Monday, December 19, 2016

CSIA Ignition Day

 Today was CSIA Ignition Day at Red Mountain.

This is a day when CSIA Members get a day of training from CSIA Course Conductors (myself and Jonathan Campagna).  The goal of the day is to Ignite Instructors skiing and teaching passion for the 2017 season.  We aim to send each participant off with a direction in which to take their skiing for the season.

The day started cold and windy with poor visibility.  These conditions caused us to cower directly over to Rino's run.  The top of Granite was not suited to human habitation in and way.  However the conditions were much more civilized once on Rino's.  Then the conditions proceeded to improve throughout the day. 

It was great to ski with a group of such proficient skiers, all of whom shared a common bond.  Two notable instructors participating in the event were second year CSIA Member Jacob Flood and 50 (fifty)Year CSIA Member Dave Dumont.  The full range of the CSIA Membership was represented.  I am happy to report that Dave is still charging hard, skiing first lift to last lift with instructors 60 years his junior, what an incredible guy.

Note: CSIA "Ignition Day" has a similar name to Canadian Ski Quest "Ignition Week" .  The CSIA day is named after the Canadian Ski Quest product.

Friday, December 9, 2016

26 out of 29 Not Too Bad??

Well I had what I thought was a well deserved beer at the Rossland Brewery after my ski tour today.  My preseason challenge is done as Red Mountain is open tomorrow.  Out of a possible 29 days I skied on 26.  I am glad I did it and I am glad it is over. 

My biggest challenge was time, I was just not organized well enough to get time in during the day to ski, especially to drive 30 minutes to and from.  But I did ski and the challenge got me out and delivered unique skiing experiences.  I do not have any recent photos as all of my skiing in the past week has been done at night.  These days night starts after 4:00PM.  This has been a memorable experience, highlights are skiing in the moonlight on a perfect carpet of snow which is on a perfect carpet of golf course grass.  And I guess what makes it memorable is that I was aware that I in a place and space where people should not typically be.

I had a couple of night when I brought my slalom skis to hole 18 and did 10 laps of short radius turns, 20 turns a lap followed by a quick hike-for me it beats spending an hour on a treadmill.

Another experience was a bit more entertaining, although not at the time.  Between holes are gravel paths which were completely covered (well almost completely).  I took one of these paths with much confidence, making quick steps around a switchback corner, when I noticed the snow seemed to diminish in depth when the path led into the forest.  In fact it more or less disappeared.  I thought about stopping, but rather than disrupt my flow I looked for the positive and saw a very narrow, very thin line of snow through to the next hole.  There was no snow, just gravel.  I crashed hard.  It felt like I was catapulted into the gravel, imagine your most memorable face-plant but with no snow.  I was in agony lying on the trail, one of those situations where you can't breath deeply.  I knew it would pass but I was in too much pain to get up.  The next stage was laughter as I thought about how this would look if a walker came by.  My dogs showed no signs of sympathy or interest.  I eventually groaned myself up.  Torn jacket and both gloves were torn open, and I have missing skin on my left hand and I had to pick the gravel out with tweezers (not your typical skiing injury).  Thankfully nothing more serious, it would have been the worst way to end my ski season.  The best part was when I noticed as I was lying on the ground the distinct smell of burning plastic, caused by cross country ski base meeting gravel at high speed. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Legacy Training Center

On Friday the Red Mountain Free Ski Team had the opportunity to train at the Legacy Training Center at Red Mountain.  Red Chair was open with good skiing on Back Trail.  There is now snow-making all the way to the top of Red.  The top pitch was your classic hard man made snow, great for the racers, not so much for the skiers.  The main pitch of Back Trail was in good shape but the best skiing was on the t-bar which is where the attached video was taken.

My challenge is going strong although I missed the day on Thursday, just too much to do.  There is snow now all the way to lower Rossland and I have been taking advantage of that by skiing on the golf course, they should track set it, it is perfect cross country ski terrain.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 18 Still Going

Simon on the road to Chimo Cabin with his snow skate
 I have still been out everyday, four days since my last post, Cross Country at Strawberry Pass for 3 days and one day at 49 North Ski Resort.  On Sunday with the Red Mountain Freeski Team.  Unfortunately I forgot my phone (camera) and do not have photos of the day there.

It was the first day of the season and I have to give 49 North credit for their opening efforts.  If it is possible to ski 49 will open.  The conditions up high were good, if one stayed on piste I would even say they were mid winter like.  Off piste was pretty much closed and the runs I did venture off-piste on were baseless, in that I sunk through to the ground (which is obviously why they were closed).  Still it was a fantastic day.  I had 13 skiers with me, all super excited to be skiing again.  We all got a great skiing workout through the day.

Early Season Powder

Chimo Cabin

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thug Life

It snowed all day yesterday, looking good.  The conditions at Nancy Greene Lake improved dramatically.  I skied around the lake with good conditions all the way.  It feels like we are on track.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don Kjorven inducted into CSIA Hall of Fame

My inspirational ski partners
 More Nordic skiing for me, which has been good.  But I am ready to make some turns.  The time factor is my biggest challenge, it is easy to get a good workout (for me) in a short time with the misery sicks.

I skied up Plewman Trail on Monday, as far up as I dared to ski down.  These are the top two photos which would be at about the same elevation as the top of Silverlode Chair.  We need more snow, and it is pretty wet (but good base material).

I have also had a whirlwind trip back and fourth to Banff.  My friend and past Canadian Ski Quest Instructor Don Kjorven was inducted into the CSIA Hall of Fame.  It was an event I did not want to miss.
Bestsy telling me to ski faster

Meaning I drove to Banff yesterday, and back today.  It was well worth the trip.  It was great to see old friends in Banff and to hear KJ's speech, it was a momentous occasion for him.

I took advantage of the geography I was driving through and stopped at Kootenay Pass yesterday and today I skied about halfway up to Boom Lake in Banff National Park.  As you can see from the photos the skiing at higher elevations is on!
Kootenay Pass: Mid winter conditions

Beautiful Winter

The trail to Boom Lake
Me with the Legend Don Kjorven

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Energized Hounds
 My challenge continues and the skiing has improved everyday.  At the very least this challenge has been great for getting me out of the house.  For example, the weather today in Rossland was drab and uninspiring but up at Strawberry Pass the day was transformed into a winter wonderland.

On Friday I skied to Mosquito Cabin via Red Dog, then has a high speed decent down the logging road.  It was the only time the dogs were trying to keep up with me, not vice/versa.
Mosquito Cabin

Finally: proper winter driving conditions
On Saturday I had to go to Grand Forks, so I stopped again at the pass and skied as far and fast as I could for 25 minutes.  It is amazing how far you can go in a short time on skis.  I took about 8 minutes to come down, it was a great diversion from the drive, and a great workout as well.
Marco Santano
 I ran into Red Mountain Ski Team Alumni Jacob Flood and Marco Santano.  I did not stick around for the inevitable build a jump session.  Great to see the guys out there.

Jacob Flood and Marco

Today, the dogs and I skied to Sunspot cabin, it snowed continuously.  Truly a winter wonderland.