..and I kicked back
09.03.2006 -5 °C
As the season draws to a close at Kicking Horse, I look back on a perilous 3 months full of fun packed adventure and hairy encounters (no bears or hill billy hicks were interfered with in the making of this adventure). That and a sadly lacking diary describing all in intricate detail - its just too much fun doing it than writing it up, my apologies office-bound peeps.
The mountain has been truly awesome throughout with some mind-blowing snow dumps followed by white-out 'use the force' hucking days (oxford dictionary entry for 2006, meaning to throw yourself off something without a hope in hell of landing it), and bluebird days.
I had my best ever week's riding last, one of those string of days where everything goes right for you and anything you try seems (and is) possible, where the ground beneath your feet is a cushioned mattress beneath you that moulds and shapes to your every whim, and where gravity ceases it's grip on you and liberates you to enjoy the skies. Mildy poetic I know, perhaps a little melancholic but I don't know how else to describe it without gushing somewhat.
To give an indication of what went on, here's an account from one day. Bear in mind that half of this stuff I haven't been able to do in my 14 years snowboarding so I am happier than the laughing policeman on prozac. Much to my distaste, the only word that does it justice is 'sick' (skater/snowboard speak for very very very good):
(to follow this the piste map may help)
Gaze across at the awe inspiring Terminator Ridge. This ridge and runs (Glory, Truth, Dare, & Consequence) hold their powder real well due to the 20 minute hike to the peak scaring off the not-so-dedicated tourists. Not on today's menu - no time to waste hiking and the like.
Drop CPR Ridge trees towards terminator, blasting through knee deep powder and comfortably spaced Fir Trees, halting above Pride Rock. Drop Pride Rock with a sweet Mute Grab and smooth landing.
Across to Double Header (hike past the Howitzer cannon hut), ollie FS180 over single pillar line and thru a tight gap in the trees to exit.
Flat line all of the way down Double Header. Normally this is an dicy icy mogul affair with sharpened logs and jagged rocks waiting to spear you or knock you over, but with the amount of snow it was conveniently converted into a collection of pillows and knee deep powder with many offerings to ollie, spin and butter all the way down. Across to Bugablue where The Natural Park Sculptor in the sky has been at work yet again, laying out 8 or so evenly spaced kickers with a nice steep and cushioned landing behind each, perfect for popping multiple linked airs. The routine was FS180, FS Half Cab, FS360 to BS 360 as I recall, and finally (I do have some modesty/honesty left in me) to a cracking face plant.
Gaze in wonder at the bluebird day and the beauty that is Crystal Bowl.
Drop Tunnel Vision off CPR ridge, ridden with balls and precision. Traverse to 15ft cliff drop (one of my favourites), landed cleanly and booted away down the remainder of the face.
LIFT (stairway to heaven)
FS 360 method grab off corner of the My Blue Heaven ridge, which has been sculpted into a wind-lip by the everlasting southerly wind. Not a perfect landing (almost over rated to 540) but soft powder deposited on the leeward slope makes it forgiving and comfortable. Traverse around bowl and cross cat track to cornice above the Tombstone. 5m run-in to a 6 ft cornice drop, front side 360 air with clean landing, land cleanly into soft powder. fast down bowl to clear a 4m cat-track gap jump with a nice Mute Grab into a speedy landing and ride out.
Hike up White Wall.
12ft cornice drop with nice landing into Certainty, ride gully in centre (videoed). traverse across to a 4-5ft drop off, smooth landing into a fast open powder bowl with smooth short radius powder turns.
Fun single-lane track across base of Feuz Bowl with many spoon-up kickers to pop nose grabs a plenty. Feuz Bowl kicker (our favourite spot for freestyle fun) - FS 540 with Indy grab (videoed) - yay yay yay!!
Couldn’t stop to talk to girly as about to pop a FS 360 off cat-track lip into top of Blaster with a clean landing much to the pleasure of the onlookers. multiple BS & FS 180s through Blaster, some tweaked with stalefish, indy & tailfish grabs.
CPR Ridge, cliff drop as above resulting in a core shot after landing neatly from 15ft on top of a previously invisible pointy rock - neat forward roll (like I meant it, ha ha) and ride out at warp speed. Pop off two pillows with FS 180 followed by half cab (switch FS 180) on the way to Stairway Lift.
White Wall II - 30ft Cliff drop with Mute grab.
Oh my god, this was huge - I sat there for a good 5 minutes contemplating my life, destiny and all the loved ones I'd ever known as you'll see in the video I'm putting together. A bit of advice, Oakley goggles tend to steam up when you pause to crap your pants and bathe in your own pre-jump sweat - my advice, keep moving, the drop ain't gonna get any smaller and nerves do weird things to your balance/coordination. That said I landed it and lived to tell the tale.
Down to our trusty Feuz Bowl kicker - FS 360 landed cleanly. Blast through underneath Pioneer chair dropping quadruple pillow line (large boulders of snow that you 'tap' on dropping a steep/cliff line). Into Bubbly/Grizzly Paw - fresh lines through powder trees, rock hops and logs slides.
Race down to the Day Lodge for a well deserved pitcher of Sleeman's Honey Beer to exchange stories with compadres of the day's ventures. I struggle to recall all that has happened, but it seems that my riding has done the talking for me and everyone knows it. It's not about the glory I assure you, the pleasure from riding and pulling out the stops is all selfish and purely me for me, but a bit of crowd appreciation never goes amiss ;o)
Phew, my heart rate has rocketed even writing this, nothing compared to how I felt on this special day tho, and I don't have to change my pants which is a winner. Still another 3 weeks ish of riding to go and Spring conditions are going to open up a lot of the stunning backcountry on offer (Rogers Pass, Canyon Creek, Chatter Creek, Gorman Lake etc) so I hope I can top this.
Watch this space.....