Sunday, January 31, 2010


We were back in Comox for the weekend. Lina was running in the "Yeti" snowshoe race... which was quite a spectacle. It all looked like a lot of hard work to me, so I took photographs.

I don't know who they are... but they're off!

The end of Lap 1... about to do it all again.

That looks like a smile to me.

All done.

Where's the winner?

Three fast ladies, in order of fastness: Ceri, Kristinn, and Lina

Lina had a great race and came in 3rd, with her eclectic Arrowsmith Bikes / Steed Cycles / Frontrunners team taking the first three places in the ladies category and 4th, 5th and 6th in the mens. Unsurprisingly, that won them the team event. Good stuff!

After all that standing around and drinking beer I was ready for some skate skiing, so we went off for a loop on the trails with Marc and Nikki then collected Mathilda and Pippa (canines) from the car for a run on the dog-friendly trails. Dog entertainment value was high as Mathilda was suffering a little with the soft snow and kept punching through up to her shoulders and Pippa's approach of zero restraint led to a few spectacular faceplants. She's pretty close to the ground though, so not far to fall. It was a fun ski and Lina looked pretty ready for a rest by the end!

Lina resigned herself to studying worms on Sunday, but Marc, Nikki, Mathilda and I headed out for a ride with the River Rats. We did a great 3 hour loop at "the back of the lake". I'm getting back into riding my cross-country bike ready for the Dirty Duo race that Lina and I have entered for March. This bike loves going up hill, but needs a little finesse to get it back down again. I got pretty fast on it 2 summers ago when I had reasons to ride it a lot, but I've been a bit distracted by other bikes ever since. It's coming back to me slowly... and it's nice to rediscover a bike I shared some fun times with that summer.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hear me Rohr

Today we got all adventurous and skied at yet another new place... which to be fair is quite near other places we have skied. However, it was still new... and an adventure. Hooray.

Half of the gang on Rohr Ridge

Lina sking into the shadows. I was pretty pleased with this photo.

I'm tired, so that's it for now. However, there are of course lots of photos due to the full backcountry paparazzi (Paul and Jacek) being on the scene. No-one is safe.

Jacek took this one of some tourists posing in the mountains. I really need to get a haircut, and possibly not wear that headband when cameras are around.

My photos here, Jacek's photos here, and Paul's photos are here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vote for... err, ME!

Local ski gear folks G3, are having a competition. I like designing things, so I have thrown my shrimp onto their barbecue. My entry is a little rough around the edges (literally), but I was quite pleased with it. You can see "Shoulder Season" here and then compare it to all the others here. Obviously you will want to vote for mine... though I do love that Octopus one.

Incidentally, I hear that the engineers at G3 are fantastic. Especially that tall one with the funny accent.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hefty snow

The North Shore mountains are in the full grip of spring conditions (yes, in January). The trails are free from snow and I expect bluebells to be blooming any day now. Well, I would expect them to be if there were any bluebells on The Shore. Still, it's nice to get an evening ride up to 7th Secret this time of year, even if I did expect to be cross-country skiing.

Luckily, the winter Olympics don't seem to have totally banished winter from BC and it's been snowing away in Whistler. It's still pretty warm, but there's been a good waist-depth of snow in the last few days. Paul, Jacek, and I went out to the Gin and Tonic Lakes area to see what we could find. The approach is a bit of a slog, but we ran into a couple of Austrian guys (Alex and Christian) who added their legs to the trail-breaking rota.

On our first run I didn't have much success in the weighty and deep snow... but we persevered and got our BC skiing skills activated again for another couple of strenuous runs. I think I've skied too much nice snow this winter and I need to get out and ski in the rain more or I'll turn into a powder-snob. The ski back out to the car was classic BC semi-bushwhack through re-frozen lumpy snow with added creek crossings, holes, and of course alders to poke you in the eye. I wouldn't want it any other way. We made it out just as it got dark. My photos are here. Paul's stuff is here.

I took this one of Paul

...and he took this one of me. Seems fair.

This morning Lina and I were re-united with Ben and Johnny the "kayak men" for a Baidarka paddle. It was great to be back on the water and to finish off with a Spanish Omelette at The Lynwood. There were some trademark BC clouds hanging in the trees and a few over the water (along with some trademark BC rain). A great wintry morning to be out... if only we had brought the camera.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Steep and deep wet

This weekend we went back to the Duffy Lake road in search of higher altitudes and colder temperatures. Up we drove, and the thermometer on the car didn't budge. Parked at about 1600m, it was +2 degrees. This seemed highly unfair as the UK is currently getting dumped on with snow. Can we have our weather back please?

We set out anyway and got a few nice breaks in the cloud to reveal a little blue sky. The snow was pretty heavy with moisture, but we got some skiing done and ran into some interesting new people we found lurking in the forest. Photos here.

Lina tackling the splodgy snow

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Chief (Pascal)

We actually did some skiing. Phew. A Sunday trip up and down Mt Chief Pascal, with some extra up and down thrown in. Good snow, good weather, good stuff. Now back to work...

Paul expresses joy in the snow

More photos here, and Paul's stuff here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Start as you mean to go on (hopefully with better results next time)

We tried, but were defeated. The Lizzie Creek cabin was not to be ours this New Year's day. Still... we got out there, did some interesting parking, had an adventure in the forest... and got home again. So, not too much to complain about.

The day started off as too many winter days do, very early. With the music still pumping at the New Year's party in a warehouse a few blocks away we loaded up the car and set off in the rain for the Duffey Lake road. Too early for most of the Whistler traffic, we had a quiet but snowy drive up Highway 99 and past Pemberton. We turned off the highway to skirt Lillooet Lake, and were driving in at least a foot of fresh snow. My car plugged away and got us to our starting point... would we ever get it out again?

Deep powder car parking

Angie takes a tentative step into the unknown

Last time we headed into Lizzie Lake was in the spring , which brought quite a different set of obstacles to what we found this day. We didn't fancy crossing the creek as there was a lot of snow on the banks and rocks... it would have been even colder on (bare) feet than last time. We opted for the "bypass" route, which involved carrying skis and slipping around on some barely snow-covered roots, logs, and rocks for 45 minutes. Fun.

With that out of the way, we found our real problem. The delicate, spindly Alder trees that grow all over the old roads were a slight annoyance last time as they poke you in the face with their branches... but covered in snow they are a whole different story. They look pretty... but all that snow weighing down the branches is ready to be unleashed as you brush past, dumping tons of snow on your head. This was funny for the first 5 minutes, but 2 hours of bushwhacking and getting cold and drenched later we realised we were moving too slowly to make it into the cabin that night.

Snow-covered Alders. They might look pretty, but they suck.

This was one of the less dense sections... seriously.

So, we had a conference. We ate some sandwiches. We decided to get out while we still had light. At least the Alders had less snow on them in this direction...

Heading back up the nasty hike

We made it back to the car at sunset. Though we failed to make it where we were going, I at least felt we had achieved something by making the smart decision and getting out in the light (just), all together, and ready for another day. We loaded up, and had a wild snowy drive back to Pemberton and some Italian food. YUM.

We're heading back north tomorrow morning for a day trip... we will ski that new snow one way or another!