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K3 Catski Review

k3 1 better than k2

We had the opportunity to ski at K3 for the first time this year, and I have to say, I sure hope we get back there again soon.  It has made a great impression on us for a number of reasons, and I know we are not alone.  The elements that have pushed K3 to the top of our to do list are: the terrain, the snow, the hospitality, and the ease of access.  If you were to read no further, that would suffice as minimum practical info.  But please, read on.

The K3 tenure is located between Sicamous on Revelstoke, up a logging road just off the Trans Canada Highway.  If you are familiar with this area, you know that is well known and traveled by skiers, boarders, and sledders for the vast terrain and reliable snow pack.  If you look at the historical weather data, even on low snow years, this little swath of mountains by Revelstoke has deep snow year after year.  Even though it is a ways off the coast, those great storm systems seem to make their way in there.  If you've never walked down a plowed sidewalk with vertical snow banks up to your armpits on either side, take a stroll in Revelstoke in February and you'll see what I mean.

K3 is based out of Revelstoke, BC.  Arrangements can be made easily online, by phone, or by stopping in person at the Wearabouts store in Revelstoke, where they have a K3 sales counter.  The store  is located at the corner of Mackenzie and 2nd Street, and their number is 250-837-5100.  I may be a little biased because I live in the Okanagan, but being located less than a days drive from both Vancouver and Calgary puts them in an ideal spot for easy access.  They also have the advantage of doing day or mutliday trips.  You also have the advantage of being able to stay and get picked up in Sicamous, as we did.  The Best Western Sicamous Inn is the base point of choice if you are staying for a few days.  It is a new facility offering spacious, well appointed rooms and has indoor and outdoor hot tubs as well as an indoor pool. A secure equipment storage room for your skis and snowboards as well as continental breakfast is available at no extra charge.

Once you are picked up from there in the morning, it is a short drive down the highway and up the logging road in one of their Toyota Tundra pickups.  Every cat operation you go to has a safety briefing, and these are extremely important even though it seems like you are going over the same thing time after time.  Kris (one of the co-owners and our tail guide for the first day) kept it fresh by injecting his own style and comedic dialogue into the safety routine.  Combining a quick talk with some very practical hands on practice in the snow, you are quickly on your way up the hill in the cat.  And did I mention, you are the only group in the area, so no running into other peoples tracks from that day.  Another big bonus.

There is a great combination of terrain available.  The rolling open glades for cruising through, and the chute and bowls that challenge you a bit more.  One that I remember best was Dog Leg, which we skied near the end of one of our days.  It is a tree run that rolls and gets steeper and steeper.  As you near the midway point, you can keep going fall line for more of the same, or you can drop left at a time of your choosing to some great rock bluffs and steeper chutes.  One true advantage that we've seen as a key feature with this part of the Monashees's, is they have great open tree skiing, with little man made glading.  And to top it all off, they have a great area called South Park that was burned in a forest fire a while ago.  Fires may be terrible and damaging when they happen, but they sure make for some great skiing.  Their well laid out tenure is flanked by a central pick up road, which makes meeting up easier and maximizes the time in your ski day.   

We had Larry as our lead guide, and he took us to some great runs.  Guides like Larry make all the difference in getting the most out of your day by doing only the traversing and moving around when  needed to find the best runs, and knowing the area well enough to not waste time wandering around.  One thing to remember, if you are up skiing with Larry and he says off to this side is a “sporty” line, take his word for it.  Been there, skied down a sporty one myself.  And if you're not quite ready for it, you'll be wide eyed and puckering something else.

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