Wednesday, December 5, 2007

XCD in the Kootenays

Charlie and I weren't the only ones who got out for some turns after the sales meeting. For reps traveling from the East Coast, a few extra days usually go on the schedule for an early season ski roadtrip. Doug Reilley of Mountain Lake Marketing checks in from the road in BC:

(Skis out for bluebird. Photos by Doug Reilley)

After crossing the border at Nelway on Friday, we headed up to Salmo/Creston pass (aka Kootenay Pass) and toured with XCD gear around the Ripple Ridge area. Cover was a bit thin on the south facing slopes, but we did manage to do a nice descent to a logging road, which we followed back around and up to Ripple Ridge. Heading back to the cars we managed to find some fresher and deeper snow by cutting off the switchbacks. Good food and drink in Nelson that night!

(Bill Love and Mike Kaz appreciating the day.)

On Saturday we skinned up and over Hummingbird Pass which is on the access road leading to Whitewater Mountain Resort – again more logging road and single-track touring (although with wider boards this time). The cover was still rather thin but we managed to do some 'Adirondack style' trail skiing on the way down. Once the trail opened up, we were able to pick up the speed and get some nice, long, flowing turns.

(Smooth tracks and steady pace.)

(Kick and glide back out late in the day.)

Sunday, we woke up to find 8 to 10 inches of new snow with more coming down. We decided to head up to the ski hill and skin up the Summit side (about 1300'). It seemed like half the town of Nelson had the same idea as the parking lot was pretty crowded. The snow continued to dump as we ascended ski trails and access roads that wound to the top. No views this day with snow and high winds swirling about. The descent proved to be quite challenging as we couldn't tell what was under the snow.

(No better way to end the ski day than Alpenglow across the sky.)

Some of the mounds were tops of rocks hidden from above and others were merely piles of windblown snow. Mixed among the lumpy terrain were weed stalks, small conifers and alder. One lap was plenty as we got bogged down more than a few times on the descent in the deep, unconsolidated snow. After cleaning up and repacking, Bill K, Kaz and I made a treacherous drive back over the border to Spokane where we would catch flights back East in the morning. After talking to Bill Love the next day, we found out an additional 8 to 10 inches had fallen overnight!

-Doug Reilley

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