Bob, Richie, Me (Steve not pictured, but looks like Bob anyhow)
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.
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:
Sibhusky (middle) & friends:
Bob, Steve, Richie
Day 1 - Last Wednesday was very cold, but the skies were clear and the views were spectacular.
The Easter Bunny
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.)