Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

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Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:24 am

We had heard secondhand reports that the Feb. 8 and Feb. 14 storms had rained nearly to the top of Revelstoke, so tseeb and I decided to skip Revy and drive to Golden after getting out of Mustang late Monday afternoon. 10 years ago after an even more extreme Pineapple event, I had moved east to the colder climate Purcells and Rockies to find some skiing above the rain/snow line.

Kicking Horse in 2005 had received 27 inches of snow from the warm storm above 7,000 feet, while the lower 3,000+ feet were solid frozen granular from rain and freeze. This time, with multiple storms of varying snow levels the transition by elevation was more subtle. Snow became gradually firmer as one descended but didn’t really reach the frozen granular stage until about 5,500 feet. The exceptions were the south side glades of CPR and Redemption Ridges, which had melt/frozen in warm weather sometime in the past week. This is unusual, as on my previous 7 visits weather was cool enough up high to preserve good snow even on south faces. Weather was in upper 20’s, a bit of breeze up top late in the day, and mostly the typical Canadian overcast with occasional sunny breaks.

Tseeb and I started with a mogulled bowl run from the gondola down to the Stairway to Heaven chair. Moguls were much more widespread than usual as it has been awhile since the last major snow. Nonetheless the north facing snow was firm chalk with no melt/freezing. We took 2 Stairway laps, one on the groomer and one short test run in the south side Redemption trees. Snow was firm but edgeable from the partial melt freeze but it did warn us away from the longer and steeper south facing lines.

On our third time up Stairway to Heaven we skied the top line into Feuz Bowl
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Snow was excellent, but light was flat so it was necessary to ski cautiously as it was not completely smooth. The short mogul section at the bottom of Feuz was surprisingly busy this time.
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Overall it was far from a busy day. We never waited for more than 5-10 people at the gondola, nor did we see that many people on the hill in one place again.

We skied to the bottom via the Kicking Horse groomer, which was decent for the upper half, hardpacked lower down with a sketchy exit to get back to the gondola. From the gondola we skied a partially refrozen Flying Dutchman into Bowl Over and skied to the bottom past the grizzly refuge.
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Next time up we checked out the north side of CPR. Tseeb descending cautiously here:
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There were some rocks lower down not clearly seen from the top. I went farther along the ridge to find a more open line. These north side CPR runs were as intimidating as I’ve ever seen them, definitely a no fall zone. They are not icy, but there are obstacles and the snow is firm and steep enough that it would be difficult to self-arrest.

We took the Stairway lift and climbed the stairs to the top of White Wall. View along Redemption Ridge and across the Columbia Valley to the Rockies.
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All of the White Wall runs are sustained pitches around 40 degrees. The snow is probably the best on the mountain, but the flat light required cautious skiing. Tseeb near the bottom of the run we skied.
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Three skiers are in the next chute south of where we skied.
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From below we can see their line is quite wide open. But like us they we skiing very deliberately due to the flat light.

After skiing to the bottom and riding back up I was ready for a late lunch at the Eagle’s Eye restaurant on top. I had a tasty duck pasta and we left at 3PM. There were snow flurries during lunch but we caught some sunny breaks when we left. Stairway to Heaven from the top of the gondola:
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Eagle’s Eye and CPR Ridge from Stairway:
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We caught a clean line with some soft snow at the top into Feuz Bowl for our final run, and finished the day with 22,100 vertical.

While conditions were often challenging, we overheard comments that Kicking Horse has the best snow in British Columbia now. This is possibly true. Everything we have read and heard from Whistler to Revelstoke and all points in between is that skiing off the groomers is not recommended. But as demonstrated here a substantial portion of Kicking Horse’s expert terrain is still skiing quite well in this difficult season.
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby tseeb » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:31 am

Tony Crocker gave me a great tour of Kicking Horse, my first day ever riding lifts in Canada. I hope to return some day when they have more typical winter conditions. There is a lot of steep terrain. Some of it reminded me of the Rock Garden area on KT22 at Squaw, but much wider.

Since Tony stayed up late to write story and post pictures, I got up early to add some more pictures.
Attachments
0334TonyCOnTop.JPG
Tony Crocker going across top of what I skied off Redemption Ridge
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Tony Crocker skiing on of the 30+ marked chutes off N side of Redemption Ridge - not all skiable this day
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Closer view of Tony Crocker skiing off Redemption Ridge
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Wider view from near bottom of Redemption Ridge. Tony continued off to the left after watching me 'ski' chute at left.
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Bottom of only chairlift we rode all day. Note that Tony Crocker, lower right, is skiing is without hat
0344StairwayToHeaven.JPG
The stairs above top of Stairway to Heaven. There were quite a few skiers going up when we did.
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Picture from inside very nice Eagle Eye restaurant at top of gondola, the highest restaurant in Canada
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Another view of CPR Ridge and Eagle Eye taken from near top of Stairway to Heaven lift. I had to wait a couple of minutes to get this much sun on it.
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:17 am

Tony Crocker wrote:We had heard secondhand reports that the Feb. 8 and Feb. 14 storms had rained nearly to the top of Revelstoke

Confirmed by a Feb 15 - 17 TR on Zoneski: "The Pineapple Express did so much damage over the last few weeks that I didn't even want to ski after the first day."
http://www.zoneski.com/forum/index.php/ ... s-voyages/


Didn't you guys go cat-skiing? Did they teleport you to better conditions?
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby EMSC » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:46 pm

Hey, I see clear and crisp Images from Tony! Finally upgraded that ancient P&S camera.

Someday I need to hit, Oh, every ski place in BC... Interestingly I've never skied in the province of BC at all.

Looks good. Is Kicking Horse the place where you need to do nearly or even full top to bottom laps since there aren't many upper mtn lifts? I forget what the the trail maps of a lot of the BC places look like.
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Marc_C » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:10 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Confirmed by a Feb 15 - 17 TR on Zoneski: "The Pineapple Express did so much damage over the last few weeks that I didn't even want to ski after the first day."
http://www.zoneski.com/forum/index.php/ ... s-voyages/

Alas, written in a language I cannot read or speak.
-marc
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:29 pm

Marc_C wrote:Alas, written in a language I cannot read or speak.

I translated the key sentence confirming what Tony had heard. The rest of the report was variations of "conditions at Fernie and Revelstoke were awful."
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Marc_C » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:31 pm

Ah. Thanks.
-marc
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:48 am

EMSC wrote: Is Kicking Horse the place where you need to do nearly or even full top to bottom laps since there aren't many upper mtn lifts

Yes. We rode the Stairway chair 6 times, but 3 of them we skied off the north side all the way to the bottom. As noted above the bottom 1,500 vertical was mostly frozen granular, with a few thin spots to get through. Snowmaking and grooming have made the lower mountain much less of a chore than in 2005, but it could stand further improvement. In more cooperative weather years like 2008 and 2013 the lower groomers have been very good.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Powderqueen » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:12 am

We were there the same day! Skied the same lines. Tony, is there anything steeper and longer than those lines into Feuz bowl? Fabulous and felt steeper than Snowbird.

Image

Image
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:43 am

EMSC wrote: Is Kicking Horse the place where you need to do nearly or even full top to bottom laps since there aren't many upper mtn lifts

Tony Crocker wrote:Yes.

Are there any plans to address that?
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:23 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Are there any plans to address that?

Not that I have heard about. I've heard skier visits at Kicking Horse are in the 250,000 range.

powderqueen wrote:Tony, is there anything steeper and longer than those lines into Feuz bowl?

The pic powderqueen posted is a north side Redemption Ridge chute in Feuz. These are similar to Cirque runs at Snowbird. The north side chutes of CPR Ridge had more bumps and rocks, pretty scary when it hasn't snowed a lot in 2 weeks. They are also similar in length but need more snow for comfortable skiing. Finally there are the White Wall runs into Feuz accessed from the top of the stairs. These have sustained pitch of 40 degrees or so for longer than Great Scott/Upper Cirque. However the flat light was tough in there and I have more tolerance for that than most people. This time I skied the chute nearest the boundary as it was shortest and had slightly better light.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Kicking Horse, BC, Feb. 24, 2015

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:29 am

Found this on another forum -- "We are open!"

M.png
M.png (202.75 KiB) Viewed 2845 times


Fighting the impression that they've already closed for the season? :-k
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