Cerise Creek, British Columbia – Day One

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 14, 2011      

I have a flexible schedule with school this quarter, and am determined to make the most of it. Thankfully the weather and conditions have been cooperating the past few weeks. I decided to head up to Cerise Creek with Lee, Sharon and Tyler a few days ago. The snow was amazing, the weather superb, and the skiing incredible. Not bad for April!

We left the trailhead at a comfy 9:30, and carried our gear into the hut. We arrived to find some fellow Bellinghamsters there. After a quick chat headed out for Matier, the highest peak in the Joffre group (although I don’t pay much attention to height out here in the coastal lowlands). My newly lightened pack felt great, and we enjoyed sun and clouds on the way up the Anniversary Glacier. We were able to skin partway up Matier, and then switched over for the short boot to the summit.

[photonav url=’/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Duffey-VantagePano.jpg’].
Above, I made a pano of the region. No secrets here, this area is well known.

As I was starting up the bootpack, a slow roaring sound erupted behind me. At first I looked around for an avalanche, but realized I had accidentally deployed my Blackjack airbag pack. I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, I’m just glad it wasn’t in 50 mph winds. After a quick embarrassed laugh, I spent a few minutes packing it up, and proceeded to lug 6 lbs of useless airbag hardware up to the top.

The only thing safer than carrying an airbag pack is carrying a pre-deployed airbag pack.

Tyler and I following the scent of fresh pow to a nice subpeak of Matier.

First run we skied down the rimed up ridge of Matier, then hiked a few minutes over to a small subpeak, and skied some beautiful steep powder off that. We realized we had some more time before dark, so Lee, Tyler and I skinned back to the bootpack, while Sharon, who couldn’t stay the night, skied pow back to the car.

Nothing better than steep pow!

We made it to the top and decided to head down the NE facing Twin One Glacier. We side slipped through some steep rime of the summit ridge, and ended up on an endless expanse of blower powder. We picked our way through the massive crevasses of the twin one for 3,100 feet, still nicely covered by the thick coastal snowpack. We made it back to the hut just before dark, made dinner and caught some much needed sleep.

Rime sideslipping can be exciting

Tyler boarding down the upper Twin One

Our route down Matier

Lee scouting the way between crevasses

Back at the hut, In summertime it's about 15 feet taller.

And here’s a sweet video Tyler put together of the trip.

I lay in bed reminiscing about the great turns that day, and excited about the plans for the next day, which promised the same stellar weather and snow.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


92 Responses to “Cerise Creek, British Columbia – Day One”

  1. Mike Traslin April 14th, 2011 9:30 am

    Good one….

  2. Mark Donohoe April 14th, 2011 9:51 am

    What type of video camera was Tyler using?

  3. Matt Mancini April 14th, 2011 10:48 am

    Great post Louie – as always!
    As we appreciate the WS appetite for details, it appears you might want to use a protective cap on your axe end. Looks awful close to the airbag when it’s deployed. They’re definitely a PIA, but so is the alternative.

  4. Tyler Wilkes April 14th, 2011 11:05 am

    Nice story Louie! Good picture of the route too…I’ll add that one to my collection for future reference. Here’s a picture of the twin one glacier in early season conditions (january) http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk153/wilkez/DSCF1880.jpg

  5. Tyler Wilkes April 14th, 2011 11:07 am

    Mark – I was using a fujifilm finpix S200HD still camera, but it also shoots HD video. It’s a piece of junk don’t ever buy one.

  6. Art April 14th, 2011 11:38 am

    Great work, and nice pics.

    …and now I know that “we’ll not publicize the exact location” from a few posts back was meant tongue-in-cheek. (grin)

  7. Sean April 14th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Really enjoying the BC content, Louie.

    We were on Slalok that same day. I’ve got some pics of your tracks all over the NW face!

  8. Lou April 14th, 2011 1:13 pm

    Art, I’m leaving it up to Louie and his friends. If an area is well used and known, then there shouldn’t be any problem with sharing it. Seems like that was the case here. If not, fire away.

    But, if anyone has a problem with the huge crowds of backcountry skiers that are invading like locusts due to WildSnow.com, here is a little list of places (from Wiki) you could probably head to and if you dig in, not see anyone for weeks, or years?

    * Pacific Ranges BC South & Central Coast
    o Rainbow Range northwest Chilcotin, also classifiable as part of the Interior Plateau
    Rainbow Ridge
    o Pantheon Range Homathko area
    o Niut Range Homathko area
    o Waddington Range Homathko area
    o Whitemantle Range Homathko area
    o Bendor Range
    o Garibaldi Ranges
    o Clendinning Range
    o Tantalus Range
    o Chilcotin Ranges
    + Dickson Range
    + Shulaps Range
    + Camelsfoot Range
    o Lillooet Ranges, (Fraser Canyon west bank)’
    + Cantilever Range
    + Cayoosh Range
    o Douglas Ranges
    o Front Ranges (North Shore Mountains)

    # Insular Mountains, British Columbia

    * Vancouver Island Ranges, British Columbia
    * Queen Charlotte Mountains, British Columbia
    Mt. Constance, Olympic Mountains

    # Olympic Mountains, Washington
    # Cascade Range, British Columbia (Fraser Canyon west bank), Washington, Oregon and California

  9. Christoph April 14th, 2011 2:06 pm

    Fine trip and fine line!

  10. Art April 14th, 2011 3:11 pm

    I was just playing around, I’m 100% in favor of sharing experiences. It’s not as if any of those locations aren’t known anyway. Heck, half the cars in the parking lots up there probably have the same guidebook sitting on the front seat. For me, the best part of the backcountry experience is sharing it with friends, through pictures and stories. And, you’re right — there’s a lifetime of terrain to be explored up here.

  11. Pierce Oz April 14th, 2011 3:45 pm

    *drooling on keyboard*

  12. mc April 14th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Obviously I come from the school where touring areas are treated like prime hunting zones – while they may be known you still shut the f*** up. Why virtually everybody feels the need to broadcast everything they do on the Internet is beyond me. Maybe narcissim is part of our DNA, I don’t know. I do know this, if I was visiting Colorado or some other locale, I would not be blathering about it to the whole world out of respect to those who live there. Do not confuse this with being anti-visitor. Sure this area is fairly well known, but what’s next? The honey spot next door? This zone has only gotten busier every year and these things don’t help. Christ, Helen Keller could find her way based on some of the reports I’ve read.
    So long, Wildsnow

  13. Lou April 14th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Art, no problem, the idea of keeping things secret is worth exploring — and joking about.

  14. Lou April 14th, 2011 5:09 pm

    I just spoke with Helen Keller. She told me it indicates an inordinate amount arrogance and ego for folks to think that a few trip reports, out of more than 400 on WildSnow and 4 Million on the internet, are going to cause people from all over the world to flock to one place as if it’s the end-all be-all….

    She also told me that yes, she will now be visiting Cerise Creek — after she visits the other 400 places that WildSnow.com has told her are the ultimate — especially Colorado.

  15. Dostie April 14th, 2011 5:51 pm

    Just keep to posting about your own backyard and remember, there ain’t no powder ever in the Sierra so no need to visit. 😉

  16. steve April 14th, 2011 5:54 pm

    Keep the TRs coming. Love seeing places I’ll never get to and some that I have.
    Thanks, Lou and Louie for the wild snow fun.

  17. Lou April 14th, 2011 6:03 pm

    Helen is headed for the Sierra, tomorrow. She knows that every place in the world, including Sierra and New England, now have powder just as much and just as good as the Wasatch or Colorado. She saw it in a magazine.

    As for backyards, I have a feeling PNW is Louie’s yard these days…, while I’m still mowing Colorado.

  18. Lee Lau April 14th, 2011 6:16 pm

    Lou would Would Helen Keller be on Dynafits or Dukes or teles?

  19. Brittany April 14th, 2011 6:31 pm

    Awesome Louie! Frank and I were contemplating heading up there and doing the whole hut/Matier thing ourselves during our trip to Pemberton in February. Looks like a great ski and I’d like to get back there again soon. Don’t worry about “blabbing” all over the Internet. Matier is all over the Internet already. Besides, all the Pemby locals say the new Duffy map is to blame for the crowded parking lots 🙂

  20. Lou April 14th, 2011 6:32 pm

    Since Helen would be skiing by braille, she would be on telemark since it’s more spiritual. If you can’t see the connection, don’t ask (grin).

  21. Mitch April 14th, 2011 6:46 pm

    mc, a lot of people have expended a lot of energy to protect some of these areas that have been popularized as non-motorized. If they aren’t getting used by lots of people it seems to land managers like the areas are not really valued and then we run the risk of losing another prime area.

    The Coast Mountains are a big area: I’m happy to see lots of tourers getting out and enjoying the place. There are still a great many places to go that will be ever so quiet that need not be revealed; in the meantime, there are a few areas that seem to be able to absorb a lot of users…

    tyler, great early-season shot of the glacier…

  22. Dostie April 14th, 2011 6:50 pm

    Helen Keller never ‘saw’ powder so she doesn’t know what it looks like. So the only way she knows about it must be ‘cuz you told her Lou.

    I thought we had an agreement about secret spots. You can take your friends there but you can’t tell them where they are.

    That’s a major infraction my friend and it’ll cost you more than a six pack next time we meet. 😉

    Nice line Louie!

  23. Lou April 14th, 2011 6:52 pm

    Spray paint on the inside of the sunglasses, issued at the trailhead for Cerise creek?

    He he, I meant to say Helen “read’ about it of course!

    BTW, not too keen on more funnin’ of the visually impaired. If you’ve listened to Erik Weihenmayer you know those guys have a sense of humor, but it only goes so far of course.

  24. Sharon Bader April 14th, 2011 7:00 pm

    Hey Dostie, what if they buy a map or look at a guide book to find out all the secrets?

    I think you owe Lou a six pack.

    As Mitch said, the more people out there who appreciate the area, the more likely we’ll keep it for touring.

    The area is huge. If you can’t find your own secret stash develop some fitness and get out there.

  25. Lou April 14th, 2011 7:10 pm

    Dostie just be funnin’, he published secret spots for years, so long as someone would buy the meals (grin).

  26. steaksauna April 14th, 2011 8:38 pm

    Based on my experience at Keith’s hut last weekend, i don’t think its possible for the area to get any busier; so don’t sweat the exposure guys.

  27. Gregg Cronn April 14th, 2011 8:45 pm

    Great write up Louie. I find it humorous that Lou’s fine offspring is completely debunking the wet and sloppy myth of west coast skiing. We have outstanding skiing available from this corner of WA state. Rogers Pass seven hours away, Whistler and Pemby now a mere 3 hour drive with the improvements to the sea to sky highway and all the Cascades and the great corn to be had well into July. I agree with Sharon, skin for an hour and you will be all alone.

  28. Lou April 14th, 2011 8:55 pm

    I tried really really hard to keep the crowds at bay by helping you guys with the wet and scrappy myth. For years people didn’t understand. Glad the truth finally came out.

  29. Sean April 14th, 2011 9:11 pm

    I find there’s an underlying assumption in the “share the knowledge” perspective which insists everyone must be extraverted and crowd-loving.

    Many people get into alpine backcountry adventure to avoid crowds.

    I find it a bit obnoxious to be told that I’m wrong, defective, whatever… for wanting to have my solitude and not be intruded-upon by people who feel it’s necessary to not only skin up but tweet while they’re doing it.

    And I find it curious — just because people can’t see an increase in crowds over a year or two, therefore it’s not a problem. Some of us are able to see long-term trends.

    If I wanted to ski with a bunch of tweet-happy “people persons” I’d move to the Front Range and ski Vail and Aspen.

    Maybe that’s because I don’t earn an income from writing about my alpine adventures, though. Maybe that’s why I see hubris in those who do earn such incomes.

  30. brian h April 14th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Sean, your not wrong in wanting to protect your solitude. As one of the “new” people in this scene I will say this: It was not reading/seeing online posts about ski spots that got me out there. It was experienced locals and stoked beginners that have shared the goods or, I guess, spilled the beans.

  31. Markian April 14th, 2011 10:54 pm

    Yup, all the backcountry crowds around Vail and Aspen should keep you from exploring this area! As an Eagle resident, I ski the backcountry all winter long, in some secret and not so secret areas, and don’t see a soul except my partners.

    Fun to read the post but I probably won’t visit due to the stated crowds.

  32. Ptor April 15th, 2011 1:38 am

    Ceriously crowded creek! Good entertainment but blogs do enhance the lemming effect. Just seems a bit odd to not name some spots you visit where few will go anyways. If people knew of alternatives to the popular spots, would they be overcrowded like Keith’s Hut and more enjoyable for everybody? Is it better to have people concentrated in one area and the rest empty? As an ex-pemberton local, the reality is that hut has been crowded for many years and made us not be lazy and ski and “discover” different zones.
    There’s a way to name “secret” zones but not destroy the romance of discovering it for other’s.

  33. Lou April 15th, 2011 6:12 am

    In my opinion it’s easy to over-think this, and to think bloggers and writers have a lot more influence than the simple fact that if a place is good, people are going to share it with their friends, and they with their friends, and so forth.

    As one of the long term observers, I’ve seen this happen so obviously that there is no question in my mind word of mouth and informal guiding is how places become more used, and by some definitions crowded.

    Sure, perhaps things written have an effect, but they tend to come after the fact.

    Also, Ptor has a good point and one I’ve promulgated for years. That is, why not share the lesser known spots to take some of the crowds away from the popular spots? The backcountry skiing population is really quite limited in size, and with a modicum of spreading out very few places would be “crowded.”

    And how do you guys define “crowded?” My definition would be no more parking. Or perhaps, no more untracked powder soon after a storm. By those definitions, I’ve never seen it crowded here, nor even in the Wasatch except when I’ve simply been a lemming.

  34. Gentle Sasquatch April 15th, 2011 6:36 am

    I think that Sean’s definition of solitude in the outdoors is out of touch with reality. He might consider moving to Svaalbard.

    I live in New England. The White Mountains can’t get more crowded than any of the places reported here at WildSnow. Yet – there are tons of unbroken ski trails every weekend.

    If I see a few other passersby on a popular trail but most of the time I am alone did I not get enough solitude? Weird.

  35. brian h April 15th, 2011 7:56 am

    😉 Hey! Are you guys calling me a lemming?

  36. Lee Lau April 15th, 2011 8:52 am

    Thanks for the ptor reality check (TM). Single picture inspirationals or general trip reports from Coast Mountain pioneers like Foon, Jia, TP, TH, RP, JB etc stoked me & many other Helen Kellers to go out and explore. These mountains are like the layers of an onion or maybe a black hole of time where the rest of your life can go, depending on how you look at it. Ski to one zone where there’s “lots” of people, hop onto another glacier, another line, another mountain and its all yours. These mountains are big; imagination can be rewarded while small minds confine themselves to small areas. IMO this TR just scratches the surface of whats out there and shows the skin of the onion.

  37. Scott April 15th, 2011 10:08 am


    You might have to add a full hut to your definition of crowded. Still, complaining that a cushy hut is crowded seems weak to me. Buy a tent, and you’ll be all alone.

  38. Tyler Wilkes April 15th, 2011 10:17 am

    This is coming from a BC local. Cerise creek is gorbie central. It’s full of snowshoers and whistler gangsters who want to go party in a hut. The reality is that 80% of the people from the cars parked at cerise are so tired by the time they carry their gear into the hut that the most they do is ski the moraine beside the hut. Half of them don’t even bring ski gear in, they just snowshoe around and take pictures of birds. Anybody with a half-serious skiing mentality in this area knows not to go stay at that hut on a weekend because it will be packed with meat-smoking mountain equipment co-op lemmings who just want to go up to the hut and burn all the fire wood so there is none left for people who actually need it while wearing the $1500 gore-tex outfit they bought to use once a year. So as long as you plan your trips to keiths hut to avoid these people on saturday/sunday, or just daytrip into the area, you will NEVER run out of terrain to ski. It is endless there and everywhere else in the BC south coast. That’s what I love about backcountry skiing versus mountain biking – it can snow every 4 days and reset the whole place; whereas mountain bike trails get destroyed with traffic and can’t be easily repaired.

    So my point is, post away. 90% of the people who visit cerise creek could never climb matier even if they wanted to. It’s already in a bunch of guidebooks and explicitly shown on maps, so you might as well show off our turns and adventures and get yourself some exposure!

  39. ScottP April 15th, 2011 10:56 am


    I haven’t heard the term “Gorbie” used since the late 80’s and I think they were talking about something else. That a regional thing?

  40. Dostie April 15th, 2011 12:00 pm


    For the record it was my policy to NOT publish any of the important details of true secret spots. But we definitely published info in Couloir about known backcountry spots. They may have been less crowded before we published information on them, but the “crowding” was inevitable, as the proliferation of trip reports on the web has made obvious. Makes our “infraction” with old fashioned paper seem rather minor by comparison.

    Ptor and many others have said it well. All you really need to do if you want some solitude is head one drainage over from where tracks already exist and you’ll find it.

    I agree that “crowded” is when there’s no place to park at the trailhead. Thus, the most important piece of information to keep “secret” is where to start (not where you end up).

    In the meantime, back to virtual backcountry skiing on the web where my muscles can atrophy, my aspirations sink and it’s crowded only when I venture forth and click on a link. 😉

  41. Lou April 15th, 2011 12:50 pm

    In other words, Dostie, how are things in your cube today (grin)?

  42. Lou April 15th, 2011 1:18 pm

    I’m at a loss for words, you guys are saying it all so well… “Meat smoker,” Ha! Louie just told me as story about that, sounded like he was almost asphyxiated by some of those guys.

    Baldwin’s book blew my mind years ago, his latest still does. Crowded? Give me a break.

  43. IK April 15th, 2011 3:00 pm

    There is a vast difference between Louie’s first TR about this region and the three, count them, THREE TR’s that have followed. The first report left plenty to the imagination and didn’t name names yet still managed to share the stoke of the experience. Since then it would appear South Coast over saturation hit Wildsnow. Just a brief perusal of the past month indicates that there have been two TR’s from anywhere not north of the border and one of them was a pictorial only. Seems like there is plenty of Colorado content that falls into the “sharing the stoke” category and not a lot that spells out the intimate details. Double standard?

    Locals are not asking for a blanket of secrecy. As has already been discussed, all of the TR beta can be found in the regional guidebook. However, MC’s response to the initial posting would indicate that we would appreciate a little sensitivity. Continuing to post expose’s by non-locals will only add to the existing animosity. How about some variety? Take up Dostie’s challenge and throw down some Sierra TR’s. Maybe some rad back of beyond Nevada adventure? Eastern Oregon? Central Idaho? Your secret Roaring Fork stash? There has to be somewhere else that doesn’t suck and is a weekend’s drive from Bellingham or Carbondale.

    I realize the era of social media has different rules. Would the Coast Range pioneers have been so indiscreet with their beta if Facebook, Twitter, and blogs had been available?

  44. couscous April 15th, 2011 3:29 pm

    Louie, I think you should post up a TR of Day 4; that should stop the impending locust swarm…

  45. slave.to.turns April 15th, 2011 3:30 pm


    “Would the Coast Range pioneers have been so indiscreet with their beta if Facebook, Twitter, and blogs had been available?”

    Let’s throw away the maps too, people will see our mountains.

    PEOPLE..it’s not the ranges you need to be protective of, it’s the quiet little spots in between. It’s a well know hut

    This isn’t like CO where they scrap for every little bit of mountain in a state the size of the lower 1/8th of BC. We in Canada have a large country, big mountains and a friendly reputation. Let’s keep it that way.

  46. Lou April 15th, 2011 3:47 pm

    LOL, we’ve got more than 400 trip reports here on WildSnow.com, plus I’ve written a half dozen Colorado guidebooks. We post a couple of BC trip reports, and suddenly we’re non-local criminals? Excuse me, but that’s ridiculous in the face of reality. Talks to John Baldwin or Chic, please. Perhaps they need to hear the lecture?

    As for sharing the stoke, I can’t help it if you guys have better ski mountaineering up there than we do in Colorado. That’s a known fact. I like it down here because it’s my home, but I’m not living in a spider hole.

    P.S., Anything I or WildSnow guest bloggers has chosen to keep totally secret has never been published. That should be obvious, but it is perhaps worth mentioning when you guys start thinking we’re picking on the British Columbia and inviting the whole world to ski up your way.


  47. Lou April 15th, 2011 4:04 pm

    OMG, 3 trip reports!

    Also, could you guys please define “local?” As in what kilometer radius one needs to live in regarding a given location, as well as how long such residency is required to be? Can you camp at a trailhead and be a local? Do you have to own nearby property? Could you just rent?

  48. Lou April 15th, 2011 4:06 pm

    Another question, can a gorbie be a local, or are the two mutually exclusive?

  49. IK April 15th, 2011 4:12 pm

    Chic and John B have local cred. You (Lou) have local cred and a long resume to rely upon when you write guidebooks. Although I don’t always agree with Leel and his postings, at least I know who he is and can give him a hard time in person. It is a little more difficulty to swallow when a non local increases the exposure of your local area. Yes the area is well known, but there is bound to be overflow into the “quiet little spots in between”.

    I don’t really have an issue with a TR or two, I think it is the volume and perhaps an impression of insensitivity to local concerns that drives dissent.

  50. IK April 15th, 2011 4:18 pm

    “OMG, 3 trip reports!”

    Four actually. You have to admit that if some of your favorite terrain went from zero TR’s to four in the span of two weeks that might make you a little twitchy.

  51. Lou April 15th, 2011 4:18 pm

    Ik, points taken. But can you define “local,” I mean, you’ve got a pretty big area up there, so John B is a local everywhere he goes, because he wrote a guidebook that shares a bunch of beta. Or is the process the opposite? I’m seeing a bit of a logical discrepancy in all this, or perhaps some sort of tribalism or nationalism?

    As for sensitivity, what am I supposed to do, list all the places we’ve not published about, so I can prove what a nice guy I am?

  52. IK April 15th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Quite frankly, I know John B pisses a lot of people off. However, I respect him because he has put in a whole mountain range of time and effort into exploration. In a similar vein, I respect you because of your time and effort dedicated to backcountry skiing.

    I would say that the foundation of my discontent and that of others who live in the area is the sheer volume of attention we have received in the past two weeks. Try publishing four TR’s of moderately used or lesser known areas around Carbondale in that time span and see how people around town feel.

    The issue of localism is a complex one. I don’t really care for the idea of who is local and who isn’t (and yes I realize that is a hypocritical statement in light of this thread). That is a never ending argument. However, one can certainly feel an increased affinity and perhaps sense of ownership for an area they ski multiple times per week. Those of us who are geographically closer and are lucky enough to literally see the terrain out our front windows will naturally feel a stronger connection to that terrain. I’m sure you can look at Mt. Sopris and agree.

  53. Lee Lau April 15th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Hey IK – thanks for the thoughtful posts. Speaking only for myself, there’s a lot of places I go to which don’t get broadcast. If I’ve given beta about places that should be on the downlow I’d be grateful if someone told me about it. Thanks!

  54. Lou April 15th, 2011 4:44 pm

    IK, as far as I’m concerned there could be 100 times the number of people skiing on Sopris and that would be perfectly fine. But yes, in terms of being “local” to Mount Sopris I’m indeed that.

    I don’t understand your comparison of Cerise Creek to publishing a moderately or lesser used area. My understanding is that Cerise Creek is quite well used and known, albeit a bit limited by the access slog. But no, I’m not a local and have never been there.

    Back to Sopris, which is actually a moderately or lesser used area when it comes to places to go around here. Interestingly, I’ve published about Sopris for thirty years in everything from magazine articles, to guidebooks, and now internet, and doing so has appeared to make very little to no difference in the amount it gets skied. It is most certainly not crowded up there by any stretch of the imagination….

  55. Lou April 15th, 2011 4:44 pm

    Well, if John Baldwin pisses people off, I’m in good company.

  56. Sharon Bader April 15th, 2011 4:56 pm


    Why is it wrong for Louie to post stories about an area he’s discovering and is excited about?

    Its easy for him now since he’s living in closer to this area now.

    I’m sure if there were other trip reports Lou would also post them.

    As has been mentioned, its not like Cerise is a secret.
    Also, the more people who learn and appreciate this area the better it will be protected if it ever becomes threated.

    Such as by heli tenure as was proposed a couple of years ago.

    We can still go out for a day, when the parking lot is full, and not see anyone.

  57. Lou April 15th, 2011 5:06 pm

    This is discussion has an overall worthy slant and I appreciate the input, but the specifics are getting ridiculous. I just googled the phrase “skiing mt matier” and got 881,000 search engine results. I clicked over to page 10 and the results were still talking about skiing Mount Matier. Going forward (as the politicians would say), I’ll continue to consult with Lee, Louie and others about what we need to be sensitive about publishing, but sorry, I’ll cease worrying about Mount Matier. Instead, I think I’ll try to get up there and ski the thing myself.


  58. Lou April 15th, 2011 5:13 pm

    If John Baldwin can be a local for the whole coast range, then can a few guys from Bellingham be local to Cerise Creek? Or do they need to write guidebooks first? I thought blogging was good enough nowadays (grin).

  59. Dave Cramer April 15th, 2011 7:00 pm

    If your local mountains are as spectacular as what we’re seeing in these trip reports, consider yourself blessed beyond the dreams of most of us. I live in Massachusetts, and there’s lovely skiing here. But last month I went to British Columbia and stayed at Mistaya Lodge for a week. One day we climbed up to a pass just off the Continental Divide. As I saw the mountains spread out around me, I burst into tears. In every direction were icy peaks, snowfield, and glaciers, as far as the eye could see. I will never forget that moment.

    I would hope that everyone who seeks such an experience can find it. The mountains can bring us so much joy–who am I to say who deserves to be there, and who doesn’t? Sharing what brings us joy is human nature, and I would say it’s one of the best parts of human nature.

  60. Lou April 15th, 2011 7:05 pm

    Sharing is the operative word.

  61. IK April 15th, 2011 7:54 pm

    I don’t really have a problem with trip reports and it doesn’t matter where you are from when you file a TR. I enjoyed the first TR, it was well done while still leaving lots to the imagination. I also felt like the second TR was fine since it was about an area that is relatively heavily used. I guess my tipping point was seeing four TR’s in a row about a region that is certainly not a secret but feels a bit on the down low. Further, the subsequent TR’s were posted after receiving some feedback that perhaps those of us who regularly ski the area would appreciate at least a little privacy. Had those four TR’s been spaced over a year it would be hardly a blip on the radar.

    Like it or not, Wildsnow has more credence and impact than Joe Blow posting on his own blog. The higher influence and notoriety necessitates a bit more thought before carpet bombing any region with trip reports.

    Sorry Lou, moving to Bellingham and blogging about your first season of descents certainly does not make one a local. You live in a ski town, you know better. Come on up, go skiing, and have a beer with us at the Pony. Strictly off the record of course :D.

  62. Mitch April 15th, 2011 8:05 pm

    IK. In my experience, localism breeds all manner of responses, but not all of them necessarily make a place better. While I understand that one might feel a sense of “ownership” over an area, it is also possible that a person would see this as a reason for stewardship and perhaps even sharing the joy an area brings. It would seem that “ownership” would also become a stimulus for wanting to keep something for oneself or for a small group with “cred.” Not saying either extreme is right, but I’ve got to admit I haven’t met too many folks out where we play that weren’t interesting people who enjoyed the same things we do.

    Just saying, when Lou comes up this way to ski Matier, it might make some sense to take him some place really worth it and have a chance to enjoy the experience together.

    There’s a lot of space out there and more than enough room for all those who wish to explore human-powered…

  63. Kyle April 15th, 2011 8:17 pm

    This seems crazy, live a good 9 hour drive from that area but have still taken time online to peruse pictures and look at sick lines, definetly not “secret, or “moderately” used.

    Like it’s been mentioned, just suck it up and go a little further, it’s funny how many fewer people you see when approaches get much more than 1.5 hrs. On that note I skied an area this year (new to me, looked at maps and drove around) with a 5min approach (from a major highway) and up to 2700ft of fall line skiing and never saw more than 3 cars parked there?

  64. IK April 15th, 2011 8:27 pm

    True Mitch. At the same time I don’t see you posting a ton of explicit TR’s at TT so I sense that you appreciate the importance of a little discretion. Besides, isn’t exploration a large part of the fun?

    I have no interest in turning this into a surf break like hate fest. I enjoy the camaraderie we share up here at the trailhead and on the trail. However, I am not going to go out and actively recruit folks to ski the area.

    Look forward to seeing you all out there.

  65. Bar Barrique April 15th, 2011 9:23 pm

    The thing about “non-locals” is that they don’t show up regularly. Now if a local finds your “stash”, you’ve got something to worry about 😐 . SInce the advent of Google Earth; I have have had (non-local) people follow my tracks into one of my stashes twice. In both cases, they were trying to go somewhere else, and, seeing my tracks, assumed that they led to the place they were trying to get to. 😆

  66. reggiebj April 16th, 2011 4:37 am

    Lets hope the backcountry spots never get like surf spots. Besides “local” doesn’t cut it unless one is born and bred. Can’t ever see Canada having a crowd problem with all those ranges and such a small population in that area. The majority of people are way too lazy to ski uphill and IMO the only bad thing that can happen to is when some heli, cat or smowmo operation start a comercial gig on your home turf. Keep up the the great TR’s-it keeps the dream alive (especially when one is on the back of a long summer down under). 😀

  67. Lou April 16th, 2011 6:21 am

    IK, who’s claiming they’re a local? My point was that before we start throwing that term around, we could at least know what it means. My point in that is partially rhetorical, since as soon as the “local” card is played, there is no real definition for the term so it’s thus a red herring for either side in this discussion and obfuscates the real motivations and issues, such as tribalism, selfishness, need for use of an area to create advocacy, and yes, at times the need for discretion simply because an area has minimal parking or minimal terrain.

    Also, the author being a “local” has nothing to do with writing a good trip report, nor should it have anything to do about whether we should publish a trip report or not. In fact, the best trip reports throughout the web (which are simply travel writing, a time honored genre) are often written by non locals. More, just because a person has lived near a location for x number of years (1, 2, 10?) doesn’t give them the right to censor information about that place for the rest of humanity.

    As for our massive amount of British Columbia trip reports, I stepped back through to take a look. Sure, there are a few over the last couple weeks because that’s where some of our correspondents have been skiing, and wanted to share about. But again, step back a moment! 800,000 google hits on a place and we publish a few TRs? Around 2,000 WildSnow blog posts and we publish a few TRs on an area we’ve not covered much in the past? I’m just not feeling a tingle about this…

    The feedback is appreciated, and we’ll continue to keep some places on the downlow when doing so seems appropriate, but we’ll continue to write about other places that are obviously just fine to share about.

  68. Lou April 16th, 2011 6:29 am

    I should add that one of my top goals with WildSnow is to include more voices, and more places. Folks such as Lee and Louie are helping with that, and I know lots of readers, most of which don’t file comments, who simply say the more the better.

    Like it or not, one of the main contributors to WildSnow lives in the PNW these days, so that’s where his trip reports are coming from. We won’t publish every trip, and some things will remain nameless, but the PNW trip reports will continue.

  69. IK April 16th, 2011 8:46 am

    Lost within the repeated charges of localism is the subtle shift within trip reporting. We have gone away from reporting of the past that relied on a veneer of ambiguity and less saturation. Maybe the code has changed in the era of social media.

    With regards to Lee and Louie, I look forward to the Wildsnow four part series on Mt. Baker followed by a quad series of the North Shore mountains. Besides, isn’t it corn season in the Sierra?

    Thanks for the discussion.

  70. Jordo April 16th, 2011 10:05 am

    If there is in fact going to be an influx of skiers to the Duffey area as a direct result of Wildsnow coverage (which I doubt since a large number of Wildsnow readers aren’t within “strikable distance of BC), most of those people aren’t going to be jamming into the locals only hot spots. It’s like when I went to Yosemite for the first time and wasted my days on the polished guidebook trade routes. (Not that Matier is a waste of time, mind.) Point being that recent arrivants tend to flock to the big spots on the radar.

    However, there is a sentiment running through comments here that because of the abundance of skiable terrain in BC, we will never have overcrowding issues. While a quick glance at a map or internet search of mountain ranges in BC would lead one to believe that this place is a utopia (okay, it is), you’ve got to remember that ~95% of the mountains in BC are accessible only by helicopter, sled, or days/weeks of foot travel. This is kinda cool, obviously, but it’s not like people can just go for a trip to the Whitemantle Range or the Misty Icefields at the drop of a hat.

    Truth is, in the last ten years, the huge surge in backcountry skiing, coupled with competing user groups, has led to some terrain squeezes around here, and it’s not uncommon to feel hubris coursing through your veins when you remember how quiet things were ten years ago. Because road access to the mountains of BC is so limited, everybody’s fighting for the same slice of pie, and places like Brandywine that were once non-motorized are now like a scene out of Mad Max.

    That being said, I agree with Sharon and others who suggest that in most areas, increasing numbers of self-propelled skiers is a good thing, as it strengthens our foot in the door. All in all, the mountains of BC offer some of the best but least accessible skiing in North America.

  71. Matt Kinney April 16th, 2011 10:14 am

    Nice TR little L. I like the classic shot of the skier coming off the summit.
    Excellent “route” photo.

  72. mortimer April 16th, 2011 9:35 pm

    I really don’t think a few Coast mtn TR’s on Wildsnow is going to lead to a locust swarm of American powder skiers schralping all of ‘our’ BC pow . But i would like to see the TR’s leave out names of zones and lines etc as including them removes a little of the adventure of ski touring. Half fun of touring is finding ‘new’ stashes and zones without being armed with a boat load of internet beta.

    Can we leave the names of peaks and lines out and try and maintain a shred of adventure?

  73. AB April 17th, 2011 1:42 am

    Hey kids easter egg hunt over there! Let me draw you big picture with red dots on it so it’s easier to find the eggs.

    Why do we dance around the true nature of these blogs. It’s all just glory spray. This isn’t the age old tradition of sharing tales of adventure and exploration. It genuinely sucks the life out of the adventure for the folks that haven’t been there yet. Sure the area is well travelled, well mapped and documented… however.. there is a respectful way of doing that. This blog certainly doesn’t get it. I wouldn’t doubt if Lee Lau already has the GPS waypoints and his Heart rate graph from his shitter to the top of the mountain posted somewhere, but that doesn’t make it ok.

    No substance.. just dotted redlines. If folks wanted a trail map they would have pulled over further south in Whistler and hopped on a chair.

  74. brian h April 17th, 2011 8:53 am

    So if I were to to go to B.C., having never been there, am I not suposed to gather any info ahead of time? Am I not suposed to even look at all the guide BOOKS about skiing in B.C.? Maybe I should leave the compass or G.P.S at home, go out there in my skivies for some real adventure. Or is this really about “stay away lemming”? I get that there are people who feel that they have pioneered various places and that it would be hard to see that affected by other people showing up. ..but POWDER on PUBLIC land. That’s why we’re here, right?

  75. Lou April 17th, 2011 3:40 pm

    First, we’re crowding everything. Now we’re stripping the adventure. Next thing you know, we’ll be blamed for the price of tea in China!

  76. Sharon Bader April 17th, 2011 7:04 pm

    There were 12 cars in Joffre Parking lot today, 11 people heading up Slalok, we saw two other people where we were.

    Thanks Lou for crowding our backcountry.

    AB – you don’t have much credibility if you post anonymously.

    Yes Brian H – you too should have to suffer hiking out through alder and ending up on cliffs just like the rest of us ‘locals’

  77. brian h April 17th, 2011 7:40 pm

    rodger, sharon; ditch guidebook, bring machette and rope. Bribe local with promise of a mention in my trip report in exchange for inside beta.

  78. Lou April 17th, 2011 8:22 pm

    Aha, someone finally tells me how to qualify as a local. Hike some alder and end up cliffed out!

  79. Lou April 17th, 2011 8:24 pm

    AB, you’re going over to the side of doing personal attacks. Please, no.

  80. Lou April 17th, 2011 8:26 pm

    Sharon, I assume all 12 cars had WildSnow bumper stickers?

  81. See April 17th, 2011 8:36 pm

    Assuming the internet isn’t going away, and people will continue to share trip reports, etc., maybe we should just relax and be consoled by the fact that the growing body of beta will disperse the non-locals over a growing number of locales.

  82. Sharon Bader April 17th, 2011 9:26 pm

    Hey Lou, couldn’t tell if they had stickers, all the cars were filthy which is what happens when you drive up the Duffey.

    If you send me about 100 I can put them on the cars in the parking lots that are around here in a weekend! That should do.

  83. jayson April 17th, 2011 10:07 pm

    Don’t be stickering my car Ms Bader,, that is personal. We had a fantastic day up Steep Creek today. I took 5 people up there who had never been there before…guilty! They are my friends, fantastic skiers, people who are learning every month more and more about the beautiful and special place they live in.
    For me, people discovering our home ensures a MUCH MUCH better chance that it can be protected from any number of industrial uses, motorized uses, etc. etc. If people are ignorant of why a place is important, they won’t value it. Just look at the private power projects, brutal logging and mining practices etc etc. There was no one to speak for these places, 1000s of which have been lost, in some cases forever.
    I think all of BC should be reserved for outdoor recreation. Full stop.

  84. Lee Lau April 17th, 2011 10:12 pm

    “AB” – thanks so much for the suggestion which I will definitely incorporate into the next trip report. Big red arrows, straining effort co-efficient measurements correlated to heart rates, slide alder and bushwhacks clearly marked. Maybe a big Do Not Read disclaimer if you want to preserve the magic of discovery? Lou would there be sufficient space for such comprehensive data?

    On a serious note, thanks to everyone who has outlined thoughtful concerns. It certainly was an interesting discussion and will lead to more refined trip reports

  85. Lou April 18th, 2011 5:54 am

    See, yeah, I’m still not seeing this as a big issue, but apologies for flying off at the fingers in the comments here.

    Main thing is, it is really really true that we have limited access to terrain all over North America, and that even that access and use gets threatened or downright cut off by everything from private property issues to mining.

    It is also axiomatic that human powered backcountry skiing will never involve the numbers of easier sports, such as bicycle riding or walking.

    Thus, while as I’ve acknowledged it is nice to keep some places a bit less known, it is conversely also extremely important for backcountry skiers to use the backcountry and to talk about it in public. Otherwise, we will be run over roughshod by other land interests.

    The above is not theory, I’ve seen it happen both with positive and negative outcomes, and I watch the process ongoing.

  86. hippycrit April 18th, 2011 10:40 am

    (lightly edited to change personal attack tone)


    You seem to be unaware of how and why we have the privilege to live and play in this beautiful home of ours is blowing my mind. Do you have any idea how quickly your lively hood would be stripped if ‘all of BC was reserved for outdoor recreation’? Not only has every single piece of gear and clothing in your shop been derived from mining and industry but every dollar spent on that gear is, at varying levels, connected to mining, logging, fishing and IPP’s, oil and gas etc etc. BC was born and raised on heavy industry always has been and, if you value your lifestyle, always will be.


  87. sterling April 18th, 2011 12:29 pm

    Another great round of photos and stories, Louie! It’s been one of the best spring skiing years I’ve had out here on the coast and I’m glad you had a chance to get out and enjoy it!!!

  88. JimmyAwesome April 18th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Great story. Couscous is such an awesome food for ski trips, its light and quick to cook! I have some excellent recipes for preparation. I love steak too – but prefer it with potatos.

  89. AB May 6th, 2011 10:37 pm

    I noticed a great ski mag writer wrote this recently and I couldn’t help but to think of the entire “back and forth” that went on here recently.

    “Blogs are like babies. Too easy to make and a lot of people who have them shouldn’t.”

    I couldn’t help but to laugh and share 😉 . Anyways.. as you were. Blog on!! 😉

  90. Lou May 7th, 2011 5:15 am

    The “blogs are like babies…” thing has been doing the rounds forever. It’s kind of stating the obvious, and could be said about ski magazines as well who’s writers troll the web for snappy sayings. 😀

  91. AB May 7th, 2011 7:14 am

    Fair enough.. I had never heard it before. Thought it was funny. Enjoy the spring.

  92. Lou May 7th, 2011 12:58 pm

    AB, I do always get a chuckle out of it…

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version