Archive for the ‘Skiing’ Category

Grouse goes off as spring comes in like a “Lion”

March 10, 2009

“Wacky weather” doesn’t begin to define what happened in North Vancouver on Sunday. Around 4:30, I drove downtown for coffee with Vancouver Sun reporter Doug Ward. It was cloudy with some sunny breaks, but there were snowflakes swirling around; quite lovely, really. We chatted for awhile at Delaney’s, and as I left it started to snow fairly hard right in town. Driving back across the Lion’s Gate Bridge, I saw cars coming from the North Shore with a good fifteen centimetres of snow on ’em. Climbing north on Cap Road, the North Shore was an incredible winter wonderland. In the space of less than an hour, almost ten centimetres of ‘blower pow’ had fallen! Guys skiing at Grouse Mountain on Sunday night claimed epic conditions, and of course Super Dave Norona posted video on youtube as well.

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BCNordic.com hosts great new photo contest

March 10, 2009
Hey, Nordic skiers! Get the picture, then post on-line at www.bcnordic.com and win fantastic prizes!

BC Nordic launches photo contest with fantastic holiday prizes to Whistler and Kimberley, Nordic racing camp at Silver Star, and spa/ski retreat at The Hills Health Ranch.

“Don’t forget your camera!” next time you go backcountry skiing, cross country skiing, dogsledding or snowshoeing this winter! You could win one of many fabulous prizes in the “Go Nordic in BC” photo contest, running from now until March 22, 2009! All photos taken from the 2008/2009 at BC Nordic members are eligibile.

Grand Prize – courtesy Tourism Whistler, is two nights lodging in world famous Whistler Resort, trail passes to Lost Lake, Whistler Olympic Park and the adjoining Callaghan Country trails, and a “night to remember” at the Callaghan Country Lodge located deep in the Coast Range Wilderness! All contestants will be entered to win this prize, valued at $1200!

There are three photo categories, and each one offers a great prize.

Family fun: Nordic skiing and snowshoeing literally define winter family fun. Capture kids in action on the trail and win a memorable weekend getaway for two at the InnWest Kirkwood Inn in the Bavarian town of Kimberley, BC. You’ll be skiing literally from the back door, and enjoy an added special treat, dinner in Spirit Lodge’s hand crafted igloo! (Value: $650)

Landscape scenic/Nordic trails: Indulge your artistic side! Celebrate the beauty and grace of Nordic skiing by taking trailside scenic shots at one of BC Nordic’s member facilities. The winner will enjoy a weekend for two at The Hills Health Ranch in the heart of BC’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. (Value: $680)

Competition: With the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games almost a year away, we want to see your very best action photos from local loppets and other competitions around the province. The prize here is a beauty, too — 5 days of top notch Nordic instruction from xccamps.ca, held at Silver Star Mountain Resort each November and December (accommodation is extra). Includes 2.5 hours of instruction daily, video analysis, trail passes, fitness center pass (gym, sauna, showers, change rooms) one yoga session, one stretching session and two massage treatments! (Value: $690)

So slap on the skis, stop for lots of pictures, and get uploading! Check the website frequently for the chance to win weekly prices from Icebreaker, Mount Washington, Halti, Deep Cove Outdoors and SkiTrax magazine.

Photos must be taken during the current 2008/2009 season at one of the participating Nordic trail networks or resorts participating in www.bcnordic.com, where you can also find complete contest details.

Tamarack Resort Shocker

March 4, 2009

You have to go way back to 1974, according to a story in the Associated Press, to find a time when a ski resort close to the size of Tamarack in central Idaho suspended operation during a ski season. Depending upon how long the economic freeze in resort property lasts, Tamarack may become one of the first dinosaurs to go extinct, a victim of the collapsed second home real estate market as well as – to some degree – a bit of hubris. Similar to Deer Valley near Park City and Beaver Creek at Vail, Tamarack was always going to be a playground for the well-to-do, complete with Robert Trent Jones Jr golf course and a luxurious marina on Lake Cascade. Indeed, even the resort’s website has gone dark which is actually kind of chilling to see. Tamarack could only ever succeed in true boom times with unlimited growth in the skier market; that fantasy, and of course the fantasy of endlessly upward real estate values for prime recreational property, has cratered to earth now that no one is buying into the Tamarack dream. It would be interesting to hear what the locals think. Nearby McCall, ID, is a bucolic college town already had a decent ski resort in Brundage Mountain. Friends of mine say that local residents were always skeptical of Tamarack’s chances, unfortunately there are likely millions owed to local tradesmen and contractors who worked on the resort’s relatively significant infrastructure and properties. There are some hopes that Tamarack will rise, but it would take one huge economic reversal to make that happen. Alas, I’m not so sure we’ve heard the end of these stories; maybe even in Canada. Folks in Red Mountain, Revelstoke, Golden and Mount Baldy (Osoyoos/Oliver) should definitely take note.

What are the top Nordic trails in BC?

February 28, 2009

The BC Noridic Marketing Society has just released a list of its top trails in the province.

With assistance from local experts, here are nine of BC’s top Nordic trails. Lace up the boots and head for the hills!

South Cariboo Tourism – 99 Mile and 108 Mile Ski Trails

Suggested trail: Marathon trail.

Site of the world renowned Cariboo Marathon, the Marathon loop can be done as either a 20 km or 11 km loop. Both trails are less technical and ideal for ‘shufflers,’ says Ray Ostby of the 100 Mile Nordics ski club.

There are plenty of hotels, lodges and bed and breakfast operators in the South Cariboo Tourism Region, including the famous Hills Health Ranch, where you can partake in a selection of 40 or more spa treatments.an and extensive selection of daily fitness classes ranging from yoga, to pilates, aquafit, stretch classes and more.

Tourism GoldenDawn Mountain Nordic Centre

Suggested trail: Raven

Raven is a solid intermediate trail which is flowing and varied, and crests three ridges to offer stunning views of the Rockies, Purcells and the Columbia River Wetlands. . Part of the trail follows an old rail bed and the rest is a fun, fast loop. Watch for animal tracks in the forest.

Sun Peaks Resort

Suggested trail: Viewpoint Loop

Climb aboard Sun Peaks Resort’s Morrisey Express for access to the start of the groomed and track set Holy Cow trail. Don’t miss the short Viewpoint Loop with its spectacular views of Tod Mountain before winding your way around Mt. Morrisey. Follow the Otter Loop to the McGillivray Lake cabin, a rustic place to pull over, warm up and rest for your trip back to the award-winning Sun Peaks village.

Silver Star Mountain Resort

Suggested trail: Corkscrew

Breathtaking views of the Monashee Mountains and on-trail encounters with the resident grouse are what you’ll find on the aptly-named Corkscrew trail at Silver Star Mountain Resort. SSMR Nordic director Glenn Bond advises, “this trail is rated black with some exciting descents to test your snowplow skills.” This bright, open trail is well-exposed to the famed Okanagan sun.

Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Suggested trail: Lake Trail

Start from Mount Washington’s Raven Lodge and ski into Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest park. The undulating Lake Trail passes by picturesque Battleship and Helen Mackenzie through thick stands of old-growth mountain hemlock and yellow cedar. Your rewards? Expansive views of the Comox Valley and out to the Strait of Georgia..

Cypress Mountain on Vancouver’s North Shore

Suggested Trail: Triangle Lake/Unknown Lake Loop

For an invigorating workout that accesses the most reliable snow conditions at Cypress Mountain, try a circle loop on the upper trails. From the Upper Warming Hut, head west on the Pacific trail and turn left at the Triangle Lake Loop. After completing that loop, head east around the Unknown Lake trail and come out on the main Powerline trail. From there, it’s a fast descent back to where you started at the Hut.

Whistler Olympic Park

Suggested trail: Around the World/Top of the World

Host site for the 2010 Winter Games Nordic events, Whistler Olympic Park’s many trails have won rave reviews from international stars and weekend warriors alike. Around the World is a 2 km loop nestled at the south end and that features rolling hills with easy downhills. Detour off to the Top of the World trail which, as its name suggests, offers a stunning 360-degree view of the Callaghan Valley and “the Black Tusk” in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

WOP is also the starting point for the two-hour ski into Callaghan Country; a fabulous mountain retreat nestled into the heart of the Coast Range mountains that boasts its own Nordic trail system.

Whistler Village – Lost Lake Trails

Suggested trail: Lower Panorama/Helen’s Corner

Popular with Whistler valley locals, Lower Panorama is a 2km intermediate trail that takes you through a fragrant fir and red cedar forest. Crave more challenge? Take the Helen’s Corners cut-off and head up Poler’s Road (2.4km), otherwise known as Cardiac Hill. The steep climb up is rewarded with a thrilling and winding descent. Not to be missed!

Tourism KamloopsStake Lake Trail System

Suggested Trail: Lookout

Located high up on the Interior Plateau, Stake Lake Nordic Center south of Kamloops offers 50 kilometres of trails including Lookout, which features outstanding views of beautiful Lac Le Jeune and the Coast Mountains in the distance. Eventually you will be back at the wood heated day lodge feeling satisfied and flushed from the effort.

Tourism KimberleyKimberley Nordic Centre

Suggested trail: K-1 and K-2
This one’s a bit of a workout. Start at Iker’s Landing trailhead then climb steadily up K-1 and enjoy the views. After 100m on the flats, rhythmically herringbone a steep pitch. Cresting a short steep hill and rounding the corner, you’re rewarded with a gorgeous vista as you climb higher to the top. Round the corner onto K-2 for a short descent and another herringbone pitch. Cruise for another hundred metres or so and there you are a stupendous viewpoint that you simply must stop for. The town of Kimberley laid out below and mountain views in all directions including Fisher Peak, Teepee Mountain and the Steeples and the St. Mary River valley and the Purcells to the southwest.

Now for the downhill ride — steep corner to get you going, double pole for awhile then a fast 180 degree corner and more descent. Round the nose of the hill, swing hips into the next corner and try to stay in the tracks. A few more rolls and then you are diagonal striding up Centennial Hill, over the top and down to La Mesa. Tuck the last hill and you are back at the cabin.

Nipika Mountain Resort

Suggested trail: Cross River Natural Bridge trail

Lyle Wilson is a renowned Nordic racer, coach and since 2005, lodge owner in Radium, BC. He says the trails at his Nipika Mountain Resort are the most scenic anywhere in the province, due primarily to Nipika’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains in Kootenay National Park. The best way to enjoy both a workout and world-class scenery is to follow both sides of the Kootenay River on the Cross River Natural Bridge trail. Look down on the churning waters of the Kootenay River canyon, while on the lookout for wolves, coyotes, cougar, deer, and elk.

Inside Skiing – Up & Running

February 18, 2009

Welcome to Inside Skiing, my new wordpress blog on all aspects of winter sports in western North America. My name is Steve Threndyle and I’m a longtime contributor to literally every North American skiing magazine including Ski Canada, SKIER (Canada), Ski Press, SKI, Powder, SKIING, Backcountry, and Ski Trax – where I write a monthly ‘backcountry’ column’.

I’m relatively new to the social networking game but my purpose here is to post stories and even photos that will be of interest to all downhill and backcountry skiers in the months to come. There is lots to write about, especially with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games around the corner.

My experience in the ski industry is varied and covers PR stints at Big White and Silver Star, as well as being gear editor and on-slope test writer for Ski Canada magazine.

Like, say, a fitness program, my idea is to post three times each week and for each post to be around 300 words max; referencing a major story or website if at all possible. I also want to post comments and topics on other go-to websites such as the chatrooms at Teton Gravity, Lou’s Wild Snow, and New Schoolers.

Then again, I could just go skiing, eh?

If you are wondering about the photo, no, I have never won the World Cup. That is, however, the ‘real’ World Cup awarded to Austrian Karl Schranz in 1972 I believe. I was doing a factory tour of Kneissl skis several years ago for SKI CANADA magazine and the president of the company had the globe in his office, and I had my picture taken with it.

world-cup