Our last day in Field, and the only thing I hadn’t done yet that I wanted to, was make it up to Lake Ohara. It is 13km up to the lake, which is nestled amongst the mountain peaks. In summer, the only way to get there is via the bus, which only takes a certain amount of people, or walk. In winter, either snowshoe, walk. or cross country ski up the snow covered road.
We were planning to snowshoe in and do an overnighter, but we ran out of time to do that (and I’m not sure about staying at the hut in winter), so we decided to try cross country skiing, and make our way in like that.
We went up to Emerald Lake, to have a look around, and ask about skis. Christy had arrived in Social House, she was taking over form us at the hostel. We took her up to see Natural Bridge and the Emerald Lake. We ended up being convinced to hire cross country skis, and to try them out on the lake, so we went for a quick ski.
We worked the weekend, Craig and Kim went away, leaving us to look after the hostel. We worked till Tuesday, then got up early Wednesday morning, and headed up to Revelstoke. We planned carefully, what with crossing a timezone, and being aware of roads that were closed for avalanche control. We made it to the mountain by 10am, which is not too bad, only had one delay with avalanche control, though the roads were slow, as they were all firm packed snow. As we approached Revelstoke, the piles at the sides of the road got quite large. There is one section of road, through Roger’s Pass, where the road is often covered by tunnels, which are in the paths of avalanches, so that part of the road is protected. The road past Revelstoke was closed, so there were heaps of trucks lined up before the town, waiting until the road opened.
I don’t really have much to say about Revelstoke, except that it was amazing. They had over a meter of new snow in the week before we arrived, and it snowed 5cm every night, and 12cm during one of the days. We were still finding freshies on the third day.
Revelstoke has quite a decent vertical drop, a truck ton of snow, and lots of snow laden glades. My very favourite place was the Powder Monkey Glades, where the trees were nicely spaced, but in places the snow was so deep and foofy and lovely. We spent much of our three day visit in amongst the trees of the numerous glades, swishing and twisting and trying not to hit trees. I loved it. Best snow days ever.
They had some interesting names: Iron Gladen, Glades of Gnarnia, Powder Monkey Glades, Glades of Glory. The other interesting thing is that you don’t really go out of the ski area boundary here. There is plenty in the boundary to keep you entertained, but going out of it means you get charged a lot if you have to be rescued, and apparently they have had a few people this season being stuck out all night because they were not found. Cliffs, and cold.
They had a run called Lemming Line, where you have to walk a few minutes up over a ridge, but you get to drop down into a bowl, and the snow is ridiculous. Once in the bowl, you drop down through trees, and then cruise through glades for quite a while before you hit the bottom of the lift. The good thing about the bowl (or bad) is that you have to go in a roundabout way to gt back up to the top of it… you have to drop down to the bottom of one lift, catch that up, then traverse a few kms across and slightly down the mountain to get to the next lift, catch that up, and then traverse back across to the top of the bowl. So you can’t just ride it over and over and over until all the freshies are gone. Which is why they weren’t all gone.
The trees at the top of the field were all super snow encrusted, pretty much white all over. On Wednesday, we were doing a bit of a trek to reach the edge of the field (a run called Hot Sauce), and Dale saw an Ozone windsock. He thought that was interesting, and I said it was probably because they kite up this way. Then I turned around, and lo and behold, there was a guy just above us unrolling his kite.
On closer inspection, it wasn’t a power kite, but a glider thing. We helped him get it up, he had skis on, and the kite was attached to him with a harness, and two steering handles. The kite only sat a few meters above him. It took a couple of go’s, but once he had it in the air, he pretty much just took off, and soared above the field and off into the distance. It was awsum. Hopefully he landed ok, we didn’t see him again.
Thursday was the best day, with so much snow, and zooming through trees; very exciting, as you had to commit to your turns, you had to turn this way then that way, and error usually ended up with you against a tree. The amount of snow made the really steep slopes relatively easy to navigate, and a few times we stopped at the bottom of a slope, to look back at the almost-cliff that we had just dropped down.
Friday we were ridiculously tired, but as we already had lift passes we felt the need to go all day, and I think this was our longest day, as we also had to drive 3hours back to Field. Ridiculously tired and sore, after 3 full days of boarding. But it was fantastic.
We stayed in a new little Hostel called The Cube, which (was in the shape of a cube!) was right in the middle of town, near to food, supermarkets, and board waxing shops. It is quite a good hostel, the rooms are pretty private, the beds are very comfortable, and you get your own heater and tv. The only downsides was the soundproofing, and the door rattled a bit when others were closed. But it was a good place to crash out.
There is also an aquatic center in Revelstoke, and we got a pass from the backpackers to go. It was interesting, swimming around in comfortable temperatures, while you could see the snow softly falling outside. The aquatic center also had a hot tub, and 2 types of sauna, all of which we tried out.
After watching the weather forecast with bated breath, we knew it was going to start snowing again. So Excited. It also meant the temperature was going to rise a bit, and while -30 degrees was interesting to experience, it is fine if it doesn’t continue for our whole trip.
It started snowing! We had to work for another day, but that was fine, as it meant the snow could start building.
On Wednesday morning, we consulted the internets, and due to the 10cm of snow overnight, and the accumulated snow over the past few days, we decided to go to Kicking Horse again. There were puppies playing in the carpark. They don’t seem to care about the snow.
It was ridiculous and amazing and so soft and foofy. The whole day was great, the powder was great, the field was so much fun with that much snow. Everywhere is so much fun with powder! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Cruising down into the bowls, it is all quiet and peaceful, and the only sound you can hear was not the scrape of board over firm snow or ice, but the “WooooOOOOO” and “YEahhhhh” of the people riding around you, everyone was just so excited and happy to have a powder day. Even Canadians get excited about powder! It was the best day we’ve had, and Woooooooooo.
I love the trees in the snow, not only for zooming around them, but they look so pretty! And they have squirrels in them!
Thursday (today) we decided to mix it up and go to Lake Louise, as it was closer, even though they hadn’t had quite as much snow. We had a great day there, we stayed on Larch and Ptarmagin lifts, over the far side of the field, and the whole day was great, lots of zooming through trees, falling around trees, and a few swear words, but mostly it was fantastic and there were freshies galore!
We arrived home to nicely plowed streets, and a large ledge of snow in our driveway, so we had to spend some time clearing it out before we could park. Not so much fun after a couple of full days of boarding, but it was nice to get the driveway clear.
I’ve formed a theory, on why Canadians are so nice and helpful. I think it is cause of the powder, and cause their country is so pretty. They can’t help but be super happy after having a winter of riding powder, it makes everyone so very happy! And everything is just so pretty, even when there is no snow, the mountains and trees and lakes are all So Pretty, that it just makes everyone happy. All the happy.