Thursday, March 17, 2011
After getting back from Revy and having 2 weeks of frigid temperatures, spring time conditions have finally rolled in! Basically this means epic throw down sessions, competitions and big spring storms. The next 2 and a half months all be busy trying to squeeze every day out the remainder of the season, so look forward to frequent blogs updates and lots of media.
In this picture is me during an epic throw down session, with a muted out cork 7!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Day 3 started out with Big D and John heading out to get a part for the downed sled. The night before, while attaching a new coolant line, the plastic nipple it slides onto broke off and they needed a new one. They were soon back with bad news. The shop didn't have the part so the trip was cut down to two sleds. We then decided to make 2 trips. Mike and I would bring the first group and some gear up to the alpine so they could build a jump while we turned and burned to get Jon and Big D.
The first trip started out alright and we were making good time. This shortly changed probably due to it being warm out, I had forgotten to put an additive in my coolant to make it run cooler and our much increased speed up the mountain. I started having some over heating issues about 1/3 of the way up and to make matters worse I had accidentally twisted off my coolant cap and dropped all my fluid. I had already lost a bunch out the over flow and this meant Mike had to shoot back down and get me some more coolant. Once he got back it was all gravy, we got the guys up to the alpine, scoped some areas for jumps and took a few minutes to do some powder runs on the sleds.
Mike and I cut through the trees on the way back down. This not only cut time but got us face shots half way back down the mountain! Once down, we turned around quick. Mike jumped on my sled with me leaving Big D and Jon on the 1000. It was a lot hotter (in winter terms) at the bottom and way less fresh snow on the trail, which left us having to routinely stop because of my sled over heating. As we got up higher Mike and I used our doubling skills to duck into powder and get fresh snow to the coolant system to keep my sled cool for the rest of the way. The whole turn around took about an hour and a half which wasn't bad for covering over 50km of trails to get down then back up.
Once back up, the jump was ready and it looked sick and looking good is important if it's not going to work the way you want it to. After several sled tow-ins, we just couldn't get enough speed to hit our target landing about 70 feet to the knuckle. Not so good for filming but because it was a step up with lots of pow it was fun to ride. We all started tossing flips right off the bat, then in keeping with the underlying theme of the trip the 1000 blew a relay which meant no lights. The sun started going down so we all took a couple more jumps but had to pack it in early. While packing up Mike decided it would be fun to put us under the gun so while towing up Kyle and Brent for "one last pow run" he got epically stuck, in a precarious position. Trees and a 10 foot cliff below him and an angled 6-8 foot wind lip drop directly in front of him. It took almost half and hour and four of us to dig him out to get the sled to a position safe to ride out.
On the way down, I let Brent jump on my sled and ripped down on skis. I scored sick sunset lines and pillows for most of the first 15km down before it flattened out and we relied on the sleds to tow us over the minor inclines and flat sections. By the time we got down it was dark, about 8 o'clock. In the parking lot the call was made, with the difficulties of getting all of us up the mountain on 2 sleds and no lights on one, it was time to drive back to Calgary. It was a fun road trip back, mostly eating "hot and readys" talking about the sick stuff that did go down and how and when we can get back there! The trip was cut 3 days short but it was still a good time! Hopefully we can get back soon!
In the picture above is me mid air after hitting our jump.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The morning came early but John, Mike, Brent, Kyle, Kyler, Big D and I woke up and answered the call to rip some seriously deep pow! We had breakfast, got our gear, and lunches packed.. First stop was trail passes then the sled pen. This is were Mike and John revealed their spiffy new ski racks, they had custom built for their sleds. Once we had our sleds warmed up we attached our skis and headed to the trail. I had my doubling cherry popped with my double partner Brent. John was doubling on his 900 and Mike's 1000 doubling and towing.
Our first issue occurred right away. Mike and I both stopped at the trail head only to realize John was still back at the sled pen. He must have been having some sled issues or something so Mike turned back solo to help. He put it "to the bar" and while trying to double over some whoops an explosion of skis came off the back of his sled. There was ski rack shrapnel everywhere! This was only mirrored by John's sled when he finally got up and moving. I guess that's is why retail for the things is $500. Fortunately we had rope and were able to secure the skis to the part of the racks that stayed on the sleds.
Once we were on trail I can't say I wasn't nervous. All year my sled has been giving me issues (the first year ever) and even though I worked out the kinks, I didn't really want to test out my repairs by doing 20km of trail while doubling. It's only a 700 and the problems were all cooling related, but with the help of some fresh snow on the trail we made it to "The Cabin" on top of boulder mountain.
This day was to be an exploring day, seeing what the mountain had to offer. After deciding to stay in the trees because off clouds, we mainly focused on what the locals call "Cabin Runs". Basically a 2 km shuttle from the cabin up the trail to about 500-600 vert feet above The Cabin. The terrain was sick with a choice of multiple cliff bands, a couple really nice steep chutes and even some super sick pillows. The snow, well the snow was epically deep, the deepest snow I have ridden in my life!
After dropping the guys off for the first run, I drove my sled back down to the pick up point, with John and Big D (Mike and John's dad). With my partner off the sled and being able to ride it properly again I ducked into the trees. The only thing I could see was my handle bars sticking out of the snow between face shots. I went back up for a couple more laps before realizing that the other sleds weren't back yet. Confused I got on the radio and found we had our first stuck (when the snow mobile is stuck in the snow) of the trip. It was the 1000 and man was it stuck. It was buried over the hood on the front end with the track also in deep. That particular machine isn't light, but nothing 3 guys and avy shovels couldn't fix.
Once we had all met at the bottom I did a little theft prevention to my sled and it was time to ski!. With Big D driving the 1000's he made two trips to bring 3 of us up at a time. We ended up getting 2 or 3 runs in before we broke for lunch a 1 oclockish. The runs were sick, full of huge drops and sick turns. 20 to 40 footers were being sent with ease. The powder was so deep, you never had to worry about dropping onto a tree stump or rock just under the surface, if there was anything it would just be a pillow!
With the sky turning blue we figured we could jet up to the alpine to eat lunch and scope some lines. After briefly stopping on the trail to make sure we had everyone, we noticed we were missing John. Once we got him on the radio he told us his sled was down. His exhaust had melted a hole in his coolant return (the same issue I had been having with mine). The fix was temporary, bubble gum and electrical tape to seal the line and lucky for him I had started carrying a liter of coolant in a bottle in my bag. This was pretty much an end to the ski day.
By the time we ate lunch it was late afternoon, so we let the other guys get a taste and try out our rides in the open powder field beside The Cabin. The guys were stoked, hitting jumps, scoring face shots and trying to carve. After about an hour, we headed back down, scoring pow and tree runs on the 18 km ski out. Jon's sled experienced one more "issue" with the handle of his pull start coming off. And on a funny note at the bottom of the ski out and wondering why I wasn't skiing to my normal level I looked down and realized I was wearing my park skis which look similar early in the morning to my pow skis except they're 14mm narrower under foot.
In the picture above is the crew getting ready to go up from our pick up zone.