Exploration – Synonym for “long & painful day”?

Exploration – Synonym for “long & painful day”?
December 30, 2016 Jan Poetsch

The prospect of skiing right next to a resort had never seemed very appealing, thus Sunshine backcountry never tempted me much. That is, until I came across the “Confessions of a Banff Ski Bum” book, which indicated that the area is actually interesting. So Nathalie Drotar and I set out for an exploration tour – read: don’t know what to expect, probably long day, little to no actual skiing, at least a mini-sufferfest likely, but equally likely to find at least a few good areas for next time.


All of this came true.

Route & Snow – went up Healy valley, toward Simpson Pass, past (just below) Dinosaur Head, over Wawa Hump, down via Sunshine Resort. 13km up and flat rewarded by a 4km green run ski out in the Resort. And about 6km of the up and flat involved trail breaking in knee deep super light powder, which had us moving at about 1km per hour. By the time we arrived at the Wawa gate to Sunshine, it was 5pm and getting dark. Adding to the fun – I had not stored my skins well, and a substantial part of the glue transferred onto the skis (great on a flat-ish green run …).
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Gems – terrific snow, and a great ski playground. Runs generally short (~50-150m vert) but with lots of pillows, drops, and mini chutes. Especially around the Dinosaur Head the terrain is convoluted, thus prior exploration pays off. We took time to try some of the mini-pillows – rewarded for (almost) all the trail breaking pain. (Note the “too $#!@$#!@ deep to get speed” nature of the powder in the video).
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In summary, to quote ze great Arnold Schwarzenegger – “I’ll be back”!


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