Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

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Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby tseeb » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:25 am

Great day at Sunshine which lived up to its name. Wednesday, when Tony Crocker and I flew into Calgary
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and Thursday were probably the sunniest days I’ve ever experienced in the Great Grey North. It was also at least 20F in late AM and early PM which is warm for Sunshine. There was some wind early, but it seemed to go away in PM.

We rode Angel, then new Tee Pee once each to warm up, then Divide 4x, two groomers on either side of big jumps they are building, then Bye Bye Bowl with great views of surrounding mountains and then we exited the top using the Dive. Getting into it was easier than my only other time on it and most of the middle was good, but snow was wind-crusted and mostly treacherous on exit to skiers left.

We spent the rest of the day on Goats Eye alternating between great steep groomers and decently covered South Side Chutes. We also braved the Wild West twice, first skiing Peyto’s where top was good, but exit required carefully dropping off rocky steep into a gully that that was almost too narrow to sideslip for at least 100 feet.
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It was much better where it opened up, but probably the nastiest I’ve ever done. We ended our day skiing Wheeler’s which was comparatively easy, but was sustained steep for probably 2,000’ vertical and required navigating around a couple of rocky areas.

Drive from Sunshine to Revy was nasty for such a nice day with about a 45 min. stop before Golden wher a truck was on its side,
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then two shorter delays past Rogers Pass for avalanche control/cleanup. But the 80-100 miles on either side of Banff are always amazing.
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Two more pictures of Tony Crocker skiing Sunshine, both are in the South Side Chutes.
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Re: Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby EMSC » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:05 pm

No delirium attempts? Did you bring beacons? Or are you relying on units provided by the cat operation when you ski there?
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Re: Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:36 pm

Usually I prefer Lake Louise to Sunshine. When tseeb and I were last at Sunshine in 2015 the Goat's Eye groomers were at least as hardpacked as Mountain High the day of Liz' accident and anything ungroomed was a coral reef.

When I updated the Season Progress Report last Saturday I noticed on Sunshine's snow report that Wild West was open, which it had never been during the 5 seasons I had previously skied there. I then checked the Powderwatch blog only to find that the website no longer exists. However I had previously corresponded with the blogger Derek Ryder so I sent him an e-mail. Derek said Sunshine was skiing great and furthermore provided valuable local info about navigating the south side chutes and Wild West from Goat's Eye.

With the sunny weather and some schools out it was probably the busiest I've seen Sunshine.
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Nonetheless with high speed lifts lines never exceeded 5 minutes.

Scenery from top of Continental Divide:
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Looking down steep lines skier's left of Delirium Dive:
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We descended the metal stairs.
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Snowboarder at lower left entering Delirium Proper:
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There's lot of grunt work to go farther out that ridge to skier's right entries.

Tseeb skiing Delirium Dive:
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Looking back up from the exit trail which has a few minutes of walking uphill and/or skating.
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We ended up at the Goat's Eye chair about 12:30 where we spent the rest of the day. After the Dive we took a groomer, then a short traverse to Wildside, the most popular south side chute and found the snow good through the widely spaced moguls.

Then we went through the Wild West gate for the first time. The sign down the upper mellow bowl points left to Peyto's and right to Wheeler's.
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The next pitch of Peyto's narrows some but still plenty of room.
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Tseeb stops when he sees the REALLY narrow couloir below.
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I stopped a bit above him and we saw we would need to sideslip the upper part but there were also considerable rocks between us and the sideslip. Fortunately a local skier approached from well above above and instructed us to step up partway where we could squeeze between a couple of trees and get past just a few rocks. As usual I'm not thinking about the camera during these situations.

I skied the coulour after the local skier and his two snowboard friends followed. They sideslipped nearly all of it, but frankly the part getting in looks terrifying to me with just the one edge of a snowboard. Tseeb got into the upper couloir the same place I did.
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Lower down Peyto's widens enough for us to make turns.
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From the bottom of the couloir we traversed hard left to make it back to Goat's Eye chair. On the way we looked up a couple of other gaps in the cliff.
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Derek had warned us not to look for those unless we liked straightlines and/or mandatory airs.

After that experience we took a short snack break and then skied the Fall Line groomer.
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Cleavage is the run between the rocks right of Fall Line that I skied later.

Next we pushed farther out the south side chutes. View down Farside:
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We moved over one more to ski the upper half of Think Again and finally the lower half of Renegade.
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This is the general area where tseeb took the picture of me with big rocks above.

Approaching Cleavage from the top.
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Our final run was Wheeler's, the least claustrophobic line in Wild West.
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The pitch is a fairly consistent 30 degrees or so, but it's sustained for over 2,000 vertical and there was a bony section lower down that we had to navigate around.

From the Banff exit trail this is the view of Wild West with Wheeler's being the obvious line at left.
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There are a couple of narrow gaps at right, one of which might be Peyto's.

This was a day when Sunshine fully lived up to Derek's billing.
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Re: Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby Sbooker » Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:30 am

It’s not often photographs give a true impression of how steep the terrain actually is but some of those shots - yikes! When it’s apparent that you’ll be skiing rocky steep stuff like that you’re not tempted to wear a helmet Tony?
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Re: Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby EMSC » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:38 am

Interesting to see the WIld West terrain in pics. I don't think it's ever been open when I've been there. Despite good conditions on the rest of the mountain every time I have been to Sunshine.
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Re: Banff Sunshine, AB 2/20/2020

Postby tseeb » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:25 pm

A few more pictures from Banff Sunshine which was called Sunshine Village the last (and only other) time I skied there. First is another shot of Tony Crocker under the top of Goats Eye in one of the South Side chutes. I think I warned him there were rocks in that area.
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Next are a couple of pictures of him in Wheeler's taken when I was sitting in the shade as we entered area later than they would have like and sunny run was very exposed. In second picture he is heading for rocky area that I avoided.
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Last picture is my mark from Delirium Dive. I was going a little fast at end of wooden steps that were added below steep metal stairs since last time I was there. I hooked my arm on post to stop and it left a mark.
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