Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

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Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:37 am

The western cold snap that began Sunday while I was at Mustang Snowcat was still going strong the next two days at Kicking Horse. Riding up in a snowcat made the cold tolerable at Mustang and I hoped Kicking Horse’s Golden Eagle gondola would help similarly.

Tuesday morning temps up high were about -6F and rose to about 0F in the afternoon. It was sometimes cloudy and sometimes sunny and thankfully not windy. Typically at Kicking Horse I use the Stairway to Heaven chair about as often to the gondola, but not in this weather. Our first two runs were into Bowl Over. In some years the long top to bottom runs encounter deteriorating snow surfaces on the lower mountain but not this year. The snowpack is deep and surfaces packed powder top to bottom. During my first time at Kicking Horse in 2002 I became exhausted skiing powder over moguls on the lower mountain, but now Kicking Horse’s lower half has become one of the better mountains anywhere for long steep groomers.

Our third gondola run was through the souith facing trees off CPR Ridge. On our fourth run we traversed down CPR Ridge to check out the steep north chutes, where coverage was far better than on Tseeb’s first visit in 2015. Here he is skiing the Iron Horse chute (educated guess from the trail map as individual chutes are not labeled on the ridge).
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We did ride the Stairway chair once and skied the top diagonal line into Feuz Bowl. Light was a bit flat and we were a bit cold from the chair ride, but snow was smooth soft chalk. The exit from Feuz was groomed wide and smoother than I have ever seen, no doubt possible with this year’s deep snowpack. On our next gondola we skated and walked the road to Super Bowl, which Tseeb had not seen in 2015. Super Bowl views from top down and bottom up:
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The Terminator groomer below Super Bowl was probably the softest groomer due to least skier traffic.

The north facing chutes at Kicking Horse often have flat light, but by this time of year they can be illuminated by western sun in the mid afternoon, which as fortunately the case on our last run about 3:30PM. View of KH’s sponsored pink Jeep at left and top of Stairway to Heaven in background.
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Tseeb on Derail here:
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The late sunny break allowed nice views from the base just after 4PM.
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Tseeb and I skied 24,800 vertical, which was definitely a record for me on a day this cold. The gondola was indeed effective in enabling a good ski day for us Californians in the frigid weather. Neoprene boot gloves were a key item for me, and since Liz didn’t have them she took 4 gondola runs with warmup breaks in between vs. 6 for Tseeb and me.

The cold was supposed to moderate late in the week, but Wednesday was the coldest day yet. It got to -22F overnight in Fairmont Hot Springs and was -15F when we left in the morning. With a team effort we had managed to leave my skis in Kicking Horse and had to backtrack a couple of hours driving and our ski day was short, noon to 3:15PM. However it would have been tough to ski anywhere riding chairs vs. a gondola and it was not a day you would have wanted to ski at opening bell anywhere.
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It was still -7F at noon and maybe warmed just a few degrees from there. Our first run was north from the gondola, Tseeb and I dropping into the Think Twice Bowl and then meeting Liz for groomers the rest of the way down. I noticed wind chill on my face on groomers more than Tuesday and should have used a face mask. My cheeks were slightly sensitive that evening and the next morning in warmer temps, so then I learned my lesson and wore the mask.

Tseeb and I took the skate/walking road to Super Bowl again.
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At the top of our third gondola there was a short sunny beak, so we dropped into Briggs Brag.
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Our final run at 3PM was through the south facing trees off CPR Ridge. Quality of skiing and snow surfaces wee the same as Tuesday; the weather just upped the challenge a bit. Total vertical was 15,700 for Tseeb and me. Liz skied 3 runs and had boot gloves this time to make skiing more tolerable. Needless to say I was rather sparing with the camera in the cold weather.
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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, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jasoncapecod » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:09 am

Looks like a better day to have a colonoscopy rather then ski..
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:58 am

jasoncapecod wrote:Looks like a better day to have a colonoscopy rather then ski..

If 3 Californians could handle this, it would have been no problem for most Northeasterners. Patrick might have considered the weather comfortable due to no wind and low western humidity. Wednesday would have been a no ski day for me at an area with only chairlifts.
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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
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:55 am

-13F, but it was a dry cold.

I don't see any skiers wearing a face gaiter, which is helpful IMO.
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby kingslug » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:41 pm

After skiing early season in 20 below in VT..should be a piece of cake.It will be warmer when we are there though. Not much snow in the forecast though.
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jasoncapecod » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:16 pm

about 2 years ago i lost my ability to deal with frigid temps..this is from a guy that used to regularly ice climb etc..
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:34 pm

jasoncapecod wrote:about 2 years ago i lost my ability to deal with frigid temps..this is from a guy that used to regularly ice climb etc..

That is the reason the original Fernie blogger quit skiing in 2014 and moved to Vancouver Island.

I observe a gradual greater sensitivity to cold with age. At 6 days and counting this is the longest sustained period of these temperatures that I have experienced. I see this on about 1/3 of my interior Canadian trips but before this one only for a day or two. So far it seems true that raising the level of protection (more layers, boot gloves, face mask) is accomplishing the objective of keeping me skiing 20K+ vertical per day. The excellent conditions keep me motivated to making it work.
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, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby Anthony » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:27 am

Just a quick note , this year they banned traversing back into the T1 range after you walk over to superbowl between T1 and T2. If you want to ski T1 you have to climb it . Our oldest who lives in Golden advised too many complaints of a ski track forming cutting across the pitch. Trust me , If you climb T1 or T2 carrying your alpine equipment on your back you will not be cold. The kicked in boot climbs are a adventure in itself .
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:30 am

Tony Crocker wrote:it seems true that raising the level of protection (more layers, boot gloves, face mask) is accomplishing the objective of keeping me skiing 20K+ vertical per day.

I've said a number of times that neoprene face masks are an almost unfair advantage on brutally cold/windy days.
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jasoncapecod » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:38 am

In my opinion masks are awful.. they tend to be wet , smelly just gross.
also breathing in my own exhaust makes me nauseous..
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:16 am

You have to breathe through your nose.

I remember Admin having a mask with a special mouthpiece designed to allow air to pass through.
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Re: Kicking Horse, B.C., Feb. 20-21, 2018

Postby berkshireskier » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:17 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
jasoncapecod wrote:about 2 years ago i lost my ability to deal with frigid temps..this is from a guy that used to regularly ice climb etc..

That is the reason the original Fernie blogger quit skiing in 2014 and moved to Vancouver Island.

I observe a gradual greater sensitivity to cold with age. At 6 days and counting this is the longest sustained period of these temperatures that I have experienced. I see this on about 1/3 of my interior Canadian trips but before this one only for a day or two. So far it seems true that raising the level of protection (more layers, boot gloves, face mask) is accomplishing the objective of keeping me skiing 20K+ vertical per day. The excellent conditions keep me motivated to making it work.


Yea, as I've gotten older, I am definitely more sensitive to cold weather (and enjoy less and less skiing or being outdoors in REALLY cold (and windy) weather). I asked my doctor (who is an avid skier) about this and his theory is that, as you age, you lose muscle mass, and your body is therefore less insulated against cold temps. Of course, now a days, with heated gloves, and boots and even heated ski jackets, and better materials in base layers and jackets and pants, it IS easier to stay warm. And face masks do help somewhat on really cold and windy day, but I tend to agree with Jason below, that condensation tends to build up in the masks and it does become gross and ineffective over time.
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