It was hardly a stellar start to the ski season in the Pacific Northwest. By Thanksgiving, there was basically no snow at resort level anywhere in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and only a few runs open at Whistler. Fortunately some respectable falls had Lake Louise and Revelstoke looking like there was some turns to be had, so we threw our gear in the truck and headed out on the 9 hour drive north to Lake Louise.
It was Men’s World Cup Race weekend at Louise, meaning some of the best (man-made snow) runs were closed for the race. But we still had fun cruising a couple of groomers on the front side, and the surprisingly rock-free Paradise Bowl. On the first chair of the season, we shared a ride with Bode Miller’s new girl-friend, giving us a somewhat indirect claim to fame. Bode was flying in the training runs, winning the first two, but he bombed on race day. New girlfriends might be bad news for ski-racers 🙂
We then drove across the Trans-Canadian to Revelstoke, where the top lift was open with mostly covered runs (some pics here) – it wasn’t too difficult to miss the rocks! Even with dodgy cover, this was excellent, sustained fall-line skiing. Jackson Hole-like, there was little relent in the steepness, and some of the glades and serious steeps looked amazing. There was even some freshies on the second day. We’ll be back here in early February when hopefully the snow is deep and the runs to the base are open. It could be incredible.
Not much happened then until mid-December, when a serious snow storm hit the Cascades, and by Sunday we got in some fluffy turns at Timberline, albeit on limited terrain. This storm put down enough base for us to cruise off the Liberator chair at Mission Ridge the following weekend, in outrageously cold but wonderfully clear weather. The two open runs were in great condition though, perfect for high-speed carving. Once we managed 3 runs before going in to warm up! It was as cold as I’ve known on a ski hill.
As we left Mission and headed north to BC for Xmas skiing, we got caught in a mega-storm going over Stevens Pass and up to Bellingham. Nasty driving, but it should be the storm to get all the local lifts turning. It looks like the ski season is finally up and running!
6 Days (Lake Louise, Revelstoke, Timberline, Mission Ridge) – 35,200 vertical metres, 2 powder days