Archive for April, 2012

Last Ride! Final Vancouver SUN blogpost for 2012!

April 27, 2012


Last Ride: Final SUN Ski Guide Blog for 2012

So, I thought we’d wrap up the 2012 ski season with a bit of a re-cap of some of the highlights gleaned around British Columbia during what was surely one of the most epic years for snowfall of all time. The momentum that started with early season snows pounding the Coast Range continued right through last week’s Telus Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival. The Pro Photographer Showdown is always a major highlight of the festival, and last night Unofficial Networks posted Brian Nevis’s winning entry. This is the second year in a row that a surf photographer has won the big prize.

Here are my other notable media picks from the season that just ended.

1)      S**t Skiers Say – I’ve watched it ten times and have to say that this Voleurz satire on the S**t Girls Say meme was one of the best. “It’s a great day for a great ski!” “Is the red light on, is it on?” and “Are you sponsored?” – Priceless dialogue, indeed.

2)      The Freedom Chair – The story of Josh Dueck, former freestyle coach who became a paraplegic after demonstrating an aerial manoeuvre to his kids, is long on inspiration, and not in a corny, Disney kind of way. It’s clear from this succinct video that Dueck struggles, every day, but he’s ‘still a skier.’ Later in the year, Dueck would blow everyone’s minds by doing the first back flip on a sit-ski which went super-viral in the weeks’ afterward.

3)      Fernie’s Big Days – The snows are melting and the East Kootenay is currently on flood watch, a poignant reminder of just how ‘big’ the 2012 ski season was. On two separate occasions, Fernie Alpine Resort reported over a metre of snowfall in twenty four hours, which resulted in some of the most epic powder skiing in memory (and… it didn’t turn to rain!) On February 26, local skier Dylan Siggers got the GoPro lens nice and snow covered with this Niseko-like footage.

4)      Embedded and Waiting for Winter – The ski and snowboard season started out in fine fashion with the Embedded video project, a collaboration between Mike Douglas’s Switchback Entertainment, Origin Design, and Whistler/Blackcomb. Ensconced in the patrol shack (they didn’t even let him down for his birthday), Douglas waits for winter to come and it does, with a vengeance.

5)      All.I.Can. and JP Auclair – It says quite a lot about how consumers are viewing videos when a six minute segment gets far more play than an entire movie. Sherpas Cinema’s All.I.Can. – the award-winning documentary on skiing and global warming – featured a mind-blowing urban jib segment filmed on the gritty streets of Trail, BC. Even non-skiers got a huge kick out of this one.

6)      The Year of Robin O’Neill  – The Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge is one of Whistler’s most highly anticipated events – where five photographers are given 72 hours to come up with dramatic footage set to a groovy soundtrack. (No Sigur Ros or Magnetic Zeros songs, either). For the first time a female photographer walked off with first place. Robin O’Neill won under challenging circumstances – there was no new snow – at all – during the three days. So maybe her title of ‘Queen of Storms’ is a bit of a misnomer. View O’Neill’s award winning entry, here, along with her fabulous Breaking Trail documentary on the first Spearhead Range traverse.

7)      POWDER Magazine’s 40th Anniversary Issue – The cover features a Neil Leifer photo from LIFE magazine that featured a story on hot dog skiing, which is what freestyle was originally called. Powder, known as ‘the Skier’s Magazine’ has always been at the forefront in searching for the ‘pure’ ski experience, and although it’s come to depend on pro skiers and film crews to fill its many pages of eye candy, this commemorative trip down memory lane takes you back to a simpler time when skiing in jeans wasn’t necessarily an ironic fashion statement.

Have a great off-season! Just a reminder – and a plug for Whistler-based Extremely Canadian – that there’s fabulous summer skiing in Las Lenas, Argentina!



The World Comes to Whistler (Again), Which Resorts Are Open (and Closed), Deals, Deals, and Going MOD with Recon

April 12, 2012

“It Begins…” Canada’s Biggest Ski and Snowboard Festival At Whistler: Photo Credit: Mike Crane/WSSF

Hey, if I wasn’t laid up with post-op knee surgery, you can bet I’d be couch surfing up in Whistler and attending the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival. From its humble beginnings as the World Technical Skiing Championship to a year-end party that is totally huge in its scope and creativity, the TWSSF brings together the international ski and snowboard tribes to shred, talk story, show videos and images, and generally spread the stoke. And of course with a snow base that’s measure in hundreds of centimetres, (I gave up counting in mid March), the skiing and riding will be truly awesome.

In no particular order, here are my top picks:

Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown – Wednesday, April 18, Whistler Convention Centre. What, it’s SOLD OUT already? Maybe they should move this event to Rogers Arena to accommodate everyone who wants to see it. Good luck to elder snowboard statesman shooter Scott Serfas, who is an entrant this year.

The Mountain Culture Variety Show – Sunday, April 15,Whistler Conference center

This could really be the sleeper event of the year, given the outstanding artistic talent on top. Coast Mountain Culture Magazine, and The Spearhead Huts Committee present the first annual Mountain Culture Variety show which promises to be one that will leave audience members’ palms sweaty and hearts pounding.

To evoke the mountain madness, the show will use the state-of-the-art audio-visual setup from the Pro Photographer’s Showdown and will feature presentations from local mountain enthusiasts Jordan Manley, Sherpas Cinemas, Robin O’Neil, Johnny “Foon” Chilton, Chris Christie, Les Anthony, and Sterling Lorence. Emcee is some guy named Scott, who is pretty funny. To learn more about the Spearhead Huts Foundation, go to:

Tickets are $20 and will be available at Whistler’s Escape Route and online here. The show starts at 9:00pm and will run until 11:00pm. Doors will open at 8:00pm.

World Skiing Invitational – April 19 – 22

You can bet there will be plenty of Red Bull helmets when the world’s top freeride skiers converge for this star-studded season ending event in slopestyle, big air, and superpipe. The guest list reads like a Who’s Who of the DEW Tour of X-Games and includes Bobby Brown, Gus Kenworthy, Joss Christensen, Jossi Wells, Kaya Turski, Russ Henshaw, Tom Wallisch and Torin Yater-Wallace. This is the biggest freeskiing event to be held in Whistler since Jon Olsson competed back in 2009.

Who’s Open, Who’s Not?

Easter fell a wee bit early this year, but the copious snowfall through March has pushed closing dates ahead at several resorts.

Closing This Weekend: Mount Seymour, Big White, Silver Star, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Still Going Strong: Grouse Mountain (April 29), Cypress Mountain, Mount Washington (April 22), Mount Baker (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays – through April 29), Whistler (April 29), Blackcomb (May 28) – note that both Whistler and Blackcomb are now open a half hour later, until 4:00 p.m. daily)

Done for the Season: Red Mountain, Whitewater, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Hemlock Valley Resort, Manning Park Resort, Apex Resort, Sun Peaks Resort, Kimberley Resort.

Deals of the Week:

Cypress Mountain, this is the final week of the Spring 2012/13 Season Pass Sale – Take advantage of teh lowest pricing of the year for next year’s passes – new passholders cross country ski free for the remainder of this season!  Sale ends April 15th.

Grouse Y2Play 2012/13 Snowpass: Almost sold out! The best deal in town is back for a limited time. Enjoy skiing and riding up at The Peak of Vancouver for this winter and all of next for up to 80% off regular pass rates. Y2Play sells out every year. Senior and Tot Y2Play Passes are already sold out.  Don’t miss out!

Whistler/Blackcomb: Too many fantastic lift and accommodation packages to mention. Renew your EDGE card and ‘lock in’ 2012 pricing.

Gear of the Week: Test Drive Recon’s MOD Live at TWSSF

Don’t miss your chance to demo Vancouver-based Recon’s MOD Live goggle technology on the slopes of Whistler during the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival. MOD (stands for Micro Optics Displays) tracks virtually every aspect of your ski/snowboard experience: Speed, Jump Analytics, Altitude, Vertical Drop, Distance, Lap/Lap Times, Location, Satellite Tracking/Navigation and more. The MOD Live is even Android compatible.

Take the test drive and you’ll be entered into the MOUNTAIN FM contest to win a MOD Live and the unreleased SCOTT NAV-R-2 goggle before it’s even on the market. Demos will available at Whistler’s Roundhouse (look for the Recon flags) from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on April 14, 15, 21, 22. The contest winner will be announced 5pm, Saturday April 21st at the Mountain FM tent.

Recon staff will also take a photo of you showing off your top stat and post it on a Facebook album. You can tag your photo and show off your stats to all your friends. If you’re on Twitter, tweet about your test drive experience, brag about how fast you went, and start up a friendly competition with other test drivers using the hashtag #TestMODLive.

Say, What?

Following on the massive success of Sh*t Skiers Say – created by Voleurz’ Darren Raynor in January (1,000,000 hits and counting) is Jackson Hole based Lyndsey Dyer’s Sh*t Girl Skiers Say which dropped earlier this week. Dyer, one of the, uh, most photogenic skiers you’ll ever meet, with charging the Selkirk Mountains around Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Selkirk Tangiers Heli-Skiing.



Red Bull in the Baldface Shop, Final Kick to the Season, Save Big Dough at Cypress and Grouse, A Faster Way to Seymour’s Summit

April 4, 2012

Vancouver SUN Ski Guide Blogpost for April 4, 2012

Where to possibly begin with this week’s Vancouver SUN ski blog? After all, so many outrageous pictures and videos have been posted from skiing at areas all across western Canada. Here’s one with a bit of a reminder – just because a ski slope has tracks going down doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent safe. This pic was taken in the slackcountry near Lake Louise (a fantastic ski area where I skied for several years in the late 70s). Note that this avalanche slid right to the ground after dozens of skiers had gone over it. (So much for ‘ski compaction – note how tiny the skiers at the left of the picture are, for some perspective).

Though the Rocky Mountains generally have a sketchier, weakly layered snowpack, keep in mind that several CAA avalanche advisories have been posted this winter. Always go to to get the meta-forecast for the area that you want to ski, and watch those slackcountry zones (West Bowl, above, is only a short hike from the ski area, as is Taynton Bowl at Panorama, where two skiers went missing – and thankfully were found – last weekend).

Red Bull Super Natural on NBC Gives Great Exposure to BC’s Baldface Lodge

Baldface Lodge owner Jeff Pensiero must be grinning ear to ear after last Saturday’s two hour telecast of the Red Bull Supernatural snowboard event on NBC Sports (thanks, NBC, for timing it before the NCAA hoops semi final). The actual event went down in February, but this event had truly had Mother Nature on its side and some very creatively placed camera and Contour helmet cam angles. And the home made stunts were outrageous. Can’t find the full broadcast right now, but a Contour POV edit is online. BTW Red Bull, nice April Fool’s trick featuring finger boarder Mike Schneider on Sunday.

Kicking Horse Extends Season to April 15

Also up in the Rockies, March’s epic goodness has blanketed Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, which is staying open until April 15 – one week later than planned. On slope accommodation recommendation – the Copper Horse Lodge co-owned by my good pal Gord Vizutti. Don’t miss the Lushmasters Dinner, April 7th @ 6:30pm in Corks Restaurant, located right in the hotel. Five courses paired with 5 alcoholic beverages!

Generations at Whistler-Blackcomb

Whistler-Blackcomb has dropped so many deep pow shots and videos in the past month that they’ve created a special video room to watch ‘em all. This edit is from mid-March, with over 30 cms today (April 4), I’m sure there will be more. The Generations video from Switchback Entertainment features a sentimental look at one family and their history of skiing at Whistler.

Sarah Burke Public Memorial

A Special Memorial on Tuesday, April 10th in Whistler Village will be held to honour the life of Sarah Burke, the female slopestyle skier who tragically passed away back in January in Park City, UT. Her loss reverberated throughout the larger sports world—you can expect that there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

 Jumbo Pass Ski Resort – Two Views:

As was widely reported two weeks ago, the BC government has granted final approval for Oberto Oberti (I love that name) and Grant Costello to proceed with their long term vision for a four season, glacier skiing resort high in the Purcell Mountains near Jumbo Creek. As these two stories in Ski Canada and The Adventure Journal prove, opinion is split amongst skiers as to whether or not this is a good thing. No comment from me!

Multi-Million Dollar Investment at Mount Seymour!

OK, so I cut and pasted this, so you don’t need to go to the link! Mount Seymour is excited to announce the addition of the five million dollar state of the art Mystery Peak Express quad chairlift.  The new detachable high speed Doppelmayr lift from Austria will be installed over the summer months in time for the 2012-2013 season. The Mystery Peak Express promises to cut line-up times by more than half and will transport skiers and boarders to the top of the mountain in record time, taking just four minutes, compared to the currently-in-use lift, which takes nearly nine minutes.

Outrageous Spring Skiing Deals at Cypress, Grouse:

With a base of over 400 centimetres and sunshine in the forecast, it’s Cypress Beach time – one of the best North Shore deals going. Or… even better, purchase your new 2012/13 Gold or Silver Pass now and Ski or Ride Free for the rest of this season – sale ends April 15th! Hopefully, they’ll get that barbecue fired up at the top of the Lion’s Express; that’s a great place to hang out and feed the birds. Grouse Mountain’s super popular Y2Play pass is now 80 percent sold out.

 Winter Surf Adventure:

Yesterday was not only a fabulous day on the slopes at Big White ski area, the surf was up at Antlers Beach near Peachland, as well. Don’t believe us – check out the video!