BC interior 09’
Beginning on Feburary 25th 2009 my friend Arne & I headed to British Columbia for a 10 day journey to visit Kicking Horse Resort & Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The following is a brief account of our trip.
I meet up with Arne who flew in from CA, at the SLC airport in UT.
Delta added direct flights from SLC to Cranbrook in the Fall. It is a short (under 2 hours) flight from SaltLake to the BC interior town of Cranbrook. We arrived at about 1:00 PM expecting to pick up a Ford Explorer from Budget car rentals. Our vehicle was not available, but after some waiting & negotiating they showed up with an AWD Ford Tauraus sedan which actually suited our needs perfectly & was a little cheaper.
It is about a 2.5 hour drive to Golden, BC on a sometimes snowy, but pretty straight & flat 2 lane highway, where we checked into Mary’s motel. $89 a night for 2 queen size beds is about as cheap as it gets. Kicking Horse (KH) has just received about 30cm of new snow, the first significant snow for them in quite awhile.
I visited KH once before on a road trip in 2007. It is about a 10 minute drive up the hill from Golden. There are lots of on site accommodations, but a little beyond our budget.
Kicking Horse is a big mountain with a lot of hard core skiers & a spattering of Snowboarders. The base elevation is 3900’ & tops out at 8033’ for a total vertical of 4133’ & 2750 inbounds acres. The Golden Eagle Express Gondola rises 3900’ vertical in one shot. There are 3 other fixed grip chairs, Catamount for beginners, Pioneer which serves the original area, & Stairway to Heaven, which is the newest & gets you to the top elevation. The Stairway lift accesses Feuz Bowl, Redemption Ridge, and some fabulous O.B. terrain that goes on to the north forever with touring equipment. The main skiing is on the North flanks of CPR Ridge & Redemption Ridge, but there is much, much more to be had.
It is a beautiful clear but very cold morning when we begin with a ride up the Gondo & a traverse out to one of the far chutes I remembered off of CPR ridge. It is great skiing with mostly cut up powder & a few untracked turns after the chute opens up toward the bottom where we can load the Stairway to Heaven Quad. We are on the chair with a local couple who inform us that the White Wall run wasn’t open yesterday & Patrol are doing control work now.
We figure it will be worth the wait for some steep freshies, so we wait with them at the gate for the opening. After a few minutes word comes that it is going to be at least ½ an hour till opening, so we opt to take a quick lap on the chair. A pretty good crowd has begun to gather when we return, but we only wait a few minutes till they drop the rope for the mad 5 minute dash to the top of the ridge.
At the bottom of the White Wall in Feuz Bowl:
We return to the wall a few more times during the day, but the real freshies are gone after the second lap.
To get back up STH lift from this side of the mountain you need to go back to the bottom & catch the gondola, so it takes some time.
Eventually we return to the car, grab our shovel packs & head back up the gondola. We are bound for Super Bowl off the top of TerminatorPeak.
It is about a 15-20 minute hike up the ridge to reach the bowl, but about 4000’ vertical of untracked back to the bottom.
When we reach our destination we spy a few natural releases on the other side of the bowl near the next peak over, so we decide to stay in close to a ridge where there are 2 sets of tracks from previous skiers.
I ski first to a protected spot under the ridge & call Arne down. Needless to say, the skiing here is epic. From this point the slope steepens even more, & we can see where some natural slough debris has collected in the bottom of the bowl so we elect to traverse to a different more stable exposure from this point to ski the rest of this section
After the traverse, back to where a few mnore people have skied:
Looking back up from the bottom of the first pitch:
Quite a bit of bushwhacking at the bottom, but well worth it.
That's it for day #1!
To be continued...