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
They say that a fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer wave goodbye.
The colors set in and the trails disappear under a thick bed of red, green and yellow leaves. The trails that have been nice and dry for most of the summer turn into sticky, muddy terrain and the shinny roots stare at you, trying to make you slip on every turn. The hot summer days make way to chilling, dark and rainy days. When all these elements come together, it only means one thing — it’s time for epic rides!
Your daily ride might involve a lot of things, but how often do you come across this? “You never know what you might run into during a seemingly normal ride around Banff, Alberta,” as Justin of Venture There says. We figured it was a fitting photo to end our Ride of the Week contest with.
Thanks to everyone that submitted! We’ll be announcing our grand prize winner next week. And even if your photo wasn’t selected, keep your eyes on the Osprey Bike Blog, because we’ll be featuring more contests soon.
If I remember correctly, I started mountain biking in 1985. I worked all summer in West Vancouver landscaping to save enough money to get my first bike — a blue and white Gary Fisher Montare.
From the get go I was hooked, I mostly used my bike to get my skinny 15 year old legs stronger for ice hockey try outs in the fall, and ski season in the winter. By the summer of 1986, I started racing my mountain bike and had instant dreams of becoming the next John Tomac. Only a handful of people had mountain bikes at my high school in North Vancouver, which eventually became the place they call the North Shore — the birth place of free-ride mountain biking. One thing I remember most about riding back then was that you could get lost for hours and never run into a soul. Now, there is a constant flow of mountain bikers from all parts of the world.
Bike, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture
All I can say is “WOW” what a fun way to end the race season!
Because of shift work and home renovations, my final big race of the season was going to be another 24-hour solo event. Chico Racing puts on two 24-hour events a year, Summer Solstice and Hot August Night, as well as other Mountain Bike events.
Hot August Night is held in Bolton, Ontario and runs from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, although it may have been a tad hot, but no complaints since the three previous 24-hour events had been spoiled with rain. They set up a course that was fun for all riding abilities. There were some awesome fast single tracks, as well as some technical down hills, and yes — a lot of climbing.
Bike, Events, Osprey Athletes, Product
Last Tuesday I woke up to another cold gray morning alongside the Belly River in northern Glacier National Park, only 6 miles from the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. I pried myself from the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag, slipped on my shoes, and undid my bear hang. After chucking everything into my pack I started off down the mushy, muddy trail along the Belly River.
Soon I came across some fresh Griz tracks, which got me singing some made up songs, loud enough to scare any bears with any remote musical taste far, far away. As I hiked, the mountains turned burnt pink with an early alpine glow. Thimble berries lined the trail all the way to the border.
Before I knew it I was standing on the Chief Mountain Highway hugging the border monument. (Road walks aren’t really my favorite).
A mere half hour later I found myself in a friend’s van on the way to Park Cafe, a local favorite whose slogan is “pie for strength.” We ate an entire peach pie and they were kind enough to give me tokens for a 12 minute shower. That left me heading up the Going to the Sun Road (by car) satisfied; full, clean, and in good company.
Osprey Adventure Envoys
Ironman and the Turret loom behind camp
You know the rest of the saying. Sometimes it hurts to say it, but you can say it with me right now. “Try, try (try, try) AGAIN!” This is kind of a basic tenet of alpine climbing, or maybe all climbing really; actually, life itself. So what am I trying to get at here?
If you followed my last post, it was a video from the a trip I took to the Adamant Mountains in 2008, a recap of some attempts, successes and failures from a great 10 days in the mountains. A lead in to climbing there again this season. And we did climb there again this year…
July 13th we (Craig and Jeremy) decided to drive to the Golden, BC to pack and prep to fly into our glacier camp at the base of some amazing summits. Camp would be a 10 minute walk from 2 unfree-climbed 600m alpine big walls. Drool.
But for the few days leading up to our departure, way too much time was spent looking at the weather models, trying to figure out if we had any chance of some long awaited BC summer high pressure. For details I can’t really get in to (let’s just say extenuating personal circumstances of a team member) we decided to give it a try anyway, and by the morning of the 14th we were waiting to fly in from a random logging road, and watching the black clouds prevent our passage.
adventure, Osprey Adventure Envoys