Winter Returns to BC, with Considerable Avalance Danger

Black Thunder at Big White Ski Resort

After a two-week hiatus, winter has returned with a vengeance to British Columbia, with all three North Shore mountains getting hammered over the weekend (almost a metre in 36 hours at Mount Seymour on Saturday and early Sunday). Reports have been excellent at Whitewater, Big White, and Silver Star as well, with all three resorts reporting over 60 centimetres in the past three days.

Backcountry Warning from Canadian Avalanche Association

Backcountry skiers should note that the danger scale for the South Coast has tipped into the ‘Considerable’ range which in many ways is the most dangerous, since some slopes can be 100 percent safe, while lingering instability in the snowpack on other aspects can lead to disaster. After doing a brief tour in Mount Seymour Provincial Park on Sunday, I came back home to find out that three experienced skiers had perished in an avalanche outside of Stevens Pass, WA. Among the deceased was Jim Jack, whom I met a couple of years ago when he organized the only Canadian stop in the Freeride World Tour at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. In this particular accident, 12 skiers were buried and one of the women, Elyse Saugstad, was saved when she inflated her ABS avalanche safety airbag and stayed on the debris bed, despite sliding for over 600 metres down-slope.

For the most complete avalanche data, consult Karl Klassen’s blog at

Y2Play, Buy/Ski Today

With snow bases totalling well over two metres in southwestern BC, there’s plenty of time to enjoy your Grouse Mountain Y2Play Pass, which went on sale last weekend. A financial saviour to mortgage strapped parents throughout the Lower Mainland, Y2Play is one of the most successful season pass promotions in western Canada and is valid for skiing and riding from the day of purchase through the end of the 2011/12 winter season. It then becomes valid again October 1, 2012 through the 2012/13 winter season. You can even get 50% off brand new 2012 Giro snowsports helmets, plus discounts on many other Grouse services and attractions. Note that there are a limited number of Y2Play snowpasses, and this promotion sells out every season.

Mount Washington Awash in Snow

Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island will extend their winter season by a full week in April. Skiers and snowboarders can now carve the slopes until April 22, 2012. With a 334 centimetre base as of February 21st , they could ski well into June, I’m sure.

Hollyburn History Lesson Happening in March

Do you dig North Shore ski history? Well, Mount Seymour’s Alex Douglas informs us that Hollyburn Lodge Through the Seasons & Generations premieres at the West Vancouver Historical Society’s General Meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 pm., West Vancouver Seniors Centre (21st St & Marine Dr., NW corner).

The 60-minute film was produced by Don Grant, Hollyburn Heritage Society, and includes many historic and contemporary photos, home movies and HD video. The film reviews the history of this historic building in its setting beside First Lake and the decades-long effort of the Society to gain community-wide support for the restoration and continued maintenance of the lodge.

Celebrity Sighting at Mount Seymour

Was that really Red Bull athlete Sean Pettit up at Mount Seymour last weekend, giving ski tips to members of the Mount Seymour Progression Freeride team? Seems that’s the case, as this short video proves. Pettit, who has had huge feature segments in the last three Matchstick Productions (MSP) videos, is finally getting his own K2 signature model ski next season, called the Pettitor.

Stoked on the Film Fest

The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival ended on Saturday night with a raunchy chat from those Patagonian bad-boys, Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy. Their feature presentation on climbing and then removing bolts from Cerro Torre showed a lighter side of what truly has become one of the more fascinating mountaineering controversies of the past couple of decades, at least ever since the Into Thin Air debacle on Mount Everest. It was pretyy obvioThe 2012 Juried awards were also handed out, including Freedom Chair (Best Short), Solitaire (Best Ski Movie), Conflict Tiger (Environment), Moonflower (Climbing) and On the Trail of Genghis Khan (Grand Prize Winner).

Londoner“Stoked” on Tourism Whistler’s Sabbatical Project

“Stoke” is to the 2000s what ‘extreme’ was to the 1990s, but whatever, the English language is getting pounded from all sides these days. Luke Dillon from London, England’s life is about to change, for the next month or two, at least, as he gets to not only ski but experience just about every possible Whistler experience (midnight ziplining – who knew? Dancing with go-go girls?) including a photo session with the famous Paul Morrison. Dillon’s entry in the Whistler Sabbatical Project was selected by a trio of judges that included Whistler mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and Tourism Whistler CEO Barrett Fisher. You can get a full idea of what Luke’s going to be taking part in, here. The real question is, is his team Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, or Fulham?


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