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Old 04-19-2013, 08:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sidecountry runs - where? what skills?

Two problems:
1) Narrowed down the cat lodges for the pow holiday next March to Baldface, Island Lake or Skeena. Now the more difficult part: which resorts to spend the other one or two weeks of the holiday? Spent hours googleing to find out about resorts but still got problems to decide, where to go. Where do you get the best/most sidecountry opportunities? (not interested in groomers )

2) Other problem is to judge riding ability. This beginner-intermediate-advanced-expert rating usually used is too superficial in my opinion… different strokes for different folks… we don’t have anything like “double-blacks” here (we got a simple blue-red-black rating for groomers). References like “only for advanced riders comfortable with double-blacks” are riddles for me. What skills does an “advanced” rider need to have in your opinion? What is “steep”? We meet 35° regularly in sidecountry, steepest was 44°. Is that steep? Most tricky situation I had to negotiate was a little drop-in that led directly into a 34° slope covered with an older wet snow avalanche deposit with lots of frozen blocks. But what’s tricky for me could be a sneer for someone else. I’ve done all back-sidecountry riding this season without falls, with ease and confidence, but this doesn’t make me an advanced rider, it only means, that I haven’t been in something more difficult

>>> Names, descriptions, pics or vids of runs you’ve done in your preferred sidecountry resorts would very helpful 1st to get an idea of how cool the resorts are 2nd to judge, if I’d be able to tackle them. Would be great if you could add some comments on what’s the specific riders skills needed to do this runs. Or describe tricky situations one can meet, so I could get an idea, if I could manage them. Would be awful to book a week in a resort just to find out that all the nice runs there are too difficult for me
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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True sidecountry aka backcountry? I know you do the bc riding thing, but your description kind of sounds like you are looking for inbounds steeps.

Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Whistler, all have backcountry access gates. Some of them have real tours out those gates and quick back to the resort laps, maybe with some hiking. I'd message chupacabra. I am just going from what I've seen, he's been there done that. We got some other Canadians who know the in and outs of the backcountry around some of the major Candian ski areas. I am just forgetting who they are atm. Sorry guys...
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Revelstoke Hands down. If you can get your hands on a split just go to Roger's Pass.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
True sidecountry aka backcountry? I know you do the bc riding thing, but your description kind of sounds like you are looking for inbounds steeps.
hmmm... add a 3rd problem then: definition problem
As I unserstood the differences (please correct, if I'm wrong):

inbound: "official" runs, displayed on the resort map, patrolled, poles indicate, where the runs go, warnings for dangerous spots (ropes, warning signs), no sudden cliffs, no avy danger (very uncommen here, e.g. nothing like this exists in my resort)

sidecountry: the area all around a resort. no warnings, no avy bombing, no patrols, access by cable car/chairlift (and maybe a short hike) and runs end at the chairlift station. maybe "run" is a wrong word. you ride where ever you want, there are no poles that show you the directions. the significant difference to backcountry is the proximity to a resort. you're "on your own", but since many people ride there, you're still likely to be found if shit happens. we explore new sidecountry either with local guides or if you get a good overview on the terrain ourt of a cable car (hubby has a good terrain memory. I'd still get lost on runs I've done 10 times )

I'm looking for both oportunities. For sidecountry, we'd hire a guide to explore the area, but if "inbound" is common at a resort, sure, we'll love to stay there.



Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Whistler, all have backcountry access gates. Some of them have real tours out those gates and quick back to the resort laps, maybe with some hiking
reading this ^^ I think that what I call sidecountry is backcountry then hmmm... Backcountry for me means that you hike for every meter you run, well off any resort, likely to meet nobody the entire day, plan the trip well in advance, study maps and weatherforcast and avy reports very well, leave early in the morning, stay at home if weather is unstable.

Last edited by neni; 05-18-2013 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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For me, advanced means you can safely make it down most any slope without slip-sliding and falling all over the place. Expert means you can make it down any skiable slope and make it look good.

And I consider steep to be any slope in the upper 30s
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neni View Post
Two problems:
1) Narrowed down the cat lodges for the pow holiday next March to Baldface, Island Lake or Skeena. Now the more difficult part: which resorts to spend the other one or two weeks of the holiday? Spent hours googleing to find out about resorts but still got problems to decide, where to go. Where do you get the best/most sidecountry opportunities? (not interested in groomers )

2) Other problem is to judge riding ability. This beginner-intermediate-advanced-expert rating usually used is too superficial in my opinion… different strokes for different folks… we don’t have anything like “double-blacks” here (we got a simple blue-red-black rating for groomers). References like “only for advanced riders comfortable with double-blacks” are riddles for me. What skills does an “advanced” rider need to have in your opinion? What is “steep”? We meet 35° regularly in sidecountry, steepest was 44°. Is that steep? Most tricky situation I had to negotiate was a little drop-in that led directly into a 34° slope covered with an older wet snow avalanche deposit with lots of frozen blocks. But what’s tricky for me could be a sneer for someone else. I’ve done all back-sidecountry riding this season without falls, with ease and confidence, but this doesn’t make me an advanced rider, it only means, that I haven’t been in something more difficult

>>> Names, descriptions, pics or vids of runs you’ve done in your preferred sidecountry resorts would very helpful 1st to get an idea of how cool the resorts are 2nd to judge, if I’d be able to tackle them. Would be great if you could add some comments on what’s the specific riders skills needed to do this runs. Or describe tricky situations one can meet, so I could get an idea, if I could manage them. Would be awful to book a week in a resort just to find out that all the nice runs there are too difficult for me

on your first point, i'm not sure how deep your pockets are as those 3 lodges aren't cheap, however the experience is beyond words. From my experience over the last 4 seasons (3 in Revelstoke, most recent in Golden at Kicking Horse). Between the 2 resorts you have ample "side country" opportunities that can be very challenging. By the sounds of it you'd be able to handle either one.

As mentioned by others, inbetween the 2 resorts/towns is Rogers Pass for some true backcountry for more experience mountaineers/riders. I would HIGHLY recommend hiring a local guide if you plan on heading there. My choice and great guys, www.adrenalindescents.com , check them out.

If you want some other Cat ski/boarding options check out Mustang Powder, Mustang Powder - Home - Cat Skiing BC Canada - Snowcat Skiing and Snowboarding in British Columbia and/or K3 snow cats, Home | K3 Cat Ski - Cat Skiing and Snowboarding in British Columbia . Both are local to Revelstoke and a short drive out of town to reach (K3 will pick you up at your hotel in town).

That's my 2cents. PM me if you'd like to chat further.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownSnow View Post
That's my 2cents. PM me if you'd like to chat further.
Thanks a lot for all the information! Nothing is fixed so far. Baldface impressed me by the size of the area they cover (my line of thought: even if there was no storm recently they'll have enough untouched runs) and Island Lake is on my list since I saw some awsome tree riding vids in this forum. Hubby is into Skeena cause they have a heli I guess, we need to book the cat lodge well in advance but can take our time with the resorts.

I'll look into your links. Thanks again!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you want some other Cat ski/boarding options check out Mustang Powder, Mustang Powder - Home - Cat Skiing BC Canada - Snowcat Skiing and Snowboarding in British Columbia
Was very stoked while clicking through the Mustang homepage. But having a close look at the information booklet told me that its unsuitable:
Please be aware that even in the regular program our policy at Mustang is to cater to the strong, keen skiers and boarders. You should be an expert skier, and at a minimum a very strong intermediate. While strong intermediate ability will suffce for skiers, snowboarders and telemark skiers must be experts and able to handle all backcountry conditions including very steep treed terrain.

In no way I'd call myself an expert. Medium advanced maybe, but certainly not more.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That's just racist semantics.

You're an expert.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hmmmm... met someone from Vancouver at a congress today. Discussed a bit about my travel plans and he warned me, that there's a problem with little snow every 4 years cause of the El Nińo. Last time it was during the Olympic games, so next year would be the next occasion... does this also affect the Calgary area? After kite holiday without wind I couldn't stand pow holiday without pow
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