A town that is a must see on a ski tour of the Kootenays is Rossland, BC. Rossland is a turn of the century mining town, and is a great draw to skiers and tourists all year round. Rossland and Nelson, winners of the 2012 POWDER Magazine ski town throw down, are a hub for numerous catskiing, heli skiing, and ski resort operations.
One of these that is benefiting from the early cold temperatures and storm systems is Big Red Cats. Check out these pictures, taken from some "work" the crew was doing on November 20. I think I need to get in on this job of checking the snowpack.
Big Red Cats will open early if snow conditions allow, so keep an eye here for any updates, or check out their website for availability.
Check out our Catskiing Map for other operations in that area and around the world, and start planning a trip today!
Snow in BC's interior is making for a promising early season
There may still be grass showing through where you live, but in BC's snow belt, it's starting to pile up. The area around Revelstoke, British Columbia is well known for it's deep, blower pow, and 2013-14 is shaping up just that way for Mustang Powder. Check out these pictures taken around the lodge over the past couple days. The snowpack is already at 125 cm, and they have started on the arduous task of building the cat roads for the season.
Mustang Powder is a Beautiful destination, with a large timber frame backcountry lodge, and world class catskiing. Nick and the crew are all about skiing, and they will have you out on the Mountain from first light to sundown. Space fills up quick, so take advantage of the spots they have left before they're gone. If you are looking for something a little more challenging and less people, they have a small groups/steep chutes program. 6 people getting to more remote lines in sick terrain, check it out here.
Just one Tenure over and benefiting from the same great snow, is K3 Catskiing. They run day trips out of Sicamous or Revelstoke, and provide a great way to squeeze in a day or two of catskiing if you are going to be in the area.
I don't always review skis, but when I do, I don't use words.
The Skevik Anton (A tribute to the namesake itself, Mr. Anton Skevik) is a great, big mountain ski with versatility for all mountain use. On first glance, I liked it for it's wood topsheet appearance and the Anderson graphic displaying Moose and maple leafs. It kind of bears resemblance to an old Christmas sweater, and it draws a lot of attention from onlookers.
On the snow, it continued to impress me. I skied the Anton 185 for a few days late last season out at Selkirk Wilderness in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. I had a hard time giving them up for anyone else to try because I was having such a good time on them. The 185 was a good balance of a big mountain, beefy ski to handle all the variable conditions and high speed. The 122 mm underfoot and rocker give it great float in the pow, and still light enough and easy to crank around in tight chutes and trees. It's a bit wider than what most people would call the "one ski quiver", but it is one of my favorites to take out in the backcountry or on the ski hill.
The Anton remains unchanged for 2013/14, and you should check it out if you get the chance. As you can see from the video, I have trouble coming up with more words to say about the ski. You just need to try them for yourself. Skevik Skis are available online or at Attrigde in Vernon, BC, just down the street from where the skis are made.
Here it comes! Heavy Snow Fall for the Cascades and Rockies.
Brace yourself BC because here comes the first of many epic snowfall warnings. We have had a great start to the season up high with some solid storm systems rolling through in October. Now it is mid-November and things are getting serious.
For a few operators planning to open in early December this Heavy Powder Alert is welcoming news. Temps are expected to drop to zero all the way down to sea level with much colder temperatures up high. Combine that with a wallop of moisture and BC is in for some powder!
Here is the report from PowderChasers.com:
Coldest storm of the season will move into BC and the Cascades on Friday. Snow levels will drop near sea level by Saturday morning under NW flow allowing significant blower powder to Accumulate. Mount Baker is favored with NW flow. A convergence zone of cold orographics through Saturday night will extend snowfall over Stevens Pass and Alpental. Areas like Crystal will see moderate amounts extending into Oregon through Sunday.
Snowfall will extend into most of Idaho, Western Montana, Wasatch of Utah and Southern Colorado by Friday. My thoughts are for a very deep dump for the Wasatch Saturday/Sunday, Light snow from Aspen and the 4 corners Friday, and heavier snowfall for most of Colorado Saturday night and Sunday. My picks will be Aspen, Telluride, Vail, Steamboat, and most of Summit County by Sunday afternoon. The Front Range near Denver will see light snow on Sunday.
Bottom Line: Deep cold dump, lots of Powderf Buzz, but for many areas dry powder might not be the best for base building. With that said, many areas in the West including Aspen, Vail, Snowbird, Grand Targhee,Whistler, Steamboat, Jackson Hole already have seen 50-65 inches of snowfall this season at the peaks. The Northwest saw great snowfall in early October but inconsistent amounts. Most of the Cascades will reap rewards this weekend. My vote will be Baker and Stevens Friday/Saturday and perhaps Crystal Sunday. The Sierra may see a few flakes on the Eastern side near I-80 by Saturday (Some glimmer of hope). The Wasatch will be deep as well as some areas of Colorado. The Tetons are my wildcard.
New web gallery to make you want to throw yourself in a snowbank
If you are anything like my friends and I, and you're reading this so I assume you are, then you are scrolling the web in eager anticipation of the ski season that is about to begin. The skis are waxed, the Icebreaker long johns have been pulled out of hiding, the backpack is sitting by the door ready to go, and you're sitting in a chair in your underwear looking at ski websites and weather reports. I may have lost a couple of you on the last one, but I know you are jonesing for some time in the mountains.
Here's a good fix to hold you over a couple more weeks. Our resident Photographer, Geoff Holman, has just launched a new portfolio website. It focuses on deep powder action from cat and heli operations like Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, Valhalla Powdercats, and Snowwater Heliskiing. If you've been to the West Kootenays, you know these are some of the best places to hit and the pictures prove it.
Smash, crash, fail, bail, fall, tumble, biff, bang, boom, chew it, take a header, scorpion...whatever you call it these are the Chatter Creek Big Bail Awards! For the second year in a row Chatter Creek has compiled the greatest spills of the previous season and put them all together in this tell-all compilation. You can't hide from the camera these days and Chatter Creek is capitalizing on all the 'Kodak Courage' out there.
An enjoyable watch for sure, don't forget to vote in the YouTube comments.
A 25 Year look back at what makes this place so special to so many
Established in 1988 Island Lake Lodge is one of the pioneering catski operations in British Columbia. As a kid growing up in BC Island Lake was the place I wanted to experience. I was a huge Scot Schmidt fan complete with posters on my walls - from Island Lake of course. This short film is a compilation from footage shot over the past quarter century showing the world what makes Island Lake Lodge such a magnificent place.
Not often to you get to learn about how a place started and evolved to what it is today. Island Lake caught the attention of world-class skiers and snowboarders from very early on. So much so that they invested in the place when the opportunity came about to purchase the land. They have preserved the soul of Island Lake while growing it to attract more people each year. This even includes a full summer mountain experience.
The snow at Island Lake needs little mention once you have seen this video. They have some deep powder up there in the Lizard Range. "Duck Fluff" according to Schmidt! There are some turns in there that make we want to pack the truck and find snow right now!
Enjoy this video. It is a little longer at 22 minutes but well worth your time. After watching, do yourself a favour: call your best ski friends and put together a trip. Become part of the history of Island Lake this season.
Last season on our trip to Selkirk Wilderness we were joined by a crew from Teton Gravity Research. They hit the conditions perfectly (as film companies seem to do!) and the result is epic. This 1-minute little teaser is a window into what it was like those few days at SWS. The snow seemed to just keep coming that week. I hope this video gives you a sense of what life is like up at SWS. It is an authentic experience where the hospitality matches the unparallelled terrain and powder.
Travel gets easier between the Okanagan and Kootenay Catskiing!
There was an exciting news announcement today from Pacific Coastal Airlines. Starting November 18th, 2013 they will begin service between Kelowna BC and Crandbrook BC. Kelowna is in the middle of BC's interior with an International Airport and Cranbrook is at the gateway to some of the best catskiing in the world. Catskiers from all over the globe will now have easier access to the powder goods thanks to Pacific Coastal Airlines. No more rental car hassles and braving winter roads, just book a quick connecting flight and you will be waist deep in the Kootenay pow in no time!