Rogers Pass – January & February 2020

It’s really no secret that the Whistler/Blackcomb season started poorly. That’s part of the reason Sharon and I left our home confines of the Coast Mountains and migrated to Interior BC, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Kicking Horse for the best part of December and January. But there’s so much more than resort skiing and there’s the holy grail. The mecca of ski touring that we Canadians take for granted.

Of course that’s Rogers Pass. Here’s a photo dump of two of the tours we did in January and February. More information is available via the new Rogers Pass map and soon forthcoming, the updated guidebook from Douglas Sproul.

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Puff Daddy

Sharon, Trace, Doug and I went up to ski off either Rogers Run or Puff Daddy on BC’s family day long weekend. It’s been a long long time since we’ve been up the Grizzly Shoulder skintrack and it’s about as rowdy and poorly set as I remember it with the strangest of terrain choices.

After no less than 82 kick turns and 6 veggie-belay assists on various steep sections we were at the top. Family Day long weekend is very popular and my decade-old memories of untouched powder appeared to be obsolete. Temperatures were mellow (just below freezing) and skies were broken so skiing was going to be awfully good no matter if we crossed tracks.

We eventually took a designer route that involved skiing down part of Rogers Run; coming back up over to Puff Daddy then sneaking pillows and pow that split Hermit West and Puff Daddy. After shaking a group of no less than six splitboarders that appeared to be stalking us in an attempt to figure out if we knew a “cool untouched line bro” we made it back to the Discovery Centre having dodged the unexpected objectve hazard of groups skiing above us.

To make an entertaining day even better Doug then fulfilled a long-term dream of taking a picture with the Canadian Forces operating a howitzer for training. Thanks for such good spirits guys and hope we didn’t slow your teardown.

Image: Lee Lau. It’s a fat Rogers Pass snow year with over 2m of snow on the Connaught Creek bridge

image: Lee Lau. After a quick hit third of a lap down Rogers Run up we go to Puff Daddy. Mt MacDonald pokes its head out of the clouds

image: Lee Lau. Good snow on Puff Daddy proper

image: Lee Lau. Really good snow down low

image: Lee Lau. Fantastic ski quality all the way from ridgelines to valley floor

image: Lee Lau – finally we get Doug off the computer and back to his natural environment

image: Lee Lau. Thanks Canadian Forces for keeping us safe and blowing stuff up

Avalanche Crest

Even for jaded quasi locals this was an exceptional day. It was forecasted to be clear, cold and windless. It was all that and more. Alyn and Sharon came out for a day that started out cold. It stayed cold till early afternoon and the Eagle ascent went well accordingly with the skintrack setting easy and the climb turning over quckly.

As we broke above treeline into the bowls below Eagle Peak and Avalanche Mountain the views seemed to go on forever. The sun was welcome but so was the incredibly low density baby’s breath consistency snow that swooshed off our skis as we put one foot in front of the other on the skintrack.

image: Lee Lau. Above tree-line and into the Eagle Peak bowl with the Asulkan valley in the backdrop

image: Lee Lau. Alyn to the logical bench below Eagle Peak

image: Lee Lau. Into Eagle Peak’s bowls

image: Lee Lau. Lap 1 in the Eagle Bowls

With a stable fat snowpack and good skiing from alpine to valley we put laps into the Eagle Peak bowl. Then up we went to Avalanche Crest. Some groups had been there but inexplicably they all trended skiers left. What remained was a third of the Avalanche Crest face untracked with the exception of Chris G’s team (good to see you out there again Chris) making observations. Chris and his team skied first and we watched them carve contrails of quadruple overhead blower pow of Justin Trudeau’s wild-harvested tears hovering in the blue skies like angels wings reaching to dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings. Sharon, Alyn and I waited a respectful amount of time then we all gutted the slope hammering out wide turns deep down the kill zones and all the way to the highway slide path terminus..

It’s days like this for which you dream.

image: Lee Lau. We were satisfied with Eagle Peak. Temps were rising and the W facing slopes off Avalanche Crest wouldn’t keep their pristine condition forever. So up we went again to get our 1000m vertical run

image: Lee Lau. How on earth did the other groups leave us this untouched line?

image: Lee Lau. Sharon starting the Avalanche 1000

image: Lee Lau. Alyn on the Avalanche 1000

image: Lee Lau. Asulkan Parking lot still 350m below us. So much pow to ski. So much vert to dump

image: Lee Lau. Just enough warmth at valley bottom for celebration beer

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