Closing out the winter season.

30 Aug

This post is long overdue, almost 4 months overdue….Once we got back to Ontario, time seemed to have sped up. And once work started, my mind totally became occupied on other matters. With fall approaching shortly, last winter still feels so fresh in my mind. I’m continually reminiscing on all the good times and deep lines that were enjoyed to the maximum extent.

It was early April, we had just arrived in Vancouver, getting back from an insane March, I mean, the word insane doesn’t justify everything we saw, did, enjoyed, ripped, etc… Our bodies felting the wear and tear of March, it was nice to be back in Canada, time to relax the bones, wander around beautiful BC and meet up with friends.

The rainy Vancouver atmosphere promoted rest, the first couple days back in the city mostly consisted of cafe hangouts and well-overdue errands. Once we started to feel more like ourselves, we headed up the Sea-Sky Highway to Squamish to meet with some childhood friends Tony and Matt.

The weather was damp, and the sun rarely showed it presence, but this is the west coast, it’s usual. Matt took us for a little hike, in search of waterfalls to witness the first signs of the spring thaw. The following day, we met up with Tony, he led us around the Smoke Bluffs, which is a climber’s paradise, you could tell by Tony’s enthusiasm about the place. The Bluffs provided an ideal place to see the infamous ‘The Chief’ cliff and the town of Squamish. The remainder of the days were enjoyed with either a coffee or beer in hand. I really appreciate the hospitality guys, super happy to see you two living the way you want and getting out there to enjoy it!

Back in Vancouver, the weather wet, we still opted for outside. Stanley Park on a foggy, rainy afternoon might be better than when it’s clear and sunny. This park couldn’t give off more of a west coast vibe if it tried. Knowing it was going to be our last time in Van City this winter, Granville Island Market was a must before leaving along with wandering around the beach. Before trekking back to the interior, we said our good-byes to that magical city, thanking it for giving us a comfortable place to hang and recoup between long drives.

Back in Van City.

I approve of this rad rig.

Squamish, BC.

Kay hiding in the greenery.

Thanks for the sweet forest tour Matt!


Solid view of The Chief.

Hiking with Tony on a typical rainy day in Squam.

Back in a rainy Stanley Park.

Granville Island Market, Vancouver.

Cruising around the market.

Believable.

Jericho Beach.

Sea Treasures.

Saying goodbye to the ocean.

Bye Van! It’s been real.

Our next destination was Fernie. But, before we made the drive, a quick stop in Kelowna to see Mitch and Landa was necessary. A skate sesh, beers and hang outs being musts.

Kelowna on a spring afternoon.

Landa loves the B!

Winter’s classic NG collection.


The drive to Fernie was beautiful, passing through Nelson, Creston and Castlegar on the way. It featured everything from Big Horned Sheep, large mountain passes and prairie fields.

Arriving in Fernie displayed many emotions, the town of Fernie is beautiful, a wall of giant mountains to the North and East, the Kootenay and Rocky Mountain ranges slam together here creating one of the most picturesque snow covered rock formations.

After picking up Arija….Quick back-story, Arija is one of my best friends, we’ve known each other a long time, my sister from another mother if you will. We had been looking forward to spending time with her all winter, stoked to finally see her! Anyways, after picking her up from the mountain (she is a snowboard instructor for Fernie Ski Resort), it was game on. Much of the week involved either resting or full on activities. We invaded her beautiful basement apartment (which had an unreal view of the mountains), and had two solid days of spring slush riding. One of the days being the infamous Hot Dog day, a day dedicated to a weird 80’s ski movie. Everyone dresses up with retro gear, shares a couple beverages, rips around the mountain and just gets loose. It was a rad time, classic mountain culture stuff. Even though we didn’t get to experience a pow day, Fernie was super fun. The mountain features 7 different bowls, the runs are steep, and versatile. This place would be heaven on a deep day. The park was awesome, mellow and good features, the slush conditions allowed everyone to step it up a bit, high stoke for sure. The rest of week involved watching a local band, Shred Kelly kill it at the town bar, lots of coffee (Fernie has a tons of local coffee shops, Mugshots Cafe being our favourite), hanging with friends, vegging out and straight up couch time. Couldn’t of asked for anything else. Thanks again Arija for being the best, showing us an insane time, introducing us to awesome people, giving us your bed and letting us use your shower everyday, we really needed it. Much love dude.

Couple goats, Fernie bound.

Mountain corridor traffic jams. Somewhere between Nelson/Fernie.

We found the elusive Arija <3

First day in Fernie was Bluebird!

Parking lot views.

Ideal spring weather.

Fernie providing the views


Hot Dog Day in Fernie.

Smiles for days.

Stoked, (slightly intoxicated) crew!

Messy…

A tired crew!

Coffee run.

Fernie mountain tops.

Arija’s hood.

Fernie’s Skatepark

Last night in Fernie 🙁


Following the Fernie adventures, we decided to head back to Kelowna to catch warmer weather and get some more hang time in with Mitch, Landa, and Ian before heading back to Ontario.

On the way back, Nelson was an obvious stop. We took a day to head up to the Ainsworth Hot Springs, about 30mins north of Nelson. The springs feature both a warm mineral pool and a cave, where you can wander in a loop through the cave that is carved out of the mountain side. Felt good, the muscles thanked us.

Somewhere between Fernie and Creston.

Made it to Ainsworth Hot Springs!

Into the steaming cave!

Relaxing the muscles.

Back in Nelson for a quick layover.



Arriving back in Kelowna, we did the usual; hiked, errand runs and hanging out. Although, we were treated to an incoming storm. My phone sent me an alarm stating Big White was about to get a dumping, 30cms to be exact. Mitch, Kayley and myself dropped everything and made our way early the following morning. The parking lot was empty, allowing us to enjoy this day all to ourselves. It was hard to top many of the days we had this winter but this day was for sure up there. Mitch knows the mountain well, so he knew the good and deep spots. It was a day to get sendy. Both Kay and I were stoked to share this day with Mitch, super fun dude to ride with and just be around! Knowing this was our last pow day of the season was sad, but the fact it was on April 13th and pow day #30 made us feel a little better about it.

Osoyoos! Canada’s only true desert!

Skaha Bluffs in Pentiction.

Skaha Bluffs.

Didn’t find the rest of it…

Badass Van in Kelowna.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to happen….

Spring pow day. (Big White, BC)

Yeeessshh!

Pre-run planning.

A Happy Mitch.

Never a bad day at Big White.


We meet up with Kayley’s friend, Ian, later in the week. Him and his partner, Steph are avid climbers. They made the move to Kelowna, mainly due to it’s proximity to the Skaha Bluff’s in Penticton, a climbing haven. They were nice enough to allow us to tag along on one of their early season climbing adventures. Kayley was psyched, she loves climbing. My knee feeling blown out, I opted to spend the day watching and resting. All three of them killed it, mastering every climb they faced. It was super cool to witness.

Kayley getting elevated. (Skaha Bluffs, BC)

Killed it.

A climber’s paradise.

Ian doing his thing.

Kayley showing off.


After saying our good-byes to everyone, it was time to start making our way out east. Thanks to Mitch for everything you did for us this winter, sure made life a lot easier. Landa, thanks for the laughs! Ian and Steph, thanks for a rad day at the Bluffs and the hospitality. See you next winter!

The drive from Kelowna to Banff was just as beautiful as ever. Easily one of the best drives in Canada, even all of North America. The rise of spring was evident, the snow diminishing and green beginning to become prevalent again.

Banff is always special, it’s an easy place to be. It’s one of the most sought out places to visit in the world. Being back here felt fitting. It was the first place we stopped at for a couple days when we first arrived in the mountains back in the fall, and we strapped in for the first time this season at Sunshine Village on Kayley’s birthday. Now, it was going to be the last place to hang on the way out of the mountains, and closing the season out with our final day shredding at Sunshine Village on my birthday. Kind of funny how it went full circle. Our last day at Sunshine was eventful, I wouldn’t call it a pow day but there were freshies to be had, maybe 10cms. Also, the Holy Bowly event was going on. Pros are invited to rip this skate style inspired park. The event has no winners or losers, it’s all about fun. It was rad to sit and watch my favourite riders demolish the course. I even shared a couple runs down with them! Best way to spend my birthday! Thanks babe for making it great 🙂

The rest of our time in Banff was spent wandering around, checking out the surrounding beauty, made a trip up to Lake Louise to see the glacier and squeeze in a quick visit with Arija after her CASI test.

Yoho National Park, BC.

Boarder of Alberta/BC.

Parkway in Banff National Park, AB

Rundle Mountain.

Downtown Banff views of Cascade Mountain.

I promise you she’s stoked.

Back in paradise. (Sunshine Village, AB)

Up there…

Shredding with a view.

Watching legends rip at Holy Bowly.

The Holy Bowly setup was insane.

One of the best events of the year.

Magpie & Stump in Banff is 10/10.

Our view each morning.

Hmmmm…

Lake Louise, AB. Tourist central.

Spray River, Banff.

Bow Falls.

More tourists at Bow Falls.

Dipping her fingers in the ice cold water.

On the way out of the mountains.

See ya next winter you big rocky structures.

Skate break in Calgary.


No doubt it was sad to see the mountains go, but it was exciting knowing we were headed back to Ontario. We made a pit stop to see Cisco in Drumheller, AB. Just like we did on the way out in November. Cisco being who he is, he let us hang with him for the weekend, toured us around the Badlands, fed us way too much food and watched way too much television. It was worth it. Cisco, it’s always awesome to see ya and thanks for opening up your house to let us recuperate.

Another skate break in Drumheller, AB. Super fun park for a small town.

The infamous Drumheller T-Rex.

Prairie cruising with Cisco.

Horsethief Canyon Badlands.

Prairie Ninja.

The princess on her throne.

Dinosaur County.

Thanks Cisco for letting us invade your home for a couple days!

When you thought winter was over….

Spring snow in the Badlands.

April 25th, snow in central Alberta.


Our drive back across the country was both eventful and non-eventful. With most Provincial and National Parks still closed, and the lack of interested in stopping in the cities, we pulled long days in the van, just trying to get back to Ontario. The excitement of wanting to see everyone was evident. We thought spring was ready to peak it’s head out but once we arrived in Ontario, that clearly wasn’t the case. We awoke to a snowstorm in Kenora, making the drive to Marathon less than enjoyable, luckily we just missed the insane ice-storm that came through Thunder Bay. Most of our drive through Ontario in late-April felt more like late January. Although, once we pulled closer to North Bay, the weather started to take a turn for the better. Once in Ottawa, all we wanted to do was see everyone we missed over the winter, and thankfully everyone made time to hang out which was rad!! Between the hang outs, catching up, adventuring, and enjoying some drinks, the days we spent back in the capital flew by as expected. Thanks to all our awesome friends for making the time to see us, letting us use your showers and making us feel at home!

And it’s gone.

Found more snow in Kenora, ON. (April 27th)

Cruising through a wintery Northern Ontario. (April 28th)

I think winter disappeared a little too quick for this fella. (Blind River, ON)

Back in Ottawa, hanging with the fam (Matt, Kay, Vick, Nick) in Gatineau Park. It’s official, we are back.


Without getting all sentimental and emotional, the 7 months we spent on the road, doing what we wanted, when we wanted was all we could of asked for. The freedom to explore this amazing country along with experiencing the insane beauty of the United States; whether it was chasing snowstorms, hanging out by the ocean, sleeping in the desert or adventuring with friends, it was everything Kayley and I hoped it would be. Kayley was a trooper, from being trapped with me in a 18 x 7ft box on freezing nights to driving up and down sketchy mountain passes in blizzards, she is the ultimate adventure companion, I’m super thankful to have her and to have shared all of this with her by my side. Thanks again to everyone who helped us out along the way and opened up their homes to give us a shower and warm place to hang out! Much love,

Chris

The Trump Land Snowboard Tour Part 2.

2 Apr

We could of easily spent a week at the National Monument but it was time to move on. The upcoming destination was Yuba State Park, smack in the middle of Utah. The trek in whipped through more of the San Rafael Desert. Finding ourselves taken by all the amazing desert landscape. We arrived at an empty Yuba Lake Campground and found a spot right next to the lake. Another peaceful area to call home for the night. The weather was the warmest we had felt in 5 months, so I pulled out my skateboard and ripped around the campground while Kayley threw her feet up to relax. We sat by the fire, had a beer or two, peered out over the moon lit lake and surrounding snow covered hills.

San Rafael Swell, Central Utah.

Ivy Canyon Rest Area

Ivy Canyon

Yuba Lake State Park, Utah

Relaxing….

Hello Skateboard, I missed you.

Another masterpiece of a dinner by Kayley!

Sunset in Utah

Easy on the eyes.


We awoke to the warming sun, and hopped back onto the I-15N towards Salt Lake City. With the windows down we cruised to Nevada. Once out of the city and towards the Utah/Nevada state boarder, the Bonneville Salt Flats made an appearance. An illusion, these flats look more like a forever stretching white lake. It’s not until you dip your foot in do you realize it’s a field filled with mushy, damp salt. Here is where they have many car events, most famously, where people continually try and break the land speed record.

Adventure Mobile/Home/Office.

Getting caught up on the history.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

A weird sight.

She isn’t sure if she is getting her shoes wet or salty.


Can you guess what the first thing was we saw as we pulled through the Nevada boarder?….A casino. This isn’t my first time to Nevada but was Kayley’s first, I had been to Las Vegas years before, so my descriptive image of the state was a wasteland with casinos littered everywhere, I wasn’t expecting much.. In a sense I wasn’t wrong but it was clear after driving through it, there was beauty to the land of gambling.

The northern section of the state featured green fields filled with livestock, zero major cities, snowy mountain tops in every direction and a never ending highway. A real peaceful place.

We arrived at South Fork State Park, about 20 miles south of Elko, on a stellar afternoon. We had the grounds to ourselves, so we both enjoyed long, well needed showers, cooked up a cast-iron meal, aired out the van and gazed upon the South Fork Reservoir (They don’t really have natural lakes around here so they have to make them). The night mirrored the previous evening, a starlit lake with the sun setting behind the mountain range. With no one else around, it gave us a quiet night to rest.

South Fork Recreation State Park, Nevada

Nevada, you are a lot cooler than I thought.

A view I wouldn’t get tired of.


With excitement, we continued to move towards Squaw Valley. The remaining drive through Nevada was as great as the prior day, and just like when we entered, we left with the sight of casinos. Never change Nevada.

As we made our way into the Lake Tahoe area, the insanity of their record breaking winter season was evident, snow piles easily stood 2-3 stories high. No wonder they had to shut this area down for days at a time over the last couple months. We were lucky to be arriving mid-week, this gave us the chance to park for free at the Squaw lot! (They don’t allow parking on the weekends). As much as camping out at different spots is rad, it puts a hole in the pocket.

We arrived at the Lot just as the sun was setting.


Like most of the days this month, day one at Squaw was filled with minimal clouds and tons of sun. If it wasn’t for the wind, we would of been cooking. The snow was slushy immediately since the temps didn’t drop below zero that night. It was clear to say we could chalk this down as another rad spring day. Squaw is super fun, lots of steep runs and with all the snow, it was fair game wherever you decided to take your board. The park and mini pipe were fun to play around on with the super soft snow, we didn’t take many breaks. By the time 2:30 rolled around, we were pooched.

🙂

Good Morning Squaw!

Hello Lake Tahoe.

A ride in Starbucks. For all the lazy folks.

Steep slush lines!

Fair to say it was a solid day.

Beer time!


Friday was filled with much of the same, the sun was back out in full force and no wind allowed that snow to be soft quick. Repeating what we had done the day before, knowing the sweet spots gave us the chance to rip what we wanted before packing it up and moving onto our next destination.

Another rad day of slushy turns.


We wanted to stay longer but with the lots only being available on weekdays and all the local campgrounds are buried in snow which wont melt till July, it was necessary to get outta there. The Tahoe area is somewhere we plan on coming back to in the summer months to experience everything else it has to offer. The Sierra Nevada is clearly a rad place to be.

After being at Squaw, that finished all the resorts on our Mountain Collective Pass we planned on hitting during this tour. At this point I think we had ridden 11 of the 16 days that month. It was fair to say we were feeling a little worn. To rest our bodies and mental state, the coast was our new destination. With it being out of reach from Lake Tahoe, we stopped off at a campground just south of Redding, California. The drive in changed drastically, in 4 hours it went from snow, forest and mountains, to palm trees, lush green fields and flowering plants.

Making our way across California.


The campground that night was nothing to write home about. It was busy, no real privacy between each site, at least it was a safe, and a cheap place to sleep.

Spring has arrived!


Our trek towards the California coast, more specifically the Redwoods left us antsy. We were super excited to get there so our patience wasn’t evident, no to mention a giant rockslide delayed us a good 45mins somewhere along the way. A rockslide that happened maybe a couple hours before…. 

It took out the whole road…


In coastal fashion, we arrived to rain. A real change from the last 2 weeks of pretty much straight sun. Our plan was to see as much of the Redwoods as possible, so we started at the south end of their range. Humboldt State Park located an hour and a half south of Eureka, features a solid starting point for seeing these ginormous plants. The rain continued to pour harder but being in the presence of these trees kind of makes you forget how soaked you are. The park is located along the Avenue of the Giants scenic drive, hugged into the deep end of giant Redwoods. It was cool to see the van parked underneath the canopies. As much as we wanted to spend more of the night outside, the rain didn’t allow it.

Humboldt State Park, California

Cooking in the rain.

Anything for food!

Ya, that is one whole tree trunk.

A thousand year old Redwood.

And it’s only March…


Luckily for us, the rain let up the next morning, allowing us to enjoy the entirety of the Avenue of the Giants drive without rain, we even had breaks of sun that morning. The drive, dipping and dodging through these 300 foot trees is an unreal site, mind bending to think how big they truly are.

Hard to take a steady picture in a moving van.

Parked along the Avenue of the Giants.

Giants in the Lady Grove Park.

Misty Coastal Morning.


Our day ended at Jedediah Campground in Redwoods National Park. Located at the northern section of the park, just south of the Oregon border. The park was one of the nicest I’d ever seen. Each spot encompassed by the greenery, and with the giants all around, you could sit down and stare up for hours. With the rain making its delay, we were able to have a big fire, Kayley cooked up an awesome stew and shared a couple cold ones. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Jedediah State Park, California.

Chillen….

Kayley cooking up!

Lentil Stew!

Not many words can describe this.


The rain returned the following morning, but since we were headed to Oregon, it seemed appropriate. Our mission was to complete the drive of the Oregon coast with having done the northern half in January. Along the way up we stopped off at the Natural Bridge Viewpoint, Umpqua Lighthouse Park, Coos Bay before arriving at Jesse M. Honeyman State Park located in the Oregon Sand Dunes. The campground reminded us of being back in the Redwoods with the similar, damp, coastal feel. The rain persisted but we decided to explore anyways. Buy a good rain jacket, it’ll prevent you from saying you can’t have fun in the rain. 

Natural Bridge Viewpoint, Oregon.

The picture doesn’t fully encompass this scene.

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Oregon.


A few clicks away from the main campground, rainforest trails lead you out to the land of sand. There were dunes that stood an apartment building tall and yes, we climbed up! Close by featured lots of off-roading tracks, clearly an awesome place to do that, the surrounding area was huge with sights of the ocean in the distance.

Green is in season.

Entrance to the Sand Dunes!

Up we go!

Oregon Sand Dunes.

Coming down was easier.


The wet ground didn’t permit a fire, but the area around us was all we needed to stay outside and enjoy the Oregon beauty. Oregon State Parks are the best, always beautiful sights, clean hot showers and affordable!

Morning Greenery!

Oregon is hard to beat.


The rain continued and we finished off the coastal drive the following morning. Kayley, since our last trip to Oregon, had talked about and hoped to see a whale. Luckily for her, this would be the month to see one since they are currently migrating. We stopped off at a viewpoint just south of Yachats, and just as we step out of the van, a nice woman informs us there are whales moving by. Kayley was astatic. They move quickly, but we were able to see a couple fins, barnacle covered backs and water spouts. An awesome way to wrap up the Oregon tour. Thank you Whales!

Whale Watching somewhere just south of Newport, Oregon.

Kayley scoping for those Whales.


Our pit stop for the night was Portland, and with the previous visit being a little bit more miserable, it was nice to experience the city on a overcast afternoon. We caught some wifi at a local Starbucks, got things in order and relaxed in a familiar area.

A week or so ago I had said to Kayley, if Mt. Hood or Baker is getting snow on the way back to Canada, we are going, no questions asked. As I sit in the Starbucks, I pull open some forecasts and what do I see…Baker is expected to get 30-40cms the following day. I looked up at Kay and said, we are going to Baker tomorrow and without hesitation she said, sounds good! Like I said, no questions asked haha. If someone ever says to you “We are going to Mt. Baker”, don’t ask why, just know it’s for a good reason.

With a quick stop at a Sonic (the best American fast food chain), we arrived at a rainy Glacier, Washington. With rain meant the upper levels had to be getting snow. As we made our way up the 542 Summit Hwy, the rained turned into snow. After checking the van in, the snow grew harder and harder. The stoke for tomorrow was high.

The Yeti in its natural habitat. Mt Baker, Washington.

Sun goes down, the snow picks up.


Us and two other campers awoke to a fully white parking lot, and with a couple inches built up on the side mirrors, it was clear today was going to be a deep day.

If every morning could only be like this.

Our personal pow measuring stick.

Baker Lodge Kitty!

Get it?


As the time grew to 9am, we stood third in line and with barely anyone in the lifeline, the turns were going to be endless! The ride up Chair 8 really proved how much snow they received overnight, we pointed each and every direction figuring out where we wanted to ride first, but once we got to the top, the plan was forgotten and went wherever our boards took us. Kayley and I have had our fair share of pow laps this season and after that ride, we both agreed it was the best of the season. A feeling you cannot describe and a feeling you continually try and chase.

Chair 8 Stoke!

The fresh is evident.

Paddled out to a nice swell.

Yeww!

Snow in every crevasse.

Still so much to be had!

The stoke was the highest it’s ever been.


The remainder of the day kept getting better, we hung around Chair 8 the majority of the day, and with no one around, new, fresh lines were there all morning. By the time noon rolled around, both realizing we had easily lapped 8-10 runs of pure joy. The sun began to show its face and with the warmer temps, the snow started getting heavy. Not wanting to call it a day although everything was tracked and with our legs on fire, it was time to say good-bye to this paradise.

Baker in all its beauty!

Cruising through the Chowda!

Dropping!

See you next winter Mt Baker! You treated us more than well!


Mt. Baker is a special place, it finds itself squeezed between two beautiful mountains, Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. Having yourself positioned up there, looking down at a fresh powder line with complete silence (other than all the happy shredders screaming Yew!!) festers a feeling that only can be describe as sublime. Not to get all emotional about it, but as a snowboarder, this is home. Also, it’s super cool that it’s family owned, hosts the Legendary Banked Slalom and people who ride Baker are grassroots individuals who care about being on a board or skis. We will be back Baker, and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.

The Legendary Baker Banked Slalom.


After taking off our soaking gear and enjoying some lunch, we made our way back to Canada, making it to Vancouver late afternoon. The last month was rad, we saw so much cool shit, met amazing humans, and rode our snowboards at places we had only ever dreamed about riding at. The US hosts some of the best terrain for snowboarding, hiking, skating, surfing, sight seeing and just relaxing. From the mountains, to the desert and the salty coast, there is endless places to enjoy. North America is an amazing continent, and for us there is still so much to see. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why so many North Americans travel across each ocean to escape, I’m sure they have their reasons, but for me, I will spend my entire life trying to witness everything it has to offer.

-Chris