What A Great Day for A Great Ski!

 

POWDER magazine has a column called The Jaded Local. It’s really funny, and offers a satiric take on how goofy skiers, especially ski tourists, can behave. Sort of like that Sh#t Skiers Say video by Voleurz that went viral last month.

Well, there was a moment on Sunday at Whistler where the three guys I was skiing with did something so utterly touristy that I’m embarrassed to bring it up. Cresting that last rock buttress on the Peak Chair, shafts of sunlight through the clouds illuminated some peaks and glaciers, while enshrouding others in darkness; just like one of those Toni Onley watercolours. One of our crew was out from Toronto and I said, “C’mon, Speros, stand over there and I’ll snap your picture,” I said. Soon, there were three of us in the pic, mugging and laughing like schoolgirls posting party pics to Facebook. “I’ve skied here for fifteen years and I’ve never done that,” said Darren.

As the Sh*t narrator says, “what a great day for a great ski!”

The lesson here is simple – we can all get jaded from time to time (matter of fact, Darren’s daughter is named “Jayda”). Take a cheesy photo with your friends this weekend and share a few laughs.

Here’s a round-up of newsy winter items from the past week and a look at a couple of events coming up.

Canadian Downhillers Go 1-3-5 in France

Though you don’t ever want to see me running gates (“your skiing hurts my eyes!”), I do love watching ski racing on TV, as imperfect as the broadcast and commentary sometimes is. Last weekend, race junkies revelled in a rare Canadian treat when Jan Hudec, Erik Guay, and Ben Thomsen went 1-3-5 in a World Cup race in Chamonix, France. (Maybe it had something to do with the powdery conditions?) Can’t wait for BC racers Manny Osborn-Paradis and Robbie Dixon to return to form next season – can you imagine what a top five sweep would look like?

Red Bull Travis Rice Supernatural at Baldface Catskiing

No matter what you might think of the taste of Red Bull, their contest and marketing ideas are breathtaking. The Red Bull Travis Rice Supernatural brought an invite-only A-List of the top slopestyle snowboarders to Baldface Lodge catskiing north of Nelson, BC, for a one-day shoot-out contest. During the off-season, the Baldface crew built enormous man-made kickers and ramps, augmented with snow-cat sculpted features and snow-covered natural obstacles to create a free-form terrain park that certainly upped the ante when it comes to action sports winter competition. The Red Bull Supernatural will be fully broadcast in HD on NBC on Saturday, March 31.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – Weekend Number One!

There are so many amazing presenters at this year’s Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival that it’s hard to know where to begin. Now in its 15th year, the sheer diversity of speakers and films truly boggles the mind – everything from chasing tigers with John Vaillant, BASE jumping with Steph Davis, chasing freedom with climbers in Communist Poland, paddling the Great Bear Rainforest, and skiing throughout South America will be highlighted. The Festival kicks off on Friday night at Centennial Theatre with a special presentation on walking around Switzerland with John Harlin III, son of the legendary Harlin who climbed the north face of the Eiger in the 1960s.

City and Slope  – The Best of Both Worlds

From Yaletown clubs to Mount Seymour’s snowy slopes, the Olympic legacy lives on this weekend with a series of parties and special events happening at the City and Slope festival.  There are just a ton of concerts, activities, events, and promotions happening  from Thursday through Sunday, including Grouse Mountain’s 24 Hours of Winter (yep, just like during the Games, the mountain will be open over the midnight shift), the Karv ice sculpture making event that’s part of Illuminate Yaletown, the Canadian Ski & Snowboard Festival at Cypress Mountain (whew, too many events to list – but dig out your Team Canada sweaters to save on lift tickets!) and Mount Seymour 86s – where 80s ski and snowboard fashion will rule for one day only on Sunday, February 12.

Ski-Mo in Golden at Kicking Horse!

Most skiers know about ‘backcountry skiing’ – where skiers apply adhesive mohair skins to the base of their skis in search of distant powder bowls and craggy peaks. And, well, since humans are naturally competitive, there are even ‘ski mountaineering races’ (ski-mo). These events aere very popular in Europe, where many of the top skiers have fitness levels which rival that of top Nordic racers, and must be outstanding downhill skiers to make up time through a pre-determined course set up in advance.. Ski-mo is a decidedly more low-key affair in North America, but one of the top races in the calendar occurs this weekend at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, BC. It’s called the Dogtooth Dash, and it serves as the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Championships. North Vancouver’s Traslin Brothers (sponsored by local ski company G3 – Genuine Guide Gear) – have done very well in the past, and Whistler’s Alex Wigley is on the national team. (Alex pens the very cool Ski Theory blog about ski-mo racing and touring in and around the Coast Range.

Viral Video of the Week: “Saved by the Bag! – The BCA Float 30, to be exact…

Finally, here’s one for the backcountry skiers. My pal Bruce Edgerly with Backcountry Access (BCA) was at the Outdoor Retailer trade show two weeks ago in Salt Lake City when a woman came up to their booth and told him their Float 30 Airbag backpack had likely saved her life.  It was even caught on film, and while we certainly would never recommend wearing an airbag as an excuse for skiing or snowboarding a sketchy slope, this gives a pretty good idea of how they work. Stay safe out there!

Seen some cool stuff? Friend me on Facebook or fire me an e-mail: sthrendy@telus.net


 

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