what makes skiing so great. That being, the excitement of what lies ahead, the fact you had great skiing at Big Mountain but moved on for another mountain. Great comraderie skiing with friends, and the satisfaction that you pulled it all off and had a great time and great memories. You certainly earned and deserved having a great trip.

 

By contrast I'm heading to Vail at the end of the month and will be staying in the village a 3 min walk to the lift and know pretty much what to expect, Totally different trip ,and I'll enjoy it to no end, but what you guys did had an aspect of adventure and the unknown incorporated into it. I think it's great a group of guys from the east went on a Big Adventure Trip , chased the snow, and pulled it all off. Has to get you stoked for the next time. Well done.  I really respect what you did. I'm afraid to admit as I get older , I don't deal as well with a change in plans and "going with the flow"

 

Hell, I'd worry about whether I could get a hotel room up the road without a reservation etc , etc.  Good thing you didn't have a "downer" guy with me along , worring about all that could go wrong. You went for it and all went well.

 

Your post is by far my favorite trip report of the year. Excellent. The Zen of skiing lives on! 

post #7 of 19

It was great skiing with you.  My friends enjoyed it as well.  Hope to see you back again!

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns 

Your post is by far my favorite trip report of the year. Excellent. The Zen of skiing lives on! 
 

That's a great compliment, Thanks!! icon14.gif

We do a trip somewhere every year, but normally with 7 or 8 guys so it's usually not possible to pull off any last minute changes. Since only 4 of us committed this year, we decided that chasing pow would be the main goal and we figured we could do it with needing only 2 hotel rooms. Try to find chain hotels with a last minute cancellation poilicy - eating crappy waffle maker breakfasts is a bit of a drawback, but we make up for it a dinner time. smile.gif A laptop and a big SUV, and we're good to go.

As Richie always says, "You're dead a long time, so let's go get some powder." Just don't follow his tracks! eek.gif

Staying in Vail village is great too though. Sometimes that's exactly what you need and it's probably just as likely, or more so, to give you some fresh powder. Hope you get it. Viva La Nina!

And once again, a big thanks to Sibhusky for being a great sport and showing a bunch of juvenile geriatrics around the place for 2 days. That was a big plus in our quest for powder. beercheer.gif


 

post #9 of 19

Excellent report, and a testament to why you should not have a fixed itinerary. Storm chasing at its finest! icon14.gif

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky 
It was great skiing with you.  My friends enjoyed it as well.  Hope to see you back again!
 

There you are - Out skiing today I hope! They were predicting some decent snow a few days ago - I wasn't following it, but I hope you got some. As you can see, our gamble worked out pretty well. (except for the drawer full of clothes and some equipment I left behind at the Best Western in the rush to hit the road redface.gif)

Whitefish is a cool place. The people are all very friendly and we will be back. Too much was left unskied in our short 3 days and what we did ski was worthy of many re-visits. beercheer.gif

 

post #11 of 19

Of course I was out today.  This is Elephant's Graveyard.  We got "blower" snow yesterday which was sort of useless as it was like having feathers around and didn't really do much for the skiing.  But today it had compressed some and bonded with the underlayer, making for wonderful powder skiing all over. 

 

Elephant's Graveyard

post #12 of 19

Me and 6 friends leave for Revelstoke in 30 days for a week, I love reading your reports and just know that my entire body will be in pain after this trip (but, hey who cares, I have Rx pain killers!)

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by binobear View Post


Me and 6 friends leave for Revelstoke in 30 days for a week, I love reading your reports and just know that my entire body will be in pain after this trip (but, hey who cares, I have Rx pain killers!)




 



Nice! Where are you flying into and staying? Have you been there before? I hope you like trees! biggrin.gif
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
That Big Mtn. snow sure does know how to bond. I love it! smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky 
Of course I was out today.  This is Elephant's Graveyard.  We got "blower" snow yesterday which was sort of useless as it was like having feathers around and didn't really do much for the skiing.  But today it had compressed some and bonded with the underlayer, making for wonderful powder skiing all over. 
 


 
post #15 of 19

Coming down Big Face yesterday (and that's clearly not me in the pic):

 

Big Face

And, the apron area under Picture Chutes.  Gray's Golf Course in the distance there.

 

IMG_5735a.JPG

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
OFFICIAL TRIP VIDEO!

Here's the long, but official helmet cam magnum opus video report from the trip:



 

 


Edited by carvemeister - 3/8/11 at 11:43am
post #17 of 19

Yes i agree REvelstoke is amazing, my face

post #18 of 19

Carvemeister , WOW ! What a trip , very well done trip report. Hope to get to Revestoke next season. I see your buddy is riding the Line Sir Francis Bacon , i just copped a pair , what does he think of them?I need a honest opinion, thanks ...

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dublblax2ski View Post

Carvemeister , WOW ! What a trip , very well done trip report. Hope to get to Revestoke next season. I see your buddy is riding the Line Sir Francis Bacon , i just copped a pair , what does he think of them?I need a honest opinion, thanks ...


Thanks. RR loves his SFBs. I have been skiing with him for many decades and I can honestly say I have rarely seen him ski better. They do seem very versatile and have good stability and edgehold. They float him well in the pow too and he was scurrying around in the glades on them like a dang woodchuck, chuckin' my wood.

Although he might not admit it, I do believe they took somewhat of a toll on him though after skiing a fair number of groomers on them. He couldn't ski on day 5 and needed a rest. Not that I was all that much better. But I also skied on fatties most of the time which were even wider but appropriate for my much greater mass. Mine are 126mm underfoot and became a real chore on the groomed, beating my legs and feet up pretty badly with chatter, but in anything even slightly soft my skis were damn nice too.

He claimed his SFBs are all he needs for any trip "out west." Maybe a stretch, IMO, but I wouldn't try that with my skis and was very glad at times to step into my narrower 87mm Blizzards.
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