Deep powder skiing and trail breaking, along with some winter camping. The best way to stay up in the high, marvelous conditions.
BY ILZE RUPNERS
I had a wonderful time from March 1st to March 5th 2018 with Brent Hepfner and Kelvin Downs near Kaslo, BC. I was the new addition to the 4th annual Kootenay Powder Tour – coming from Vancouver, the land of bushwhacking and often cement like snow. In fact, on the west coast we measure precipitation in cement-i-metres.
Brent’s house near Kaslo is deluxe and has a great sauna for rejuvenating tired muscles and with all amenities, suppers were superb. Meals of butter chicken, perogies with ham steak and lasagna ensured that no weight was lost on this trip.
The first ski day we followed the clear cuts to the ridge line on the opposite side of the valley from London Ridge in the Retallack area, which is just north of Kokanee Glacier and south of the Goat Range in the Selkirks. Snow was nice and totally adequate for skiing down 1000 metres.
Saturday and Sunday were reserved for an overnight camping trip to London Ridge area. From the highway we followed the mining roads up to London Ridge and camped just on the other side of the ridge. With over 1000 metres of elevation gain, deep trail breaking in the storm snow made for a longer approach time. Quick camp setup and then off to ski the most lightest and consistent powder I have skied in a while! The Kootenays have what I would call great giant slalom like trees- widely spaced and steep and no bushwhacking required. Of course great snow requires trail breaking but with 3 of us alternating thigh deep powder was no match for our determined minds.
The next day we enjoyed glorious steep lines on the south and north sides both fun, powder runs, then back to camp, packing up and skiing the powder down to exit via Goat Creek, a route that Brent had scoped-out but not done before. Goat Creek was a fun adventure ski as most creek beds are, with some navigating along the way to stay higher on the east flank to avoid overhead hazard. More traversing than skiing but still good snow. The Goat Creek exit only worked because of this season’s deep snowpack, otherwise there might be too many open water holes.
To finish off the tour we stopped on our way through Kaslo at the brand new Angry Hen Craft Brew Pub for refreshments. One of the owners gave us a grand tour of the facility which was cool. We were not aware there was so much involved with making great beers. The Brewmaster-investor (the Angry Hen) we were told developed her skill working for a major craft brewery on the west coast. The superb product will speak for itself among those who sample it.
All in all a great trip. Many thanks to Brent for hosting us.
Hope to return soon for more Kootenay powder!