There is nothing quite like standing on an untouched mountain ridge surrounded by friends and looking down at untracked powder-laden rib lines that beckon for a descent.
Last week my team and I were embedded in the Esplanade range, less than a two-hour ski tour from a warm, large ski lodge, where no person had ever skied before and no other person was to be seen for miles around. We were alone in the vast expanse of the backcountry.
Osprey Athletes, travel
Great urban cycling shot from Toronto, Canada.
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Image: Dylan Passmore
Every year it has become somewhat of a tradition to ski the 26km Spearhead Ski Traverse. It’s almost a rite of passage for skiers and climbers from Vancouver to Pemberton.
adventure, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities
It had to come to an end… the best season of powder skiing I have ever had at Valhalla Mountain Touring. Something like 80 of 90 days of the calendar winter with measurable precip. WOW… that just says to me, non-stop blower pow with no weak layers. I have never skied so much deep powder over 35 degrees in my life. So many new lines opened up at the lodge, and so many runs skied in the best conditions ever.
Osprey Adventure Envoys, Osprey Culture, travel
We’re excited about the latest round of Mountainfilm guest speakers to be announced. In keeping with the 2011 Moving Mountains Symposium theme of “Awareness into Action,” the series of special guests announced last week, “have all committed their lives to rolling up their sleeves and making a serious difference in the world,” Festival Director David Holbrooke said.
causes, Events, Osprey Culture, Southwest Colorado
Decker Mountain is a quick side trip from the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, and a great introduction to the Spearhead range. So it was pretty cool to reconnect with a friend from the mountain bike race days and ski some powder.
adventure, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities
The winter has been mind boggling in the interior of British Columbia. So good. Quit your job (or use all of your vacation time) and get up here now and ski your brains out, because hey, it’s going to be spring soon. As I write this, the cold smoke is piling up AGAIN, but I need to share some spectacular skiing from last week. A brief 2 days of sunny skies allowed us to explore some new zones in my backyard at Valhalla Mountain Touring, and what we discovered was one of the 5 best ski runs at my lodge. Check it out, we named it Fireball. Why? Because at the bottom of this mind boggling run, when we were reveling in the pure ecstasy of the moment, my buddy Tony busted out a flask of Fireball cinnamon whiskey. That is classy, and that is how ski runs get named.
Osprey Adventure Envoys, Osprey Culture
I’m just going to come right out and say it. The Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia are home to the best skiing in the world.
There, I said it. And I believe it after spending quite a few years skiing around the world. I haven’t found a place where the terrain, snow pack and snow quality come together in such a way that you can consistently ski such high quality powder snow.
And this last week was proof that my (not so) bold statement is true. Well, the last 3 weeks, wait, the last two months actually. I tallied up my snow observation history the other day for the season, and it showed me that 53 of the last 61 days had measurable amounts of new snow, and that the temperature never got above 0 degrees Celsius at my lodge (www.vmt.ca). And this last week was the icing on the cake. A brief windstorm last Saturday kind of plastered on the snow in most locations, and the temps warmed up. Then it started snowing about 5 to 10cms a day for 5 days, with gradually dropping temps and no wind at all. The result was bomber stability (aka low avalanche danger) and boot top cold smoke from the highest summits to the lowest valleys. That’s what I’m talking about.
I made a quick video from a few runs and summits last week, but I was too busy skiing (my group I was guiding tallied about 40,000 vertical feet of ski touring last week!) to take more photos and video… Enjoy!
adventure, Osprey Culture
In the last few years, I went from owning just one beater backpack and a 35-year-old duffel handed down from my dad, to owning eight packs and two duffels. Kind of embarrassing, I know.
Last week, on the way home from a ski trip to B.C., my gear was all smooshed into my Transporter duffel and thrown in the back of the truck. As we drove through Spokane, Washington, it was alternating rain and sleet. Nothing even got wet. A worthy upgrade — sorry Dad!
I got that duffel for a trip last summer to Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada, where its adventures all began….
adventure, Osprey Culture, Product, travel
Skiers in front of Mt. Tupper
With almost 4 meters of new snow in the last month, it was really nice to wake up to some cold and clear arctic high pressure up north in Canada. The snowpack has doubled in depth, tightened up and the last storm finished off with a sweet icing of cold smoke. All of this has coincided with my first few “days off” from life at Valhalla Mountain Touring. I know, tough life that I live, having to be up at a backcountry ski lodge full time. But its nice to ski somewhere different, drive a car, and watch TV in a hotel room after 6 weeks of not even turning my cell phone on, or driving more than 5km to the dump once a week!
adventure, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities