Earlier this week, I did another quick trip out West on my air miles to ski at Revelstoke.
I was there for one day last year, and it blew my mind away. I knew I had to come back. So I did.
Last year, it was foggy and I didn’t get to see the Rocky Mountains very much.
This time, I had a blue-bird sky on the first day and finally got to see what the place looked like.
Vertigo is one of my favorite runs. It’s a small bowl on the upper half of the mountain. It represents only a tiny fraction of the whole ski hill, but it’s still 2-3 times bigger than most ski resorts down East.
The best part about skiing out West are the back-bowls. It’s just all open snow, and you can pick your own line down the hill, and gradually make your way down into the trees again.
This, to me, is like dying and going to heaven.
The other great thing about big mountains is that you can make it as hard as you want.
Down East, you’re limited to the most difficult double-black diamond run on the trail map.
Here, the most difficult run is limited to your own stupidity (i.e. how much you’re willing to put yourself at risk).
And if you wipe out, it’s not just a matter of falling and spraining your ankle.
There are cliffs, and risks of avalanches. If you take the wrong turn or do something stupid, you could DIE.
Here’s one of the steeper runs I took, and I was reasonably proud of myself for doing it.
But that was nothing compared to these guys…
Check it out: the two black dots on top of the peak are skiers, and the other black dot to their bottom left is another skier going down.
ne thing to this type of extreme skiing on video…it’s another to see it in real time, where ther’s a real risk of someone dying.
There were about 30 of us watching these lunatics. You’re kind of speechless, because you can’t believe at how stupid/brave they are. This is how skiers kill themselves.
You’d feel bad if they got hurt, but on the other hand, they’re skiing out of bounds and nobody’s putting a gun to their head making them do this.
If you look closely here, you can see the tracks where the first skier went down.
You don’t know whether you want to congratulate him and buy him a beer, or smack him upside the head, and call him “shit-for-brains”.
I know if my Dad (Mr. Official Ski Instructor) were still alive, he’d do the latter.
Either way, that’s some damned impressive skiing.
On the 2nd day, Friar’s Mom was on the road at 6:00 AM and drove 2 hours to meet me. We had a great ski day together.
On one run, Friar’s Mom wanted to “explore”. We ended up bushwhacking through a snow-board trail between the trees, dodging branches and trying not to get poked in the face.
I’ve bragged about this before, but I’m going to say it again: I don’t know too many 71-year-old Grandmas who can ski like this.
While I was there, they also had rescue dogs,who were being trained to find avalanche victims.
The would get on the chairlift with their handlers and ski down the hill right beside them.
The dogs just LOVED this, as they’d run down the hill at full ballistic speed.
I mean.. look: how happy do you think this critter is?
On a scale of ten, I’d say ELEVEN.
Now, of course, the weather was not always great. And it changed by the minute.
Day three started off like this:
The top (and best part) of the mountain was closed because of high wind, and things didnt’ look great. But within 30 minutes, it cleared up and everything opened up again.
I hiked the traverse on top to get to the back bowls, and suffice to say it was pretty windy.
I could barely see the skiers ahead of me, and their tracks were almost filled with fresh snow again by the time I caught up to where they were.
I felt somewhat safe, though, because there was a steady stream of skiers doing the same thing. I wouldn’t dare do this alone, under these conditions.
I like this photo of a random snow-boarder who was coming up behind me. I find the angle of the hill interesting.
Things calmed down considerably once I got to the other side. And I skied in half-tracked fluffy powder until the lifts closed.
That was it. Three days of intense skiing. But I certainly got my money’s worth.
Junior Bear did too, as he made some friends in downtown Revelstoke.