Category Archives: Skiing

What a day!

7th Heaven

Every now and then a day comes along that simply hammers home why I live in Whistler.  A surprise 32cms of fresh, dry, light powder and bluebird skies.  How can you beat that?  I suppose I should add that I got first tracks down several runs.

Hugh's Heaven

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Never Ceases to Amaze

What a valley!

Riding Peak Chair on Whistler in late February, I unloaded at the top, chuckled at all the ‘tourists’ taking their holiday snaps,

Tourist

stopped a moment to look at their subject and was blown away.  I can’t tell you how many times I have looked upon this view, however it never, never ceases to amaze me.

Black Tusk

Black Tusk Winter

Random Skier

Great Valley

Ak Grab

Pink tusk

 

Steep Creek

View above the hut

Last week we went on a trip to the Duffey Lake area.  In one word this place is epic.  A lot of absolutely outrageous terrain.  It is steep, with lots of tree runs and lots of exposed faces with cliffs, chutes and very serious avalanche possibilities.  This year has been a bit worrying in terms of avalanche danger so the purpose of this trip was just to get into the mountains and hang out.  We weren’t really chasing epic lines.

As it turns out, it was a good thing we weren’t in search of epic skiing because as we were climbing up to the hut the freezing level quickly over took us.

The map below shows roughly the route we took.  The climbing is in yellow and the descent is in red.  Obviously most of the terrain is currently covered in snow, however you can get a rough idea.

Steep Creek Route

The climb itself wasn’t too difficult, it followed a road for most of the way that had been nicely packed down by snowmobile traffic.  We weren’t in a hurry so we took a little longer than we usually would, however we made it to the hut in time to unload our heavy packs and head up through the trees for a quick lap before dinner.

One Trail

Heading up for a quick lap before dinner

Heading up for a quick lap before dinner

The snow was quite heavy however we were able to have some fun and play around.  You can see the rough line we took in orange on the map above.

We stayed in an awesome hut that had lights (solar), ipod dock, foam mats and more including a disco ball.  We ate, drank and played cards well into the night and when we crashed it was almost luxurious how much space there was in the loft.

On the second and final day we took our time packing up and departing, an excellent bacon breakfast was on the menu.  We climbed up through the trees once more, stopping several times to look at lines and wish the snow was champagne powder.  Next time!

Will Trees near Hut

Towards Chute 56

At the top we looked down an avalanche path called Chute 56.  On a good day this chute apparently has some incredible skiing, however it is a committing line and we weren’t overly confident in the snow pack so we decided to stick in the trees.

Tree Negotiator

Tree Negotiator 2

Will playing

The skiing was heavy but actually pretty fun at the start however below 1500 metres or so it changed drastically into this horrible heavy concrete style snow.  We slowly picked our way down, popping into the chute at the very end to link up with the road that would take us back to the main road out to our car.

Will heavy snow

Heavy Pow Will B&W

All in all it was a pretty fun, short adventure and I cannot wait to get back there when the snow is in a better condition.

 

Chamonix, France

Aguille du midi

In January I was lucky enough to travel to Chamonix, France.  This place is simply incredible.  The terrain is about as dramatic as I have seen anywhere.  I could write an essay on why this place is amazing but I’ll save you the task of reading it and let you do your own analysis through these pictures.

Chamonix cliffs ssunset

Jagged Peak

Chamonix cliffs

Chamonix Cliffs

Chamonix Cliffs

From Grand Montet

Valley Blanche Begins

Valley at Les Houches signed

View from the Aguille signed

Across Valley From Aguile

Across Valley

Mont blanc

Orange Building & peaks

Peaks from Cham

Aguile from Town

Mont Blanc signed

Chamonix Cliffs sunset 2

Avalanche Operations Level 1: Check

It’s been a truly intense week.  Whistler has been hit with a few great storms.  We have some excellent skiing up there at the moment.  Most of my friends have been out there ‘getting deep’, enjoying the powder.  I have been digging holes!

I walked out my door to this sight on my way to the course

I walked out my door to this sight on my way to the course

I have spent the past seven days on an Operations Level 1 Avalanche course run by the Canadian Avalanche Association.  It was a full on week.  Starting at 8 am every day and usually running until 6 or 7 pm each night.  Most days we went up the hill, did a little ski touring,

Skinning up through the trees near disease ridge

Skinning up through the trees near disease ridge

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and spent several hours digging holes,

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investigating the layers of Whistler and Blackcomb’s snowpack and taking weather observations.

Observing the weather!

Observing the weather!

It was a terrific week to do this course as we saw a lot of changes in weather and snow conditions.  Although it was hard to be digging holes and not skiing, it was the perfect opportunity to learn a lot of new information from some excellent instructors who have been in the industry for a very long time.

Our only line before digging another hole.  It was a good one though!

Our only line before digging another hole. It was a good one though!

Climbing back up beside our lines

Climbing back up beside our lines

A beautiful day to dig another hole!

A beautiful day to dig another hole!

That's a climbing track, not a skiing line!

That’s a climbing track, not a skiing line!

Sadly not my ski tracks!

Sadly not my ski tracks!

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View of Flute from Disease Ridge

View of Flute from Disease Ridge

I look forward to continuing to improve this skills I have gained this week, but first I will go skiing!

All photos taken on my Iphone and uploaded to Instagram.  Feel free to follow me there @jta85

2013 Instagrammed

2013 was an absolutely incredible year for me.

Continued my life in Whistler.

Traveled to Japan to ski for the first time.

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The pow was deep in Niseko!

The pow was deep in Niseko!

Started this blog.

A great start to the year saw out the winter season

A great start to the year saw out the winter season

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Biked one heck of a lot.

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Frolfed!

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Explored some fantastic alpine hikes and camps around Whistler and Pemberton.

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Checked out Quebec City.

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Chute Montmorency

Chute Montmorency

Traveled to New Zealand to ski – ended up hiking the whole time.

Sheep like Lake Wanaka too.

Sheep in NZ??

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Visited family and friends in Australia for a few weeks.

Anzac Bridge

Anzac Bridge

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

The old dirt road home!

The old dirt road home!

Ran Sydney’s famous City2Surf.

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Did some more biking and camping in Whistler.

Top of the World

Top of the World

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Locomotive

Locomotive

Journeyed to England and Paris to hang out with friends and family once more.

Awaited the ski season to begin which included biking right up until the resort opened and even afterwards.

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Skied.

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Played ice hockey…on a frozen lake!

Nita Lake

Nita Lake

Worked.

Got Festive.

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Instagrammed.

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Ski & Bike – Why Not?

Instagram @jta85 - view from Blackcomb looking over Whistler village.

Instagram @jta85 – View from Blackcomb looking over Whistler village.

It seemed like we waited along time for the storm that rolled into Whistler on Sunday night. Almost the instant the rain turned to snow an excited buzz flowed through the village. As I was out working, watching the flakes fall, I became more and more pumped for the powder day to come.

Although snow was forecast throughout Monday, it turned into a stunning bluebird day. With limited lifts open I was surprised to see how well the slopes held up. We were a little late uploading, however we still managed to put in some amazing turns while admiring the stunning scenery at the same time.

Taken with my old point and shoot, it's looking a lot more like winter around here.

Taken with my old point and shoot, it’s looking a lot more like winter around here.

Gotta love an Instagram filter! @jta85

Gotta love an Instagram filter! @jta85

Another point and shoot shot, downloading in the Excalibur Gondola on Blackcomb.

Another point and shoot shot, downloading in the Excalibur Gondola on Blackcomb.

After I came off the hill I didn’t want to stay inside on such an incredible day. I decided it would be a great idea to go for a cross country bike mission to see if “Cut Yer Bars”, the trail closest to my house, was still ridable. As it turns out, it is, and I got fresh powder tracks from start to finish! BOOM!!!

Instagram @jta85 - Cut Yer Bars during sunset

Instagram @jta85 – Cut Yer Bars during sunset

Instagram @jta85

Instagram @jta85

First tracks!

First tracks!

What a line!

What a line!

Fresh Pow! Stoked!

Fresh Pow! Stoked!

Now that’s my sort of day!