K2inCanada's Blog

January 19, 2014

BC Ski Trip 2013

Filed under: BC Ski Trip 2013, Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 11:07 PM

And here it is – the long awaited report from our cross country ski trip in December of last year. It’s a long post be warned! And I tried to limit the number of pictures – for more photos click here. The weather wasn’t as cooperative as last year…

This is a map of the trip – 11 days of skiing and driving throughout southeast BC and into Alberta.

MapFull2 (Medium)

Sat Dec 21 “Mice in the Attic”

We got up at just before 7AM and were on the road by 8AM. Made good time to Kamloops (3.5hrs) where we had lunch at Tim’s. The high roads were covered in snow and we saw at least 5 cars that had gone off the road between Merritt and Kamloops. Took 2 more hrs to get to Salmon Arm and we didn’t hit the ski hill till 2PM. General traffic and two more accidents had slowed us down. It was cold and overcast but no wind. I took off on my Peltonen and did a warm-up ski around “Bilbo’s Bog” before heading up on “Sky”. That trail wasn’t recently groomed but tracks were still usable underneath 10cm of fluffy powder. It was going up the whole time but the grade was gentle. Once on top I skipped the cabin and took the shortcut to “Larch Lake Loop”. It went mostly down from there onto “Panorama” and “Baby Moonwalk” – both had steep downhill sections. I had reasonable good control despite not perfectly groomed trails and it felt like powder skiing, snow was so fluffy. Finished off on “Stigs Loop”. All in all about ~2hrs. We left the hill around 4PM with still a bit of day light left but not much. It started to snow lightly on the drive to Revelstoke. Jeff had pre-booked a room at the Frontier Motel. We got in around 6PM and had dinner at “Zalas” sharing a medium Greek #2 pizza, adding the salad bar for some fresh stuff. We washed everything down with Mt Begbie dark ale. Pretty good! Back in the room we read for a bit and were in bed by 10PM. Something was shuffling around in the ceiling the whole time – I am sure those were mice. I didn’t sleep well being worried about them getting into my chocolate, Jeff was worried they would feast on our ski boots – both of us having our priorities straight 🙂

Sun Dec 22 “Up and down and around and all over again”

The best thing about winter vacation is I get a lot of sleep J. We got up around 8AM and had breakfast in the room – hot cereal. It was still overcast outside but the weather report promised some sunny breaks throughout the day. This year we didn’t have to drive around aimlessly like last time but drove straight to the trail system at Mount McPherson. The hut was still closed. Temperature was -5C. The fee was still the same as last year – a low $9 each. Since we skied this place last year at the end of our trip we had been pretty tired already. So this year I was going to take full advantage of the fresh legs – so I thought. We headed up “Main line” – which turned out to be much more up that I remembered. Connected onto “Log Roller” – again more up – before going down steeply on “Hydro” and “Hydro Way”. If not for the power lines and low clouds, one could get some good views from up here. Skiing back towards the hut on “Beaver Pond” on a gentle downhill grade. But since that would have been quite a short ski I decided to turn right onto “Novice Glide” to get back to the power lines. “Novice” my ass – the name is totally deceiving. Or maybe it is green skiing down but going up it was hard work!. Instead of going up Hydro, I went back down on “Cedar Ramble” to connect onto Creek Crawl which brought me back up to “Main line” so that I could finish the “Main Line Loop” of which the upper portion is one way. And yep, it is up again quite steeply but I managed to stay in the tracks. Once on top it is a nice ride down towards the hut. But of course I wasn’t done yet. Instead of going straight back I followed the “Mickey Olson Loop” (again one of those green trails that in most other places would be blue) and did the little loop of “Evelyn’s choice”. Those two trails really get you the best views. Well, still not done – 2nd loop: Back up “Main line” and “Log Roller”, down “Hydro/Hydro Way” and “Beaver Pond”, back up on “Novice Glide” (now my legs were tired so that was more walking than skiing) and down again on “Cedar Rambler” this time all the way to connect to a real green trails like “BIT” and the dog trails. 4hr45min, 29.5km. I was dead by the time I hit the hut. Jeff was already back for a while. We grabbed some buns, salami and cheese out of the cooler and had a quick lunch in the cabin while warming up near the fireplace. Next up, the drive through the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park. It was beautiful despite the low clouds but also slow – lots of traffic. Interestingly, the traffic going west was 90% Albertans. We got to Golden around 4PM and found this great little motel off the main drag “Pinewood Inn Motel”. Full kitchen, sofa and separate bedroom. A bit far from the pubs so we drove into town to “The Wolf Den” to have some fancy burgers. Really good Louisiana Chicken Burger with Brie for me and Pulled Pork for Jeff. We washed the food down with a Fernie dark lager for me and Arrowhead stout for Jeff. We were stuffed and went for a short walk through town to stretch the legs and tummy. Back at the cabin we finished the day of with watching TV and blogging.

Mon Dec 23 “Sick as a dog”

Not sure if it was before or after midnight when I woke up with terrible heartburn and tummy aches. By 5AM I was in the bathroom switching from sitting on the toilet to sticking my head into it puking my guts out. I felt like I am going to die! This went on till about 10AM with intermittent short rests on the sofa. I still felt terrible but we did have to vacate the room nonetheless. It had snowed a bit overnight and it was overcast and it felt COLD. On the way to Dawn Mountain we got stopped by a parked train just before crossing the Kicking Horse River. I saw cars ahead of us turning around so it must have been sitting there for a while already. But another 10min and the train started moving again. Still it took some time before all of it had passed the road. I was just happy enough that I made it up the mountain without having to throw up one more time. But I was tired and felt super weak. So while Jeff went for a ski I hung out in the ski hut. It was nice and warm and they even had a sofa I could crash on. After a couple of hours I finally felt ok enough to step outside but only lasted for 10min or so. When I got back to the hut, Jeff came in as well. He had a quick lunch at the hut – I still didn’t feel like eating anything. I forced a small cookie down but that was it. But I was looking forward to the drive through the BC Rockies next. Even though the Kicking Horse Canyon was pretty sogged in – it was snowing lightly almost the whole drive – we could still see some of the stunning scenery. We saw a whole bunch of elk once the canyon opened up into a wide valley. The drive to Field, BC, didn’t take long. I hadn’t even known this town existed. Just past the turnoff to Emerald Lake, which I had been to before, this tiny community of maybe 50 houses is located at the foot of Mount Stephen. More than half of the houses are Guesthouses, B&B or Inns and even a Hostel. Before we could enter town though we were stopped by yet another train parked on the tracks – but it took not long until it got moving again. Jeff had booked a place online for two nights since we wanted to make sure to have a place to sleep. So we were looking for the Truffle Pig Inn. Driving around town three times – it’s not a big town – until we finally asked someone. “It’s just at the end of the road – you can’t miss it”, except that we had been by that place three times already. Turned out the Inn was called “Kicking Horse Inn” and the restaurant adjacent to it was called “Truffle Pig” – we had been looking for the wrong sign. We weren’t the only ones though challenged with finding their way – it took 3 people at the reception desk to figure out how to use their reservations program to check us in:-). But finally we got into our room – a very nice room with a view to the west over the Kicking Horse Valley. All I needed though was another nap – exhausted after carrying my stuff upstairs to our room on the 2nd floor. 1.5hrs later I woke up and finally felt human again. Still not really hungry but I thought I may be ok for some soup. So we went to the restaurant – a fancy restaurant. We started off with some Ahi Tuna on kiwi with wasabi aioli – it tasted good but still felt a bit too risky for my tummy. The soup of the day was beef and vegetable and I thought that would be perfect . It was VERY tasty but my tummy just did not want any of it. I finished the baguette that came with it but managed only half the soup. Jeff had told the waiter that I had a rough night last night – great he must have thought I had been drinking too much…. Well Jeff finished my soup and his fancy Mac and Cheese with homemade Bratwurst. Afterwards we went for a walk through town to see how far away the start of the ski trail was – not far. We could easily leave the car be for a day and walk there. I slept pretty decent that night – stomach stayed calm.

Tue Dec 24 “Stunning Scenery”

I woke up and it was still dark – 7:30AM – mountain time!!! So I went back to sleep until it was light out an hour and a bit later – there was a beautiful orange glow over the mountains to the west although it was still overcast. We could see elk down the road in front of someone’s house…3 or 4 of them! And guess what, I did not run outside to take a picture – tells you that I wasn’t yet 100%. We had breakfast in the room – our own stuff even though we could have ordered breakfast room service. I managed a small bowl of oatmeal which had to be enough to get me going for a full day of skiing. I am not going to miss another day, not in an area I had never skied before!!! By about 10:30AM we were partially walking and skiing through town to the start of the trail. But to get there we had to cross the train tracks again and yep, we just manage to hit another train but this time it was actually moving. The trail head was just off the highway at the Canada Parks Visitor Centre. Today’s destination was Emerald Lake – some 11km away by ski. First off, the trail went through the open valley with stunning views until you cross the HWY a km and a bit away from the start. The trail continues on in the trees with some openings for nice views. Eventually you start climbing a bit up the mountain side towards the road into Emerald Lake. Then the trail more or less follows the road – although for the most part you wouldn’t know it – and it is a gentle up and down up to the lake. The trail is fairly narrow and the tracks weren’t freshly groomed but it worked great with our crowns. Jeff actually stayed with me the whole way and I was going pretty darn slow not having eaten anything substantial in more than 24hrs. But it was a great day, the sun started to come out halfway down the road to Emerald Lake. At the lake we decided to do the lake circuit as well. I still felt okay and the terrain was easy. Near the backend of the lake there was another little detour with great views over the mountains and I would not have missed it. By the time we got back to the start of the lake circuit though I really started to feel tired. Jeff and I had shared a granola bar which gave back some energy but it didn’t last forever. We had to navigate some steep and narrow ups and downs near the end of the lake circuit – sign depicted a double black – but I managed okay. The beautiful trail, stunning views and relatively easy terrain kept me going. 5hrs25min later we were back in Field and just had to walk back to the lodge. We had only covered just under 30kms but even Jeff was tired by then. It was nice to be able to walk back to the room rather than having to hit the road after the ski. The town was very quiet on Christmas Eve. Since the restaurant had closed early that day we had planned ahead and had brought some microwave dinners. Unfortunately, we popped a fuse turning on the microwave while playing with the computers, watching TV and boiling water in our electric kettle… There was no-one at reception. Luckily we found the owner’s phone number and it said to call in an emergency. They came by pretty quick and popped the fuse back in. We left everything off while trying to heat up dinner the 2nd time around. And I actually was able to eat the whole thing!!! Merry Christmas.

Wed Dec 25 “Tortures”

Got up at 8:30AM and drove to Lake Louise after a quick brekky in the room. It was overcast and very WINDY. We had picked out a trail called “The Great Divide” the day before since it sounded great to ski from Alberta back into BC. And I am sure it is a great trail on a nice sunny day with lots of views from a wide and almost flat track. Today though, we skied into a headwind gusting to 40km/hr and light snow with close to no visibility whatsoever. What a shame. The classic tracks were being wiped out by the wind almost instantaneously. I made it just a bit past the sign “Great Divide” before I saw Jeff returning – things would not be any better or different going on so I turned around with him. But he was out of sight again in no time. On the way back up (a climb of 60m) I took a little side trail (#8) which was nice and narrow and little bumpy and protected from the wind and a whole lot more fun. In theory I was ready to go back to the car after that but still had plenty of time left and no hut to wait for Jeff near the parking lot. And since I was here already I wanted to have a look at famous Lake Louise. So I went south and that meant up and across a fairly big hill before finally dropping down to the “Lake Louise” trail. I was tired – more from fighting the elements than from skiing. And things went from bad to worse: The trail along the lake was awful. I had no grip with my grip tape which is really unusual. No views for most of it and a lot of people had been walking on the ski trail – even though there were signs AND separate trails for people to walk – leaving big holes and uneven surfaces to ski on. Finally near the end of it though it got pretty cool and opened up to some views. The trails also got quite narrow, too narrow for me to trust my tired legs to ski on. So I did the BAD thing as 100s before me, I walked the very last bit. Only to find out that there was no access to the lake at the end of the trail – due to the warm weather the creek was open and I would have gotten quite wet feet crossing it. But a little ways back up the trails was a place people had made it down to the lake. Took a bit of side stepping through deep snow but I managed without crashing (apparently Jeff took a tumble here). Now finally on the lake I could ski back on top of it which was kinda cool. It was pretty icy in some sections but I could double pole the whole way back for which my legs were thankful. Quite a few people were out walking the lake, even saw a few horse sleds. I ended up in front of that big hotel that shows up in all the pictures. In the winter they have a big Ice Castle skating rink on the frozen lake – it was pretty busy with skaters. It took me a bit to find the correct trail back to the car and I ended up walking along the road for about400m, with lots of traffic!!! Almost 4hrs and hardly any kms by the time I got to the car where Jeff was waiting. Apparently he found some nicer trails on the others side – so we may have to come back. We had a snack in the car and a London Fog and minty hot chocolate at a coffee shop in the village to warm us up. We even checked out the downhill area across the HWY since there were supposed to be even more trails. Didn’t see any signs of any trail heads though. Finally we left Lake Louise and drove to Banff for our dinner reservation at Giorgio’s at 5:15PM. Banff was busy and the streets were packed with people – just like I would have imagined a town like Banff. The restaurant was nice – we had our own little alcove with a window overlooking the main road and the now dark mountains in the background. Dinner was excellent – Butternut squash soup, turkey dinner and tiramisu. But it was too much!! I felt way too full not even finishing it all and it almost hurt. So we went for a walk through town in the cold wind (apparently for Banffers this is warm!!!). Final leg of the day, the drive to Canmore where Jeff had booked a room for another 2 nights in the Rundle Mountain Lodge. The room on the 2nd floor was nice but for a leaky bathtub faucet. Kept me awake all night – water torture!!!!! And even though my stomach had calmed down after the too big meal I was kept awake by that dripping faucet all night long.

Thu Dec 26 “Grouse Attack”

I was pretty grumpy this morning since I hadn’t slept much – we didn’t get up till after 9AM. Today Jeff felt like going out for breakfast. We found a place real close – Craigs’ Way Station – which had really good beef sausages. Again I was unable to finish my plate – not normal. We hit the road to drive to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park for today’s ski. It was still windy and overcast but also warm – +8C in Canmore, near 0C where we went. Peter Lougheed is a great place – a wide valley covered in conifers surrounded by big mountains. I had never been here before. It’s also where HWY 40 ended that day – from Dec 1 to Jun 1 it is closed off to traffic! We started our ski at the Pocaterra Hut – nice big hut, no trail fees! – and skied the “big loop”. Great trails that wound their way more or less gently up the valley – a mix of green and blue sections. Views were few and far in between on the way up though. I saw wolf tracks and both Jeff and I ran into a Spruce Grouse that was controlling the trail. It was sitting in the middle of the trail and literately attacked everyone trying to get past it. Jeff was way ahead of me and was attacked first. And the grouse was still there when I got to the same spot 20min or so later. I was skiing at a slow pace and kinda had underestimated how big that big loop was. I decided to take a “shortcut” and get a bit more of a view at the same time. Yeah right! This shortcut – “Lookout” – went straight up a mountain (black trail) and I was herringboning most of it for about 2km. I didn’t check how long it took but it must have been a LONG time. Finally on top I was rewarded by a little bit of a view. The sun broke through the clouds for a bit but most of the surrounding mountains were still stuck in clouds. It even snowed a little as well. I could see the valley below me – way below – and was thinking how on earth am I going to get down there…. Well, the down part started off as a gentle blue trail which I could ski down. Then it turned into a black trail shortly after and got really steep. Not much room for snowplowing – the way I do it – as the trail was fairly narrow. I tried anyhow but the only way to stop myself on the more than 90degree corner was to plow into the deep snow and – faceplant, you got it :-). But I had not yet reached the steepest part by far. Those parts came with red warning signs “Steep Hill”. I tried to side step some of the steepest sections but that took forever. Eventually I tried to ski some but got so fast so quick that I dropped onto my butt to slow down. Side stepped some more but that really wasn’t going to work considering time. So eventually I gave in and just sat on my butt and used my skies to steer me around corners and my hands to control the speed. Must have looked funny like hell. The snow was soo dry I didn’t even get a wet butt. I made it down in one piece and had fun too :-). Only to discover that I had dropped down even lower than I had started at on the far side. Therefore I ended up doing some more climbing. I was getting tired and had hoped it would be all downhill from here. But eventually I found the downhill portion on “Hydro” and after navigating another stupid steep decent I finally got onto “Fox Creek” and more level terrain. “Fox Creek” is a quite narrow trail through the trees at a gentle downhill or almost flat grade – just double poling. That was actually a lot of fun. After that I tried to take another shortcut – this time a green trail – but that trail had been damaged in the floods this year and I almost crashed into a tree and ended up in the creek. No more shortcuts!!! Instead I backed up a bit onto “Moraine” which was again narrow single track, mostly flat or down along this beautiful ravine. By now I was already 45min late to our meeting time and still a good 10km away from the parking lot. And it was getting late as well. But with a few exceptions most of the trails from here on were wide green or blue gentle downhill runs and I made pretty good time. Still it took another 45min or so and one more stupid steep downhill to get back to the hut. I was dead tired though! Another 4.5hr day on skis. Jeff had already been back but he hadn’t been on time either. And the lucky bastard saw a MOOSE on the trail – the trail I missed for my first “shortcut”! Overall a great day and the trails are a lot of fun even if you have to do them on your butt. We drove back to Canmore and walked to “Patronis” for dinner. We were a bit dehydrated and filled up on too much liquid so that there wasn’t enough room to finish our dinners – lasagne and chicken curry. My tummy still doesn’t want large amounts of food. Or maybe we should have skipped the Calamari appetizer :-). That night I put a towel into the bathtub to muffle the running water sound as much as possible and Jeff’s finishing touch made it really quite!!

Fri Dec 27 “Pizza Night”

We really slept in that day. The wind was howling outside on and off and it was overcast. The forecast promised warm conditions with +8C temperatures for Canmore! Today’s ski was at the Nordic Centre in Canmore. They have great wide trails and we decided to give our classic skis a rest and go for a skate ski, making it a little bit of a shorter ski day. It wasn’t quite as busy as last year but there were still a lot of people out on the easy trails near the lodge. But the further you got away from the trailhead the quieter it got. I took “Banff” trail out – nice and flat after an initial little hill which I managed with only one stop. Skating is so hard!!!! At the end of “Banff” I challenged myself to real hills and went up “Meadowview” – well mostly because I wanted the view from the top and not the workout :-). Going was slow with a few rests on the hills but I got up there all the way and was rewarded with a great view over the Bow Valley. For the way down I didn’t want to end up on the Olympic trails again and went back onto “Banff Loop” crossing the meadows with a great view of Rundle Mountain. Back at the end of “Banff” I took the “Bow” trail to get back to the nordic centre. Gentle hills and more twisty-turny than Banff but really nice skiing. Was on my skates for over 2hrs – probably the longest this season – and it felt ok for skates I guess. Next up was the drive back to BC though Kootenay National Park. The weather was getting progressively worse and by the time we left Alberta it started snowing lightly. So not much of a view on this drive and it was slow going. But eventually we made it into Radium Hot Springs. The last bit of the drive through the narrow canyon past the actual hot springs was the best part. We checked into the same motel as last year – Crystal Spring – away from the highway. The owner was just as chatty as I remember her from last year and she gave me chocolate!!! We got a King room for the same price as a regular room. The bed was massive and so was the bathtub – had to try that one! But first we got back into the car and drove to Invermere to eat at the best ever pizza place, Pepe’s Italian Fuel. We shared a large house salad made of spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and cranberries with a Thai dressing – it was awesome. Haven’t had any good veggies in a while. Next we had a large pizza half “Italian” and half “Pesto Chicken”. The sauce they put onto their pizzas is just amazing. And I finally had a post-workout Guinness. The place was busy. We just got in before the crowds. Back in Radium we just turned off the hwy to drive to the motel when we saw a whole herd of bighorn sheep cross the hwy next to us. There must have been 20 or so animals in that group. Half of them ended up walking up the hill to the hot springs – on the road of course which I am sure some of the cars going up that hill didn’t find so funny. The other half walked up a side road. Unfortunately it had started to rain so I could not chase them with my camera – never mind it was pitch dark. Back in the motel we soaked in the mega bathtub for 45min instead of going back out again to the hot springs. Was very relaxing!!!!

Sat Dec 28 “Mountains, Canyons and Rivers”

We had a really good night sleep in our mega-size bed. Today we back-tracked a bit on HWY 93 to ski at Nipika just outside Kootenay National Park. On the drive out of Radium Hot Springs we saw 3 bighorn sheep along the road feeding on someone’s front yard bushes. I guess the people who live here are used to it – last year there were a bunch of deer doing the same. It was still overcast but the sun was breaking through the clouds as we entered the Kootenay Valley driving along Settlers Road. On the drive we saw a pine marten scooting off the road and disappear into the forest before I even turned my camera on. We got a few more glimpses of the animal going up and down trees and looking back at us. But no pictures, sigh. Nipika didn’t have a ton of snow but the owner Lyle had done some work on the trail system over the summer so that they were able to groom the little bit they got and make skiing enjoyable. And it was cold enough, about -5C. Obviously the higher trails had the best snow. We put on our classic skis again – one day of skating is more than enough – and worked our way up to the upper trails crossing the Natural Bridge with a nice view of the upper Cross River Canyon. We were the first people skiing on that side of the creek that morning and had to break trails for a bit. We skied the many, many trails for over 3.5hrs offering views over the Kootenay River and the mountains to the west, it was a great day. But eventually we had to get back on the road to get closer to tomorrow’s skiing destination. Back onto HWY 93 going south towards Cranbrook. There wasn’t much daylight left but we saw lots of elk along the road while driving through the Columbia Valley. In Cranbook, we managed to get the same room we spent Christmas Day in last year at the Flamingo Motel. This time though, we were able to walk to a restaurant nearby with good home cooked meals instead of eating salami sandwiches in the room.

Sun Dec 29 “Moose blind – damn it”

I felt tired when I woke up that morning, not sure why. It was another overcast day in Cranbrook and I didn’t really feel like going for another ski today. But on the drive to Kimberley the sun worked hard on breaking through the clouds and finally succeeded as we arrived in Kimberley. We saw lots of deer and elk on the drive as well. Since I already felt kinda off I thought I might as well go skating. There is a great 6km loop at Kimberly which is pretty flat and even I should be able to make it around without stopping lots. Jeff though decided on classics again. If you know anything about skiing you may think that since skate skiing is generally faster than classic skiing I might have a chance to stay with Jeff. Well, you thought wrong! He blasted off and I never saw him again. Not very good for my already fragile ego that day. I worked hard on enjoying my skate ski in the beautiful sunshine on perfectly groomed trails but it was just hard work. Well, I only had to rest at 2 hills :-). But after 3 of the 6km laps I was done. Despite all my feeling sorry for myself working so hard skating it had only taken 1hr45min. And instead of sitting in the lodge for over an hour waiting for Jeff I switched skis. Oh and what a difference that made – all sudden I was enjoying myself. I could double-pole a lot. I even did some of the more hilly trails (“Landsem”) and climbed all the way up to the high point on “K2” – well the name makes the climb sound much tougher than it was. The top offers a little bit of a view over the Columbia Valley towards the Rockies but still through the trees. This way I finished another 2 laps. It was slower than skating but I enjoyed it so much more. My mood was almost at a high until I saw Jeff at the cabin and he said “Did you see the moose?” “What moose?” I countered. “Well the one right near the trail at “5 Corners” – I saw it 3 times.” It was a young one apparently and has been hanging around the trails for a while, sometimes with mom but not today. Apparently I skied by a moose 5 times – WTF!!! My mood had dropped again considerably…just like that :-). Jeff offered to ski back with me but I just had enough. So we started the long drive towards Trail. To get there we had to get over 2 high passes and it started snowing and was getting dark. A difficult drive to say the least. Along the way we decided to skip skiing at Black Jack – a place I didn’t have a fond memory of in the first place – since we were both getting tired of skiing everyday and sleeping in motels. So we ended up in Castlegar instead. It was kinda difficult to find a place to stay in town. Motels were almost non-existent as we drove along what we thought was main street towards downtown. But eventually we found the Flamingo Motel – it was clean and had a separate bedroom but at $85/night one of the more expensive places we stayed at (other than the ones we pre-booked in Field and Canmore). In its favour though, Frank, the owner was delighted to have us as his only guests. He suggested a Pub nearby in easy walking distance and even made sure they were still open by calling ahead. Nealy O’Brien Pub was almost empty as well – Sunday night I guess. Food was good – spinach salad to start and I had a pita chicken wrap and Jeff a clubhouse. Still, I could not finish my meal again. This is getting weird.

Mon Dec 30 “The best snow”

It was snowing outside when we woke up and it took a bit longer to get going even though both of us were looking forward to skiing Paulson again. It had been one of the highlights last year – in bright sunshine. The clouds only got thicker on the drive up to Paulson Pass. We got to a parking lot right on the HWY. We seemed o remember being able to drive down that road quite it bit last time to get to the cabin. Turned out we started at the other end, there are two access points :-). It was cold – minus 5C. But since it was still snowing we took out crowns today. Jeff actually decided to take it easy and ski with me again. We went down towards the cabin first on “Winterberry” a really nice single track trail with the tacks filled with fresh snow. Once we passed the cabin the trails were freshly groomed. It was awesome skiing. Made it around the whole outer trails – from Ben Shaw to Ridge to Old Growth to Snowberry to Pine to Glenmerry to Norwegian Woods to Gloryview and back to the car. No views whatsoever, we were in clouds for most of it, but that didn’t take away from enjoying the great trails and excellent snow. We went slow but steady – hardly stopped for picture so it was a lot more continuous skiing for me than before :-). Another 3.5hrs on skis – almost 30hrs in total on this trip.

The big question now was where to ski the next day – our last day. Originally we had planned to ski at China Ridge but their snow reports didn’t look promising. We opted to overnight in Osoyoos so we had the option to either ski China Ridge or Nickelplate. We found this great little motel on the way out of town, the Westridge Motor Inn, away from the main tourist places and quite affordable. It is also located right next to the “Ridge Pub and Family Restaurant”. It was empty when we arrived. They had this special of “Tandoori Chicken and Prawn Linguini” on the menu. Oh was that ever tasty!!! I actually finished it ALL!! One of the best meals on the trip (other than Pepe’s).

Tue Dec 31 “Always reliable”

Last day of the trip – last day of the year. Again it was overcast. We checked the China Ridge website in the morning but there was no update so we went for the safe place. The drive to Nickelplate took longer than I would have thought and I was almost ready to just turn around and go home. But luckily I didn’t say anything and we went all the way. The parking lot was packed! As usual we took our classic skis, crowns for me. But we did not do the usual trails and tried out the southern trail system instead – “Winters”, “Reimer’s Reach” and “Motherlode”. What I didn’t know was that you go down a lot before you go up a lot more. The tracks were filled in with last night’s snow but since Jeff was ahead of me as usual I had good tracks. The climbing wasn’t that steep but you kept going up for a long time and ended up near the high point at Eagles Nest. I am sure on a clear day you’ll have some spectacular views from up there!! And I hardly saw a soul  the whole time – makes you feel like an explorer of new terrain (never mind there were tracks). Overall the going was slow – not much glide in the fresh snow. We skied for 1hr50min only but it was enough. We still had a long drive home ahead of us. The drive to Vancouver was uneventful and we finished off all the Stuart McLean Christmas Stories I got Jeff for Christmas. Since we hadn’t made any plans for New Years Eve we stayed at home and barely managed to be awake till midnight – it was a good tired though :-). Thanks to Jeff for all the driving….

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1 Comment »

  1. Very cool…I’m already looking forward to next winter’s x-country tour adventure!

    Comment by Jeff — January 21, 2014 @ 6:57 PM


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