Revelstoke Weekend, Dirtbag Style


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

With rain forecasted for the mountains around Bellingham, I felt the need to go somewhere else my first weekend back from Christmas break. I have always heard amazing things about Revelstoke and Rogers Pass, British Columbia. They were supposed to get some snow, and the avy danger there wasn’t too bad, so my mind was made up. Fred, Henry, Skyler and I left Bellingham at 3:00, passports and radar detector in hand. We met Kevin and Jake, a few CO guys who were competing in the Freeskiing Championships. We all squeezed into a single person hotel room (15 bucks a person, sweet!), and finally went to sleep, ready for some powder the next day.

The day yielded a bit of new snow and bad visibility. We headed up to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, got to the top, and skied two couloirs out of bounds near the north bowl area of the resort. We finished the day with a run down the cat skiing terrain to the side of the ski area. Unfortunately I forgot my memory card in the USA, so I don’t have many pictures, but here are a few.

Kevin and Jake wallowing up into the clouds

Kevin and Jake wallowing up into the clouds

Grrr, my legs are tired! At the top of Brown Shorts couloir, behind Revelstoke ski area.

Grrr, my legs are tired! At the top of Brown Shorts Couloir, behind Revelstoke ski area.

The next day looked like it would have better visibility, so we decided to head up to Rogers Pass. I have always wanted to ski on Rogers Pass, and wasn’t going to let a trip to Revelstoke go by without hitting it. We drove up the pass the next morning, and stopped by the visitors center. I was amazed how much info for backcountry skiing they had at the visitors center. We spent a while talking to them about routes, avalanche danger, and which areas were skied out. They had all sorts of maps, pictures, avalanche forecasts and snow profiles for you to look at. I have never seen anything like it in the U.S.

We skied right out of the parking lot, headed towards Grizzly Shoulder, with the ultimate goal of reaching one of the peaks above. The clouds came in and out throughout the day, affording some amazing views, and also some socked-in periods. We turned around above Grizzly Shoulder, and had some wonderful powder turns and fun pillow lines all the way back to the Trans Canada Highway.

Starting out towards the promised land of Rogers Pass

Starting out towards the promised land of Rogers Pass

We were granted a few great views, next time that mountains on the agenda.

We were granted a few great views, next time that mountain is on the agenda.

Some of the fun stuff we got to ski.

Some of the fun stuff we got to ski.

We got back to Bellingham at 3:00 in the morning after a long (and sometimes terrifying) drive back. We only spent about 45 bucks a person and got some amazing skiing in. Rogers Pass surpassed everything I have heard about it, definitely going back soon.

Comments

23 Responses to “Revelstoke Weekend, Dirtbag Style”

  1. Mark W January 14th, 2010 7:29 am

    Jeez! All these hype trip reports are just going to turn bc stashes into circuses!! Have you heard about the 500 car parking lot planned for Rogers Pass??? :wink:

  2. harpo January 14th, 2010 7:51 am

    Louie, it sounds like you are getting a lot of studying done……..

  3. Lou January 14th, 2010 8:39 am

    As long as he keeps his grade base scholarship, all is good. Otherwise, the money for French fries and gas sharing will dry up rather quickly (grin).

  4. Lou January 14th, 2010 8:42 am

    Oh, and not to be to much of a stick in the mud — great post Louie! Bring us more!

  5. Caleb Wray January 14th, 2010 9:30 am

    Nice report Louie. Dirt bagging trips are usually the most memorable. Makes my tent seem roomy huh?

  6. Nick January 14th, 2010 10:17 am

    Looks like an awesome time Louie.

  7. SB January 14th, 2010 11:57 am

    @Louie

    How was the border crossing? Did it take a while or was it semi-painless? I’m planning to drive from Spokane into BC in a few months.

  8. Matt Kinney January 14th, 2010 12:20 pm

    Nice … way to get after it louie.

    in the second picture above, it appears one of your partners is laying on the slope asleep or totally thrashed.. …. :sleeping: Nice photo capturing the “earn-it burn”.

  9. Ross January 14th, 2010 12:36 pm

    Nice trip. BC skiing capital of the world.

  10. Lou January 14th, 2010 1:36 pm

    That photo is cracking us up here, we’re wondering if perhaps the guy didn’t have Dynafit bindings and wore himself out?

  11. lee An Foster January 14th, 2010 2:23 pm

    Great post Lou … BC has endless possibilities, check out http:///snowymountain.ca and find some more destinations to dream about; for instance my personal hot spot is in the North Blue just out of Blue River BC, where the Powder Eight competitions are sometimes held, steep and deep.

  12. andrew C January 14th, 2010 3:07 pm

    Cool post. Thanks. What were the avy conditions like and when were you there? We are trying to ski in to the Asulkan hut Saturday morning and wondering whether we can do it safely. The danger rating is currently “HIGH.” Any input would be appreciated.

  13. Lee Lau January 14th, 2010 3:19 pm

    andrew – first http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/PSB/index_E.asp?oqAVA_PARK_ID=3

    Second as the article said – check in at the Visitors Centre

    The big concern is a Dec 29th surface hoar layer overlaying sun crusts. The recent cycle of naturals may have cleaned it out. I emphasize MAY. Another concern is the slab formed by recent storm snow on that pwkl

    Going into Asulkan you are crossing a terrain feature known as the MouseTrap. Its exposed on each side to 1km vertical avalanche slopes.

    The question is; why are you going to Asulkan? If its because you have it booked then I suppose you can take your chances. One at a time through the Mousetrap, move fast, and no farting around.

  14. andrew C January 14th, 2010 3:43 pm

    Lee: I live in Nelson and have been into the Asulkan a couple of times already–so I know what I am in for, Mousetrap and all. I was really just looking for some current intel. We’ll call the visitor’s centre Friday aft and make the call. I’d REALLY be in trouble if I didn’t know to check the avy report in advance;o) I guess some folks might not though, so thanks for the suggestion. We’ll try not to make the fact that we booked the hut influence our decision. We love the terrain but safety first!

  15. Louie Dawson January 14th, 2010 4:21 pm

    The guy lying in the snow was a snowboarder :cool:

    In regards to avalanche conditions, we didn’t encounter anything that bad, I think that chute was pretty hammered by skiers, which would fix the crust/surface hoar combo pretty well. On Rogers Pass we mostly skied low angled stuff or pretty thick trees, although we did have a few sluffs on both days.

    I don’t think Rogers Pass is much of a secret, but if you haven’t heard about it, sorry for telling you. :wink:

  16. Louie Dawson January 14th, 2010 4:25 pm

    SB- The border was pretty easy, although you never know, last time I went through they threatened to strip search me :blink: Just make sure you tell them exactly where you are staying. Although when we came back at 2:00 in the morning the first two we tried were closed.

  17. Lee Lau January 14th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Hey andrew -

    No worries. I get asked questions about conditions from people who don’t check the report and/or don’t even know there’s a report so just automatically provide the link

    As for touchiness of the surface hoar – see video of Sz 2 – 2.5 skier triggered on Avalanche Crest by a companion running full-path http://vimeo.com/8681416

    Bulletin described it as such:

    Avalanche Activity:
    Several natural avalanches, size 2, occurred yesterday from steep north facing startzones in association with the rising winds. These events stopped at the top of normal runouts. Similar natural activity is possible today.

    Skier-triggered avalanches are continuing with increasing frequency on the Dec 29th surface hoar 30 to 50cm deep with 3 events reported yesterday. On a west aspect of Avalanche Crest at 2300m a slab was triggered near the ridgeline that subsequently initiated a wider slab at 1800m.

    Our brief description as follows:

    The bed surface was surface hoar on a suncrust and the avalanche, size 2-2.5, ran 600m to the bench below.
    W facing pit about 100m below on the ridge gave moderate results. Clearly the crust/surface hoar was sheltered from the wind in some areas and not others so it’s very unpredictable at higher elevations. Luckily our buddy skied onto the tree anchor easily and stayed out of the slide – but it could have been ugly.

    My added obs

    We skied Lone Pine the day before the Avalanche Crest day which is also about 40deg – SE facing. Alpine the facets on sun crust was absent and snow didn’t react to ski cuts, compression tests etc. Treeline was slabby and less stable but we expected that and skied accordingly

    The day after the Avalanche Crest incident we skied 8812 Bowl from Bruins Pass and fl’s had spiked- there was a 3 – 5cms rain crust up to 2500m. Subsequently the following week fls spiked even more and there’s been rain – hence the natural avalanche cycle and the hope that the problem surface hoar layer is done. But I don’t know that for sure. There’s not been much on the MCR about the Asulkan..

    More TR here fyi http://www.leelau.net/2010/rogerspass2010_01/rogerspass2010_01_09/index.html

    and http://www.leelau.net/2010/rogerspass2010_01/rogerspass2010_01_08/index.html

    Didn’t bother doing anything for 8812 bowl day

  18. jdoneill January 14th, 2010 7:37 pm

    Doesn’t the snowboarder know that “Splitboarding is the answer” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdxTjP8rrjw&feature=player_embedded? I think I see snowshoes on his feet :shocked:

  19. andrew C January 14th, 2010 7:41 pm

    Holy documentarian batman! Thanks for this stuff Lee. A heck of a lot has happened in the last five days but your input is super-helpful. We’ll make the call tomorrow. Thanks again.

  20. mark January 15th, 2010 5:29 pm

    from a splitboarder to the splitboarder, bootpacking the brown shorts chute is definitely not the answer…
    unless the question is ‘most likely place to get bombed in on in revelstoke?’
    safety third!!!

  21. Jski January 15th, 2010 7:59 pm

    lee. you got too much time on your hands. must be raining.

  22. matt January 18th, 2010 5:37 pm

    Louie,
    I was up there staying at the Nelson Lodge (a little more than $15 a person) but i saw you guys leaving the north bowl area. I was looking at those coolies but did not have the time nor the crew to get up it.
    What a small world.

  23. Dylan January 22nd, 2010 12:15 pm

    500 cars (“Have you heard about the 500 car parking lot planned for Rogers Pass???”) My guess is that’s for summer crowds not winter ones. The pass is probably going to get busier though. Gonna start hiking further!

    I’m saw someone skiing Brown Door/Brown Shorts about the same time. Could have been you guys. Either way I am jealous.

    Dylan

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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