After months of bloglessness it’s time to start posting again, as I’m back doing something worth writing about ski-wise. (I haven’t been idle since my last post by the way: I have got married, left my job and been settling into a new house/district 300 miles from my old home.)
Right now my ski-eenite husband, PJ, and I are on a fortnight’s road-trip in Canada, with a few days’ heliskiing along the way. Heliskiing! It’s on lots of people’s wish-lists and we are lucky enough to be about to do it, as a kind of winter honeymoon.
I’ll tell you more about the heli part later. For now, more about our warm-up, following the “powder highway” of British Columbia.
Not as powdery as sometimes (we have heard there’s more mountain biking than skiing at Whistler at the moment; luckily we are further inland, where there’s good cover), but first impressions were good: we disembarked at Calgary (Air Transat from Gatwick, 399 GBP each, including ski carriage, booked a fortnight in advance) into a blizzard.
We picked Kicking Horse (three hours’ drive from Calgary in easy conditions) as our first stop, cruising there in a rental car (4WD, about 500 GBP for two weeks) with two sunroofs.
KH has a reputation for nice, steep terrain and quiet slopes, many ungroomed. There’s a telecabin, rather than chilly chairlifts: a bonus when Jan/Feb temperatures are typically in the minus-teens.
At the small base station – a handful of lodges, apartments, shops and restaurants – we checked into Vagabond Lodge, recommended in guidebooks and through word of mouth.
It turned out to be a winner. [Here, added later in February, is my review for the Telegraph.]
Ken and Lori Chilibeck, our hosts at Vagabond, arranged for us to take a mountain tour with Don, a seasoned local. He took us to his favourite spots and we all enjoyed making the most of the great conditions – 10cm of fresh snow on a decent base.
We explored more by ourselves on day two, dropping off the ridge into Feuz bowl (pronounced “fuse” by the Canadians), where the snow was in excellent shape after a rocky entry, and taking the “goat track” into Superbowl.
By day three we’d recovered from the time change and our legs were getting used to the “foreign” snow (lighter, colder, lots of moguls).
At lunch, back at the lodge, Ken asked if we’d like to join him on a hike up a peak known as T2.
It’s within the ski area boundary, but the half-hour climb means it’s even quieter than the super-quiet other slopes.
What a privilege!
The scenery was spectacular, the climb challenging enough (for me, a heights-o-phobe), the ski back down fantastic.
But pictures say so much more than words, so below is a link to the film Ken made of our adventure…
Can you tell that Ken was a star sports reporter in a previous life? I hope heliskiing will be as much fun as our afternoon on T2.
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