Coastal Invasion – Powder

Kootenays

I love ski touring in Coastal BC with all the snow and stability there is one thing is really lacks. Well two things I guess first is the Sun.

Nothing soothes the soul more than striking out with the warmth of the sun at your back. Its rays provide endless enthusiasm and energy which leads to days that you remember for seasons to come. The second is the cold smoke. We just so rarely get that snow that almost seems hollow and we we do it is so short lived. The interior of BC is a different beast one that lures me in a few weeks of year in hopes of getting a taste of the cold smoke. This week we were able to hit three of the best accessible touring area’s in BC.

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I always approach Rogers Pass with cautious optimism as the Permit System dictates your week and during periods of snow often your choices are limited and you can’t really get after the epic skiing. We packed up the sweet road trip mobile and headed out for a mission of a drive through as snow storm making the 8 hour drive to Revelstoke.

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This year Rogers Pass has changed with the closing of Glacier Park Lodge your are left with a ACC hut or hotels in town. This isn’t all bad but it does make for lots of driving. We settled into our digs for the week dreaming of powder fields as 30cms of snow buried our car in the parking lot as we slept. Unlike in the past when you could just roll out of bed and check the permit openings we sat at breakfast refreshing our phones repeatedly till BOOM. Much to my surprise they were opening terrain.

After a stop at the Discovery Centre we zero’d in on McGill Shoulder (well we really didn’t have an option it was there or Grizzly shoulder and judging by the 20 cars at the visitors centre the decision was made). Having toured in that area I knew we could be safe and get some amazing turns. Nick and Mike a brother tandem joined me for this trip and we were about to put Mike through Touring school in search of virgin powder. 3 Hours and 1100m of climbing later we got virgin powder alright.

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Rogers Pass has seen less snow this year and according to the ranger it was on the low end of their 50 year rolling average. The booby traps down low really highlighted how little snow has fallen in that range this year.

Revelstoke is notorious for storms and a major system came through in the night and had the highway closed for the day. With the avalanche danger high we headed to one of the best resorts in BC for some lift service pow shots. We had the privilege to share the hill with hordes of florescent coloured kids in town for the Freeride World Tour. A day at the hill was made better with a sweet deal on four packs of tickets to boot!

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Feeling the effects from the previous days efforts and a long drive to the Kootenays we took a rest day and spent time relaxing in the Nakusp Hot Springs. We were the youngest people in the geriatric pools. I think they liked the young meat and were very friendly as seeing people under 40 in those parts must be rare.

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