Marc's Public Blog - Skiing / Snowboarding / Snow


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This is a collection of my blog entries about snowboarding.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for the more recent trips that I have recorded in blog entries:

Table of Content for snow:

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2017/03/21 Slightly Warm Storm at Kirkwood
π 2017-03-21 00:00 in Snow
I arrived a bit late on tuesday thanks to the Tesla supercharger being down. I had to drive around Folsom, and by then I was worried that Carson Spur would close, so I went around via South Lake Tahoe.
When I finally got to kirkwood, all the charging ports had ICE cars parked in front of them. Doh!


I Emailed vail about it, and thankfully they fixed that a day later:


The first day, I only got on the slopes just before 14:00, got a single ride on Cornice, and then it closed for lightening :( The snow was super wet and not run to ride though. Technically it was snowing, but it felt more like rain...



The next day, we had snow all day until 18:00, which fixed the crappy snow underneath. It was cold and very wet, but the snow was good. Back side opened by 13:30 adn was worth riding too. The wave didn't open though, which was great for the next day:

damn, that's a lot of snow in that drain under cornice
damn, that's a lot of snow in that drain under cornice


big rock skier's left of the wall, filled with snow
big rock skier's left of the wall, filled with snow

snow and snow and snow
snow and snow and snow

backside, here we come
backside, here we come

The 3rd day was finally the blue bird:




enough snow on the wall, you can get down anywhere
enough snow on the wall, you can get down anywhere




so many tracks, too many people :)
so many tracks, too many people :)

I went down eagle bowl, again, no one :)
I went down eagle bowl, again, no one :)



the wave opened early in the morning
the wave opened early in the morning

choose your way down :)
choose your way down :)


again, too many tracks :)
again, too many tracks :)

fawn ridge was beautiful
fawn ridge was beautiful

I lapped it 5 times and got fresh tracks each time
I lapped it 5 times and got fresh tracks each time

wee...
wee...

chute off the wall, snow had been blown off
chute off the wall, snow had been blown off

By 14:00, the snow was however starting to turn. Somewhat slushy in places, and funny thing was other places had powder that was icing up (palisades), so I counted my blessings for all that snow with no crowds and went home:


Carson Spur
Carson Spur

See more images for Slightly Warm Storm at Kirkwood
2017/03/06 Mountain Collective Tour: Telluride
π 2017-03-06 00:00 in Snow

After Silverton, it was time to go to Telluride. Telluride is about 10mn away as the crow flies, but more like 2H by road since you have to drive all the way around a bunch of peaks. While the snow the day or our travel didn't materialize much, or even the night before we went skiing, the day we did go skiing, it was there. That was along frigid temperatures (-20C wind chill). Even then, anything not north facing was pretty crappy under the fresh snow that wasn't deep enough, but by the end of day, we got enough new snow that things were pretty good. By mid afternoon, the sun came out, and it got warmer:



oops, I got stuck in a valley and had to walk out
oops, I got stuck in a valley and had to walk out


the lift run looks nice
the lift run looks nice

it's called the bad idea run because you get stuck without a slope at the bottom, so I went :)
it's called the bad idea run because you get stuck without a slope at the bottom, so I went :)





The next day was sunny and we went for the left over fresh snow:


sadly, lift 15 wasn't that good when it opened, not deep enough
sadly, lift 15 wasn't that good when it opened, not deep enough



a bunch of nice EX runs
a bunch of nice EX runs

great view on the aircraft carrier style Telluride airport, highest commercial airport in the continental US
great view on the aircraft carrier style Telluride airport, highest commercial airport in the continental US


another nice tree run that ends up on a path and a road :)
another nice tree run that ends up on a path and a road :)


nice view of telluride town
nice view of telluride town

2017/03/03 Mountain Collective Tour: Silverton
π 2017-03-03 00:00 in Snow

After Aspen, Arturo drove us to Silverton. My first time was absolutely awesome, 4 days of endless powder. My second time, I went with Arturo, but we got unlucky: temps were way too high and we got more ice than good snow :(.

This time was a bit in the middle, we had originally planned 3 days but were only able to do 2 and the snow was just good enough, when you picked the location carefully, the first day where we went guided skiing.

Subaru blocked the access road for a bit while they were shooting a commercial with a drone
Subaru blocked the access road for a bit while they were shooting a commercial with a drone

we went to the advanced group directly, the briefing was 'brief'
we went to the advanced group directly, the briefing was 'brief'

we didn't waste time climbing for 30mn from the lift for our first run
we didn't waste time climbing for 30mn from the lift for our first run

snow down looked good, but it wasn't that great the sun had already started baking it
snow down looked good, but it wasn't that great the sun had already started baking it

silverton guides keep things tidy to use the snow as long as possible
silverton guides keep things tidy to use the snow as long as possible

each run got us back down to a road where a bus or van would come pick us up
each run got us back down to a road where a bus or van would come pick us up

while we were hiking up, some lucky folks got heli rides
while we were hiking up, some lucky folks got heli rides

The 2nd day, we were signed up for an all day heli tour. We ended up leaving late due to the avalanche danger being high, as well as very strong winds in the morning, making heli flying a bit more interesting. The first ride was damaged powder, but the last 5 runs we went to the next mountain across where the snow was still pristine and the north facing or tree protected snow was still in good shape:

your ride has arrived
your ride has arrived






our guide had a nice board, the church of snowboarding :)
our guide had a nice board, the church of snowboarding :)

the snow that day were really wanting to slide
the snow that day were really wanting to slide






The last 5 runs were pretty good considering, not awesome alpine from top to bottom due to the conditions, but still good and fun.

On the way back, I got a few shots of Silverton


2017/02/28 Mountain Collective Tour: Aspen-Snowmass
π 2017-02-28 00:00 in Snow
After Canada, I joined Arturo on his US snow tour. He started in Salt Lake City, where I unfortuantely missed a very good day in Snowbird, and anotehr one in Canyons. He then met me at Snowmass where I managed to fly in just before a good storm hit, and planes started getting diverted or cancelled.


The first day, we went to Snowmass from our ski-in, ski-out hotel, and enjoyed a good 9" of fresh powder, and then more snow as the day went by. In the morning, we could feel the bottom crust a bit, but by the end of day, not at all:

hello, my name is Arturo, and my snowboard is that long
hello, my name is Arturo, and my snowboard is that long

we took the tow rope to the top as soon as we could and had a good ride up the cirque
we took the tow rope to the top as soon as we could and had a good ride up the cirque

more snow falling, sweet
more snow falling, sweet

did I saw more snow?
did I saw more snow?

I'm stuck, come help me, I'm right here!
I'm stuck, come help me, I'm right here!

OMG, too much powder, this is dangerous, I might fall!
OMG, too much powder, this is dangerous, I might fall!

look at my fancy new mittens, aren't they pretty?
look at my fancy new mittens, aren't they pretty?


Here's a good end of day run at Snowmass during the snow storm:


Overnight, we had another foot or so that fell, which was great news for our trip to Aspen Highlands:




in line for the snowcat
in line for the snowcat


got a nice little lift up the ridge
got a nice little lift up the ridge

and then you walk more to get to the bowl
and then you walk more to get to the bowl

nice bowl, though
nice bowl, though



I've been pushing Arturo to learn poles, he was a quick learner :)
I've been pushing Arturo to learn poles, he was a quick learner :)


Here is a good run down the highlands bowl, good powder:

The 3rd day, we went back to Snowmass, blue bird with a bit of powder left in some places:




took the tow rope back to the top and we went to the very other extreme
took the tow rope back to the top and we went to the very other extreme







then a hike up to the side country south of the resort. Great at the top, pretty bad at the bottom
then a hike up to the side country south of the resort. Great at the top, pretty bad at the bottom

good views
good views


Aspen airport
Aspen airport

pretty good powder down, until we got to the rope boundary
pretty good powder down, until we got to the rope boundary

I took an early entrance in dikes from high alpine
I took an early entrance in dikes from high alpine

good snow, except for the rock hidden underneath and the one that shattered my phone when I fell on it
good snow, except for the rock hidden underneath and the one that shattered my phone when I fell on it


2017/02/28 Colorado Mountain Collective Tour: Aspen, Silverton, and Telluride
π 2017-02-28 00:00 in Snow

Like last year, I went to join Arturo on his Mountain Collective tour. I flew to Aspen to join him there, and we had 3 good days at Aspen Highlands Snowmass 101*|thankfully my plane arrived in Aspen just hours before the storm got in and the airport got shut down 102*|quite frankly, visibility was marginally, we didn't get it by much 106*|snowmass village

Our second day after Highlands, we went back to Aspen to see art museums and galleries:









nice police car
nice police car



go to Aspen, get high :)
go to Aspen, get high :)







Arturo and I went back to the nice but overpriced french restaurant
Arturo and I went back to the nice but overpriced french restaurant

After Aspen, we drove to Silverton, nice drive and scenery:






giving that Arturo was there, we had a required stop at Orvis Hot Springs :)
giving that Arturo was there, we had a required stop at Orvis Hot Springs :)

and after driving the million dollar highway at night, we arrived in Silverton
and after driving the million dollar highway at night, we arrived in Silverton

Silverton is really just alive during the winter thanks to the ski resort (it gets more traffic during the summer thanks to the tourist steam trains that go to it):








the train tracks are under the snow somewhere :)
the train tracks are under the snow somewhere :)

this train isn't going anywhere until spring.
this train isn't going anywhere until spring.

Once done with Silverton, we drove to the nearby Telluride, which is just on the other side of the mountain range, but an 1h45 drive around to get to it via road. Gave us the chance to see the million dollar highway during daytime:


sadly Arturo did not let me drive :)
sadly Arturo did not let me drive :)







Ouray
Ouray

Ouray has ice climbing but it was not open for business when we came
Ouray has ice climbing but it was not open for business when we came

Eventually we got to Telluride, where we were lucky to get snow on one of our days

we went to visit its airport with the highest commercial runway in the continental US
we went to visit its airport with the highest commercial runway in the continental US








And after some good snow in Telluride, it was time for flying home, got a few nice shots (click on them for location):






2017/02/20 Mountain Collective Tour: Banff's Sunshine Valley, Canada
π 2017-02-20 00:00 in Snow
After Banff's Lake Louise Resort, we finished our tour with Sunshine Valley, another resort 45mn away but affiliated with Lake Louise.


Sunshine Valley is a bit more towards Calgary and definitely an interesting set of 3 mountains which start with a long ass gondola ride (20mn or so) to get to the real snow village where most of the lifts are. The day we went was family day, so driving in took a while with a long line to the parking lot, but at least we got a spot in said parking lot, not everyone did. Thankfully the lines at the lift were not that long (<5mn in singles line), despite the crowds.


many many cars
many many cars

after a long gondola ride, finally arrived to the real base
after a long gondola ride, finally arrived to the real base

got 4 inches of powder in the last 24H, not bad
got 4 inches of powder in the last 24H, not bad

backcountry gate that required an avalanche beacon
backcountry gate that required an avalanche beacon






It was all nice and good until we went side country, I hiked up a short minute to get over a rocky ridge to a snow path where others had been. And honestly it's hard to know after the fact since I couldn't see all the way down when I went, but I believe the edge I was on collapsed when I was trying to get down the cornice, which caused me to fall and land on my back, going down head first without being able to stop.
I remember catching air twice, feeling some rocks, and eventually I landed after the 2nd jump on my back where I took off over some rocks and landed in soft enough snow. My backpack made a hole in the snow and stopped me there. Thankfully outside of being a bit frazzled, I was 100% fine. The only damage was my GPS watch that got shattered against a rock. From what I can tell this is the track I did while sliding head first on my back:


Since in the end, I was perfectly fine, I finished the day with Arturo and counted my blessings...
Sunshine Village is definitely an interesting resort, worth going back to (and they have wifi at the top of lifts as well as pokestops, woot!)

I did better the rest of the day :)


2017/02/19 Mountain Collective Tour: Banff's Lake Louise Resort, Canada
π 2017-02-19 00:00 in Snow
After Revelstoke, we went to Lake Louise in Banff. Nice resort. Just big enough, a nice backside and runs facing away from the sun, which turned out to be good given the high temperatures for february.



nice lodge
nice lodge


oh, they did have that wretched poma lift that flattens your private parts and makes you wait in pain until you get can off at the top
oh, they did have that wretched poma lift that flattens your private parts and makes you wait in pain until you get can off at the top



they also had a bra tree
they also had a bra tree

sadly, a few lines at the bottom of the back valley
sadly, a few lines at the bottom of the back valley

very cool snow covered boulder field on the edge of the resort
very cool snow covered boulder field on the edge of the resort


front side had a good sledding operation
front side had a good sledding operation



2017/02/17 Mountain Collective Tour: Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada
π 2017-02-17 00:00 in Snow
While the snow we got driving up there from the airport was promising. The road was closed for almost 30mn by the time we were there for avalanche control, which is supposed to be good (new snow), but sadly because people voted for Trump, we got some global warming, and the snow levels were way too high.


Revelstoke is far from everything, and has the grand total of 2, yes, count them right, I said 2 lifts. And because they live in luxury, they are at least quad high speed detachable. You then add a gondola to get up from the river they also called a base and parking lot, to the bottom of the lift, and that's it (ok, technically the gondola is 2 gondolas since they connect instead of being a single gondola that goes all the way up, and there is a magic carpet somewhere). Now, terrain wise there is actually a lot of terrain if you don't have global warming, but a lot less when you're stuck on the top 3rd of the moountain, or only the north facing top 3rd of the mountain,. At that point, if there are even a few people, the sole 2 lifts get long lines, and they did...

The first morning, we were at the resort at opening time, and 2/3rds for the mountain were iced up in a bad way, while the top was ok-ish but anything south facing was still questionable:

low fog in the morning, it probably impacted helicopter operations
low fog in the morning, it probably impacted helicopter operations




it's called the lemmings line, a hike to the north bowl
it's called the lemmings line, a hike to the north bowl

north bowl was actually good for 2 runs, but the bottom was very painful :(
north bowl was actually good for 2 runs, but the bottom was very painful :(


the sun came out in the afternoon and melted all the frozen snow
the sun came out in the afternoon and melted all the frozen snow

downtown Revelstoke
downtown Revelstoke


so we did the other hike straight up
so we did the other hike straight up


a bit of tree on that ice?
a bit of tree on that ice?




For our last run of the day, I actually chanced the south facing run, which had melted just enough to be reasonable. No one had gone there, fresh snow, but not very deep:





The next morning, we went for a bit of morning skiing, not expecting much, and we didn't get much. Solid ice for the bottom 2/3rd, with no sun coming out. We hiked to the north side, got an ok enough run, then a few groomers, and called it an early day given that the conditions were only going to worsen:




Here are more pictures of the city of Revelstoke here

2017/02/08 Awesome Powder at Kiroro Snow World
π 2017-02-08 00:00 in Snow

For our last and 5th day in Niseko, we went to Kiroro Snow World, both because of the forecast of more than 20m of freshies, but also because we were going to the Otaru festival of lights that evening.
Kiroro is a bit far away (90mn by car), but it's a very nice resort with lots of off piste options. They have an interesting systme where you register in the morning with them and tell them which gates you are planning on taking and give them your contact info. You are then given a badge that allows you to leave the resort through side gates, and if you don't check in back by end of day, they know to go look for you (rescue will be at your expense of course).

they even have a nice map
they even have a nice map

as usual, the pricing was quite reasonable, less than $50 for a day without night skiing
as usual, the pricing was quite reasonable, less than $50 for a day without night skiing


ski patrol was by the gates to make sure you had filed for a permit to leave the resort, which we did
ski patrol was by the gates to make sure you had filed for a permit to leave the resort, which we did

snow didn't suck. Not super deep, but the lightest powder I had ever ridden in
snow didn't suck. Not super deep, but the lightest powder I had ever ridden in


Kiroro has 2 bigs peaks, after doing the gate on the left peak, we went for the right one. From there, we walked a fair amount in the snow away from the gate, until we kind of found a way to go down that wasn't very steep at the beginning, until we got to the edge, and fantastic snow there. We had a huge bowl filled with fantastic dry powder, until we got to a traverse path in unimproved terrain with big holes/rivers to avoid. But, it was worth it :)

walk up
walk up

poor regis working hard with his ski boots
poor regis working hard with his ski boots

finally down to an open slope, all you can eat pow
finally down to an open slope, all you can eat pow

The rest of the day, I rode the powder between the lift and trees on that side:



Needless to say that I really liked Kiroro.

Two nice powder runs (4K if you get them full screen)

2017/02/07 A Windy Day at Rusutsu
π 2017-02-07 00:00 in Snow

Our 4th day in Niseko was very windy, and it was a perfect ay to go to the nearby Rusutsu which was more sheltered and ran its top lifts all day while other nearby resorts had to close them (Niseko being very segmented that day).
Rusutsu is not a huge resort, but had plenty of off piste terrain, and interestingly had a few slopes across the street although we didn't have time to go reach them (they seemed there only to cater to people from the hotel, while serious skiiers like us were across the street in the higher peaks).
It wasn't deep powder that way, but still plenty of good snow:





such a 'high' peak, 994 meters :)
such a 'high' peak, 994 meters :)

warning, 'less' snow... There was plenty for us...
warning, 'less' snow... There was plenty for us...

warning 33% degree slope. OMG, so steep ;-)
warning 33% degree slope. OMG, so steep ;-)


slopes across the street, where we didn't go
slopes across the street, where we didn't go

See more images for A Windy Day at Rusutsu

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