Coastal Invasion – Kootenay Pass

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I have heard stories and reports from Kootenay Pass but for all my travel I had never skied there. A failed attempt to get some early season skiing there in November I new that I needed to make it a priority this year.

Sunny skies and rested legs had us lusting for some more virgin powder. With a little research at backcountryskiingcanada.com and the Kootenay Pass map from Mighty Big Horn Maps we were ready for a day of exploration.

Visiting new areas is always a risk. You often don’t find great skiing and spend most of you day route finding and don’t get to the goods. Today was different for a few reasons we could actually see and the area is packed full of great touring with no effort to get into terrain. Starting at almost 1750m makes a big difference.

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We knew we had to tread lightly as the possibility of surface hoar instabilities lingered we took it easy the first half of the day. As heli-bombing could be heard in the distance making the highway safe for travelers we settled in for a first conservative lap to the percussion overture thundering in the valleys beside us.

With only a general direction we were able to make 3 good sized laps sampling Crags and Baldy Rocks for some silky south facing pow turns. I think we spoiled Mike as I could here him down slope hooting and hollering his approval. The instant gratification of short laps was a welcome change from the steep Rogers Pass Death Marches.

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With light fading we set off for one last lap and some steep north facing kootenay cold smoke. 400m of fall line skiing through perfectly spaced trees we found our way back to the deli and made the trek back to Rossland for a well deserved beer and a monster helping of pasta. It is pretty special when you can get a 1000m of skiing in a new area and not have any route finding challenges.

Lots of runs to be had in Kootenay pass. Still another day and time to get some!

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