Tag Archives: skiing

New Years Resolution: Ski More Powder!

I just returned for a weeklong trip to British Columbia in search of that white stuff that has eluded the Sierra Nevada Mountains so far this ski season. I was determined to take action in 2014 so I started hatching plans, sending out texts, and found a willing and awesome partner in my friend Lizet. We scoured the forecasts and it seemed like the most sure bet was Revelstoke, BC, a sleepy town that comes alive in the winter with bountiful snow, a resort that towers with vertical, numerous catskiing and heliskiing operations, and famously beautiful backcountry. We also have some friends there, which makes sleeping and getting a local’s tour of the ski possibilities easy. So, we met up in Reno on January 1st and flew to Seattle, since we both had free flights and made the 6 hour drive to Revelstoke after a bite to eat in Seattle and stocking up on groceries and gas in the USA.

It was snowing as we drove east and when we showed up in Revelstoke, snow piles were over 10 feet tall at every driveway. We woke up the next morning to snow falling steadily from the sky and got on the hill at the leisurely time of 10:30 AM – we knew we needed sleep to start the trip off right. I also knew my legs wouldn’t last all day.

We were lucky that our friend Stephane had a day off to show us around. He is an awesome telemark skier that heads up Tough Guy Productions. He showed us all the goods that day and we both knew we had our best turns of the year. It snowed all day and so the next day would be a legitimate powder day.

Lizet and I are just a little bit pumped about the snow!

We awoke early knowing we needed to get to the hill prior to the 8:30 opening. Much to my chagrin, when we arrived, there was a huge line for tickets. Stephane and Lizet got in line for the gondola while I waited to buy a ticket. I watched the line grow and grow. Even though the mountain itself is huge, it only has 3 lifts – the main gondola from the base, the Stoke Chair to the top, and the Ripper Chair for some additional terrain. This may have been the most skiers they’d ever seen in one day. I got my ticket at 8:40 and ran to try to find them in line catching them 10 people before it would’ve been too late. I was relieved to have a posse to shred with and to avoid the 2 hour line.

The powder day line up at the base of Revelstoke. Photo by Lynsey Dyer.

We skied all day – tight trees, pillows, more open trees. The visibility up top wasn’t great, but the snow made up for it. Our final two runs, slightly out of bounds were my best runs of the year and I returned home with crushed legs and a huge smile.

The next day we decided to explore more of the Revelstoke Mountain sidecountry since it was clearing up – we were able to ski more powder, see more of the options for out of bounds skiing, and even make Allie’s yoga class for some leg restoration at 4pm. After yoga we were able to meet up with some other friends in town and meet some really fun locals. My legs were turning the corner and I was starting to feel more and more at home in this town.

On the fourth day, I had made plans to ski with Anne Keller from Alpine Finishing School. It was an all-female crew including Kellie, Kim, and Lizet. Anne literally took us all to our best run of the season. It is a 4,000 foot climb, but the snow was perfect the whole way and the views were even better. The run down was full of pillows and open lines – everyone was smiling at the end and wishing we had time to do a second lap. If you’re up in Revelstoke, look Anne Keller up. She works for Selkirk Tangiers and will take you to good skiing!

Anne pointing out some of the nearby peaks. Photo by Lizet.

Stunning views on this tour.

On the 5th and final day in Revelstoke, I headed out with our friend Rory to ski Mt. Begbie – the mountain most visible from Revelstoke and one that the local brews were named after. We used Rory’s sled to climb 4,000 ft and then skinned an additional 3,000 into the alpine. The snow was a bit wind-affected on our first run, but on the 2nd we nailed the right aspect and it was great skiing. The bonus was skiing all the way back down to the car. Some was on a snomo track, but there were occasional powder cutoffs.

Rory readies his trusty stead.

Up in the alpine with the summit of Begbie behind Rory.

After a change of clothes and rallying the troops, we headed to a Revelstoke establishment The Village Idiot with twelve of our friends for some food and beers. We even ran into new friends we made. It seemed harder and harder to ever leave this place! By the way, do not miss the Village Idiot if you go to Revelstoke. The food is delicious – not bar food, just good food. The scene is classic mountain town bar without a corporate influence. I wish there was something like that in every ski town.

Not being able to pry ourselves away from Revelstoke, we decided to leave at 3 AM the next morning to use one of our free tickets at Whistler. Lizet had never been there and I hadn’t skied there since 2002. So, we busted out the 6 hour drive and were able to spend a day exploring a bit. We called it “gaper Whistler day” since we were not raging powder turns, but just cruising around exploring. The skiing highlight was the new Symphony bowl area because it had soft turns and good visibility and the gaper highlight was taking the peak to peak gondola. Happy with our Whistler experience, we took off for Vancouver to meet up with a college friend of mine and enjoy delicious and inexpensive sushi. We ended the trip with a solid ukulele jam session for another early departure to catch our plane. Below are some of my favorites from the trip:

The views from the peak to peak – a true engineering marvel (but also somewhat disturbing).

Find a local and have them show you around on day 1 – it will be worth it!
Kill the Banker (skiers right) at Revelstoke
Rogers Pass Backcountry

Village Idiot, Revelstoke
Le Baguette, Revelstoke
Modern Cafe, Revelstoke
Avenue Bread Breakfast Sammies, Bellingham
Metropolitan Market for a quick lunch, Seattle

Get Revelstoke tickets at Costco in Vernon, BC or Bellingham.

Random help/ride share, etc:
The Stoke List – a craigslist for Revelstoke, but better. 2 awesome people we met run this site.

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Travel

Ultimate Potential

The past 12 days have shown me that our ultimate personal potential is as vast as the mountains of Alaska. More on that trip later. In the meantime, please check out my friend and mentor Lynsey Dyer‘s TED talk.

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Filed under Random rambling, Skiing

Ruby Mountain Detour

Juliana and I took a little road trip to Utah to attend Outdoor Retailer thanks to our friends at Flylow and gather some information for our own potential business venture. In addition to attending the show and being visually overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of outdoor gear, we also did a bit of backcountry skiing in Utah. Like Tahoe, Utah hadn’t had considerable snow for at least 10 days, but decent conditions existed in the backcountry. We were grateful for the guidance of our friend Steve who is truly one of the most dedicated backcountry skiers I’ve ever met.

Juliana in front of Jaws, our first Utah backcountry run

Juliana in front of Jaws, our first Utah backcountry run

Sunday morning we woke up and actually saw the sun for the first time since we’d arrived in Salt Lake on Wednesday evening due to the inversion that had been keeping the city foggy and smoggy. Despite the potential for a snow storm to hit Utah Sunday afternoon, we decided to head back to Tahoe on Sunday after yoga and breakfast in Salt Lake City. The drive in the Salt Flats was harrowing. We saw multiple accidents and were relieved when we reached the Nevada border and the roads seemed dry. We stopped for some tea in Elko at the slowest Starbucks ever and hit the road again only to come to a halt 10 minutes west of our stop on I-80. We were stopped on the highway for 4 hours, unaware of the situation ahead, but aware that multiple ambulances, tow trucks, and police cars were making their way to the scene. It turns out there was a 6 car pile-up in the tunnel between Elko and Carlin and we had missed it by 15 minutes! Thank you slow Starbucks! Making the best of an unfortunate situation, I called my friend Sue who lives at the mouth of Lamoille Canyon to see if we could stay with her for the night. She graciously accepted and provided us with a fabulous breakfast the next morning and her snowmobile to head into the canyon for some skiing. The Ruby Mountains had received 10-16″ of new snow! Avalanche conditions were a bit sketchy, so we decided sticking to low angle slopes would be best. So Juliana and I headed down the canyon via snowmobile right from Sue’s house and had the most fun ever! We skinned and skied two runs once we reached the end of the road and headed back to Sue’s. It was tempting to stay for her trout dinner and hot tub with Ruby Mountain vistas, but it was time to return to Tahoe. Safe to say, we’ll be back!

Juliana skinning for turns in the Ruby Mountains

And enjoying the way down!

The author skiing Ambrosia in Lamoille Canyon

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They say “do one thing every day that scares you.” Actually Eleanor Roosevelt said that. Jumping into Corner Pocket on Sunday scared me, but I did it any way and executed it perfectly. In powder, it would not have been an issue, but this was onto hard pack. The fear was good because it made me plan ahead.

Sending corner pocket to hard pack at Kirkwood, CA (Photo by Lauren Lindley)

Sports seem so straight forward – especially individual sports – train hard, get better. A real career is a lot less cut and dry. I’m 33 and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. It can be incredibly frustrating. I’m going to try to heed the advice in this article. But wouldn’t it be nice if I could just train and get results? I think that’s why I used to like math, but I never liked math as much as sports.


Filed under Random rambling, Skiing

It was worth it!

Clear and cold conditions have made the skiing in Tahoe awesome. I’m not alone in thinking this season has completely made up for last season. I can’t remember it being this cold in Tahoe for this long and am hearing that from longtime locals as well.

Dawn at Elephants Back (Photo by Will B)

Pow turns days after the storm (Photo by Lauren Lindley)

Pow turns days after the storm (Photo by Lauren Lindley)

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

Incredible Start to the Winter

It has been snowing a lot for December. In fact, it was announced that it was the 2nd snowiest December on record for Tahoe! It’s also been staying cold, keeping the snow in great condition. The backcountry was somewhat unstable for a while, but things seem to be calming down now and the Sierra Avalanche Center has downgraded the avalanche danger to low. I was a bit too busy skiing to document things, but here are a few photos I snapped and a quick video of one of our runs from the top of Heavenly down to Gardnerville.

Storm day skiing at Heavenly

Dropping into Kirkwood on a Christmas Eve bluebird powder day

Will B sending Kodak at Kirkwood Mountain

Stellar run down Flagpole Peak

Skiing up the ridge to access fresh powder (Photo by Patrick Kelly)

One last run to the valley

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

Fun Times Out There Today

I went out to Carson pass with a crew of splitboarders today. The wind kept us from our planned objective, but did not keep us from having fun!

Windbuff on Elephant’s Back – Photo by Justin Befu

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

Sisters in the Backcountry

When I returned from the coast, it was snowing. My sister still had one more stop on her California tour and that was Tahoe – so we headed out for an easy backcountry tour to Elephants Back off Carson Pass when the storm broke.

Feels so great to be on skis in the mountains

The author ripping a few turns down Elephant’s Back (Photo by Nicole)

Nicole skiing below the Elephant’s Back prow.

Happy after making creamy October turns.

Surfing and skiing in the same week! AWESOME!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe

More Shasta Awesomeness

A photo from our Shasta trip was the “Extreme Photo of the Week” in National Geographic.

Lynsey Dyer ripping it up on Shasta during the annular solar eclipse. Om. (photo by Patrick Orton)

Lynsey Dyer ripping it up on Shasta during the annular solar eclipse. Om. (photo by Patrick Orton)

Check out the story here! Lynsey also wrote this story which was published on TGR.

Nice photos Patrick Orton!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing

Kirkwood Storm Day!

We had a rowdy Kirkwood storm day – only chair 6 was open, but that was all we could hope for.  It probably snowed over a foot while we were skiing between 9 and 2 and the winds were howling.  I got frostbite on my face… in California.  Seriously. 

Anyway my GoPro died on me early… maybe I didn’t charge it?  Still figuring it out.  Here is a short clip. 

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