From Snow to Salt

7 Feb

Oregon is the state I was looking forward to the most, it features everything I love about being outside, ocean, mountains, tons of snow, desert and pristine fishing rivers. I would move to this state in a heart beat.

Anyways, we arrived at a warm, sunny Mt. Hood after a windy drive along i-85 (Columbia River Gorge), the lingering ice and cold wind deterred us from stopping at all the waterfalls along the way. We pulled into Government Camp, OR to pick up supplies and our parking pass ($12 for 3 days). The Whitefish Sno-Park about 8kms east from town, gave us a great access point to view Mt. Hood and surrounding area. We took in as much of the warm sun as we could, both forgetting what that felt like, it has been weeks!

Pulling into the State Forest

Pretty girl with pretty views

Whitefish Sno-Park

Cooking up some grub

Good eats (Lentil Tacos)

Ending the day at the arcade.


With sun and positive degree temperatures, the following day spawned perfect weather to get on our snowboards. We headed to Mt. Hood Meadows (through the recommendation of Brooke from YoBeat). The mountain was experiencing an inversion (warmer on the summit than on the base), so it was a day of slushy laps and with Meadows having rad sub-alpine terrain, we were like kids at a playground, endless fun. I even messed around on the half-pipe, I was feeling confident, I hadn’t stepped into one of those for a couple years, felt good to scare myself a bit haha. Not one bad lap was had, all the hype of this place was justified. With zero lift lines, we for sure broke personal records for laps in a day.

Today is going to be a good day

Hello Meadows

Good Morning

Sun and Smiles

Alpine views

Meadows had me tweaking!


The next 2 days weren’t as pretty, it rained, a lot…. We hunkered down, listened to podcasts (Joe Rogan Experience, Stuff You Should Know, Monday Morning w/ Bill Burr, Powell Movement), read and watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the usual down day stuff. Relaxed…

Bend, Oregon was the new destination following the storm, first was heading to Tumalo State Park located a couple kms north of Bend, with their warmer weather, we needed to fulfill our itch for a campfire. Our spot was notched into part of the high desert and gave us a sweet spot to be outside, shower, explore the snowy desert and put our legs up by the fire and enjoy a couple beers.

Entering the High Desert

Tumalo State Park

Cast Iron Cooking (Roasted Chicken w/ Veggies)

Walking around the Deschutes River

Looking out for Steelhead

Big desert trees

I’ll be back to fish this in the spring!

Snow couch hangs!

Fire Roasted Brussel Sprouts w/ Sweet Potato Stew!

Kayley trying to get the fire started.


With the Yeti and everything inside doused in the intoxicating aroma of camp smoke, the dirty beast and ourselves headed down the road to Bend to gather the necessary supplies before moving up to Mt. Bachelor for the next couple days.

The decision was to stay in the lot of the resort, and be able to step out our front door and onto the lift getting first tracks like we usually do. The weather from town to the mountain changed drastically, going from dry and sunny to complete whiteout. Although, with a whiteout comes likely pow turns, so despite almost spinning out into oncoming traffic, we were stoked. Once arriving, we parked ourselves in the RV line with a multitude of other shred-mobiles, settled in and got ready for next couple days of sliding sideways. Timing worked out for us, the storm moving in was said to dump more than originally predicted. The plan was to only ride for a single day, but it’s too hard to not want to have another day to utilize what Bachelor had to offer. It was more expensive than we had hoped, especially with our dirt poor Canadian dollar.

A bit of sketchy drive to the mountain

We made it!


The next morning, we awoke to the van covered in a blanket of frozen precipitation, we quickly ate, threw on our gear and rushed to the lift line (even though it was weirdly empty). More excited than ever, we arrived at the top of the main lift and off we went, finding all kinds of the good stuff. Bachelor has been getting more snow than anywhere else this season and it showed, there wasn’t of a lack of snow anywhere, it could be found at every turn. The mountain has a new chair and terrain introduced this year, Cloudchaser, probably my favourite place to ride so far this season (I think I’ve said that every post). For a Sunday, the hill was empty and with the snow pumping, we were finding pillow fields from start to finish of the day.

Hello Snow!

Blasting off

Beautiful day

His and hers

Getting lost with this one with always fun

Kayley slashing

Pillow lines

Turning and burning

Weeee!


The end of the day came before we wanted it to but there was always tomorrow. Other than Bachelor being a mecca of great riding, a huge pull to come up there for me was being able to witness, pro snowboarder, Co-founder of Drink Water and all around rad dude, Austin Smith, and his Fire Truck camper. His plan for the winter is to spend the majority of it at Bachelor, riding everyday and living simply in his camper. He is originally from Bellingham, WA, but his family moved to Bend, OR when he was a young teenager, Bachelor then becoming his local mountain, it’s easy to see how he became such a gifted shredder. Austin has been a hero of mine since I can remember and he’s been a big inspiration for how I live today. I mustered up the courage to knock on his camper door and say hello! He was super welcoming, letting Kayley and I come in and warm up our cold bodies. It was hard not to fan out haha. Being the down to earth guy he is, we was interested in how our trip was going and was whiling to answer any weird question I asked. After chatting for an hour or so, still in our gear, and not wanting to impede on his privacy, we decided to leave and go change. Austin immediately said, go change and come back, dry out your gear and I’ll make some dinner. An offer I couldn’t turn down. We took of our wet gear, and arrived back at his camper (brought him the gift of loose leaf tea-bags since a guest left him loose leaf tea and didn’t have the resources to enjoy it haha), along with becoming his new neighbour, since all the weekenders had left. The rest of the night we discussed how he came about on this camper; originally from Michigan, his brother bought it a couple years back with money he had lent him, and drove it across the country to Bend, mentioning that it cant go more than 30MPH. It sat for a couple years until Austin decided to do something with it. It’s outfitted with a mini wood stove that functions as heat and stove for cooking, a few solar panels to power the couple of lights, laptop and other little electronics. Drawers for woods, gear and other miscellaneous items, his Himalayan North Face suit named ‘Bernie’ and a Yeti cooler filled with food which is usually stuff people drop off for him. The coolest part was his boot drying system, old bindings are strapped to the roof above the stove and he allowed me to throw mine up there for the time being. After years of exploring the world and always being on the move, he wanted a winter to enjoy his home mountain and live simple. I wouldn’t call it private though, since people are always stopping buy to see inside. We continued to chat over soup that a fried dropped off for him. He told us about all his trips, what were his favourites (Alaska is by far the best according to him) and about the snowboarding industry in general. A special moment for sure, surreal to say the least. The hours went by quickly and it was time for us all the hit the hay, another day of riding was in the mix for all of us. It was clear that I went to bed with a massive smile.

Neighbours w/ Austin Smith! Very rad.


The next day was as rad as the last. The snow continued through the early morning and with the lack of wind, alpine opened and with it being closed the last couple days, the snow was deep. The sun peaked it’s head out as we were riding the peak chair and the ride down was insane, surfing steep and deep pow gives you a feeling next to none. The peak unfortunately was tracked out pretty fast since everyone headed up that way to start their day as well. We moved back over to Cloudchaser to enjoy all the pillow fields we had found the day before. To add to my list of seeing pros, Tim and Hannah Eddy, the two behind Do Radical, were in the lift line behind us, and we saw them filming for the day. I was hoping to talk to them but they were busy people and left after their session. After another solid day in the books, we chilled outside the van, cooked, enjoyed a couple beers, hung out with Austin and his buddy, Logan. They checked out our camper, found out Austin loves Canadian Tire and even had the chance to witness him move the Fire Truck to right beside us (it was a struggle). Tired and with the cold air taking over, we all went to bed early. The following morning, it was time for us to move on, we said bye to Austin, thanked him for the hospitality, being the cool guy he is, he gave us some Smartwool socks, and told us his home address to park at for the night in Bend. Thanks again Austin, it was huge highlight in my life. I recommend going to Bachelor, very easy terrain, it’s always snowing and as Austin put it, “Bachelor is the same thing as Baldface, except half the price”.

Kayley gettin’ it!

Yah Babe!

Still some goods to be had!

Tomahawked

 

 

Shred Mobiles


Arriving in Bend, we stretched our legs by hiking Pilot Butte, located in the middle of town, checked out downtown, grabbed groceries, parked up at Austin’s place and had grub at Spork through his recommendation. It was hands down the best food we’ve had in years. A fusion of Thai and Mexican food, the best two cuisines in my option.

Pilot Butte Hike, Bend Oregon

Views of the Three Sisters Mtn Range

Up and up!

Thanks Austin for letting us use your driveway for the night!


Getting tired of the colder weather and with Northern California shut down by a massive storm, we decided to head to the coast and warm up our frozen bones. A long drive through the mountain, we arrived in Newport, OR. Thankfully it was warm, around 8 degrees. With time to kill in the day, and Kayley being highly excited to see the ocean, we checked out Yaquina Lighthouse State Park. It is home to tide pools and an insane view of the ocean. The next couple hours were spent looking at all the marine life, from starfish to seals, Kayley was like a little kid in a toy store. Before night set in, we parked up just outside the park and enjoyed a nice warm van.

Nasty Mountain drives

We made it to the Pacific!

Yaquina State Park

Ocean Views

A newt!

Patrick Star!

Sea Urchin

Tide Pools!

Sea Anemone!

Dead Octopus….

Taking artist photos

Seals, the chillest of the sea mammals

Morning views


The next destination was Cape Lookout State Park, with the camping bug being evident, we needed another night of having a fire and sitting under the stars. Along the way we stopped in Pacific City to take in more ocean views, Devil’s PunchBowl Lookout Area and Depote Bay to watch the raging ocean surge throw up waves off the surrounding coastal rock that were easily 30-40ft high.

Pacific City Beach

Devil’s PunchBowl

Depote Bay wave wall


We arrived at the park early afternoon, it’s located between two capes, and within the rainforest. Finding a rad spot in the greenery of the forest, and with the very warm air we wandered around, starred out at the ocean and enjoyed the fire. Again, it was nice to enjoy a hot shower and cook a cast-iron meal.

Our home for the next day (Cape Lookout State Park)

Checking out the slit lumberjacks made on this old stump 60 years ago.

Chillen!

All set up to relax

Cooking up something good!

Campside Enchiladas

Neighbouring ocean views

Paddle out?

Cape Lookout providing very salty views

One of the Three Capes

Exploring the Old Growth Rainforest

The Three Arches

Beach Cape, WA


We arose to a sunny morning, and continued moving our way up the cost, witnessing more great views, eventually arriving in Olympia, WA, with the hopes of driving alongside Olympic National Park the following day, but at 1:30am that morning, our plans changed. We awoke to loud knocking and lights shining into the van, eventually hearing “It’s the Police, is there anyone in there?” Putting my hands out first through our front curtains, I opened the door up to the officers, asking me who I was? What we were doing? Do you have ID? I stepped out in the street in my boxers and told them we were traveling through and needed some sleep before moving on. They informed me a local called them about a suspicious vehicle. Luckily they were nice American Police, telling me they couldn’t legally tell us to move (It’s legal in Washington State to sleep in your vehicle) but it would be advised to move. I told them we were for sure moving and said sorry for wasting their time. There was no way I was going back to sleep after that, there is something unnerving about standing in the street (in your underwear), with two cops shining lights in your face with a hand on their guns. Kayley hoped up to the driver seat and we made the quick decision to drive back to Canada. We tried to look at the positives and just enjoyed our drive through Washington State in the middle of the night. Thankfully arriving at the Boarder around 5am, the guy was super nice and let us through easily. Finally getting to Vancouver around 6am just as the sun was poking its head out, we laughed and threw our heads into bed. We’ve been on the road now for three months and that is the first time having a problem with our parking spot, pretty good record I’d say.

Our time in the Pacific Northwest was awesome, from insane snow to camping by the ocean to hanging with a legend, it was an experience I’ll never forget. But there is nothing like coming back to Canada after a month in the States. Our crappy dollar, and just feeling a little out of place as a Canadian, it’s always nice to be back in the Great White North.

-Chris

Headed South of the Boarder

30 Jan

Before I get into my next post, I just wanted to say it’s a couple weeks late, while travelling throughout the PNW we were on the move a lot and didn’t have much time to find wifi. I’ll be posting another one within the next week that wraps up our trip down south. Enjoy!

It was finally time to head state side. With the weather in Vancouver being a bit of a bummer, we were hoping for something positive as we travelled across the border. Our first stop in the US of A was Bellingham, WA!

Bellingham was a rad little city, lots of nice locals, tons of organic food markets and cool outdoor vibes. Backcountry Essentials, located right downtown has all the necessary gear for getting out on the mountain, also the top floor holds a bunch of used, vintage quality gear for decent prices, and the shop sells beers, can’t ask for much more in a shop! After cruising around town, we found a good place to park for the night across from Bloedel Donovan Park on the eastern section of town.

Vintage Vans (c.1996)

Bloedel Donovan Park


There wasn’t any snow in the forecast for the next couple days, to fill in the time between storms we headed down towards Seattle, but decided to take the more adventurous route on Hwy 20. The highway takes you through part of the San Juan Islands, providing views that are pretty unreal. Deception Pass State Park gives the best views of them all. A giant suspension bridge connects the mainland to Whidbey Island, a place you could easily spend the day staring out towards Olympic National Park.

Deception Pass Bridge

Olympic National Park in the distance.

Hwy 20 eventually brings you to the bottom of the Island at Clinton, where we took a connecting fairy to Mukilteo, a short ride but worth it! On the ship, we met this rad local, Jason, who we chatted with briefly about our trip and snowboarding in general. He gave us his info and has been feeding us with great info/tips ever since. Thanks Jason, you’re the man, let’s hopefully ride sometime!

Traded the van in for a boat.


Once arriving back on the mainland, we drove into Seattle, parked up and checked out the REI downtown. REI’s are the mecca of outdoor gear, I could live in that store, and this store in particular is the original, a little overwhelming but filled with so much sweet gear. Later we headed to the north end of the city to find wifi and a safe place to park. The following day was dedicated to exploring the city. Cold for Seattle standards but a sunny day gave us the perfect atmosphere to walk around. It was a must to caffeinate the day with a Starbucks Coffee (since it’s originally from Seattle), and made our way into the heart of town. The main attraction of the day was checking out Pike’s Place Market. The market is as old as the city itself, a multi-level seafood market that features everything from Crab to locally made soaps. A real cool place, my favourite part of Seattle for sure.

Seattle, WA

Mystery Coke Machine…

Space Needle.

Original Starbucks (1912 Pike Place, Seattle)

Pike Place Market

One of the many levels in the market.

Seafood booths for days.


For lunch we hit up Shorty’s, a hole-in-the-wall bar that plays punk music, has pinball machines and serves up insanely good hot dogs! Later, we met this awesome guy at the Army Surplus store who gave us some tips on places we should check out on our way up to Mt Baker! He was stoked to meet ‘real’ Canadians haha. Overall, Seattle is an alright place, driving isn’t the best since all the streets are on massive slopes, tons of pot holes and it’s always in gridlock. Apparently it has a severe problem with car break ins which isn’t the best thing for people like us who live in their vehicle. The city is pretty spread out, hard to see in a short period of time but it has tons of cool little bars and shops to check out!

Dawgs, Punk and Pinball, perfect combo.

Coastal Views


The forecast was showing a heavy storm moving towards Mt Baker and we had a couple buddies from Revelstoke who were shredding there for the week, so back north we trekked.

Through the advice from the dude at the Army Surplus store, we drove on Hwy 11 (Chuckanut Drive), it takes you through Larabee State Park, and went to the hidden gem known as Taylor Shellfish Farm. You can buy Oysters that come from the harbour and surrounding ocean right next to the farm. Kayley tried them for the first time, and yes, she liked them, especially with a little lemon and hot sauce. These weren’t no shitty chained restaurant oysters, they were the real deal and we had to shuck them ourselves. Getting the real Sea to Table experience. Support local!!

Cheers!

Shucking

A Bargin!

Larabee State Park

On our way to Mt. Baker, we stopped in Glacier, the last town before the mountain. It was a must for me to check out Mt Baker Snowboard Shop, this shop is living history. Mt Baker and the shop were one of the original places to recognize snowboarding and fully support it. They have signatures inside from every legend and the outside wall has a mural done by the awesome Jamie Lynn.

Many legends have come through here.


We arrived at the mountain mid-afternoon, parked in the back lot with a variety of other campers and waited for the storm to arrive. The wind and snow really started to pick up as the sun was falling and it roared all night, at some points during the night it felt like the wind was going push the van on its side. With the combination of that and the excitement for the following day, not much sleep was had.

The Yeti in its element.


Regardless of the lack of shut-eyed we got up as the sun was rising, using the snow plow clearing the lot as our alarm clock. The snow covered the van, a piece of evidence that today was going to be a good day. We shoved breakfast down our throats, threw on our gear and got in the line with the other storm troopers. We were somewhere between the 10th-15th chairs up and it was off to the races. The fresh was easily 20-30cms deep and light! We mainly stuck ourselves at Chair 5 all day, so many cool little drops and fun places to slash. A plus to riding on a Monday is zero lift lines and you rarely see anyone all day and with the snow coming down throughout the day, the gaps kept getting filled on, no shortage of untouched fresh. Later on, we headed over to Chair 6 and took advantage of the stepper runs but with most of the area tracked out, we didn’t last long over there. It turned out to be another one of those days where you get for it not to end. I even had Kayley hitting mellow chutes! Super cool!

Rise and Shine!

Storm Troopers!

Lady Ripper!

Dropping into the good stuff

 

 

Snow filled faces

Attempt 1: Tomahawked

Attempt 2: Yew!!

Gettin’ some!

Thanks for a radical day Baker!


It was a dream to shred at Baker on a pow day, this mountain has been supporting standing sideways since day one and so much history has been recorded at this place. Nothing short of special!

Originally, we were supposed to meet up with Jay and Julien but when there is no cell service, it’s hard to find one another. Luckily we found them as were having a beer in the lodge. We all chatted about the day and decided to follow them back down to the converted bus they were staying at in Maple Falls. The bus was your stereotypical hippy bus, wood stove, trip blankets, propane oven, and Christmas lights. Julien cooked us up an awesome meal, shared some beers and stories. Worked from the day of riding, we all went off to bed stoked and sore.

Livin’ the van life.

Hippy Bus hangs.


The next morning, they went riding and we headed south as cooler weather was moving in later that day. That afternoon, we arrived in Snoqualmie, WA, a little town east of Seattle for the night. Portland was our next stop and we couldn’t of picked a worse day to do so. We took the scenic route with the hopes of getting a glimpse of Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens but overcasting snow didn’t allow for that. As we pulled closer to Portland on i5, there were hundreds of transport trucks lined up on the shoulder putting on tire chains and the highway had a couple inches of ice packed on, it was gnarly. Still being miles out of Portland, we decided to pull off and find a town to wait this mess out in, eventually ending up in Battle Ground, WA. Due to Portland’s lack of snow clearing equipment, we had to hang in this town for two days, although it wasn’t all a waste. It gave use a chance to get some well overdue errands done. A small highlight would be having extremely good coffee in a cafe made out of an old church! Old Town Battle Ground

Snoqualmie Falls.


As we pull into Portland, the ice on the side roads was horrible. The street we found to park at was not too far from the highway and in reasonably good shape ice wise. It was quite and beside a large city park along with giving us the chance to walk to downtown and see what the city was all about. Everyone we chatted with said how abnormal the weather was, I was starting to believe we were bringing snow everywhere we went, even in the places that rarely see it. The next two days we wandered around town, hit up a couple snowboard shops, Polar Flagship Store, and hung out in coffee shops utilizing the wifi. Also, we consumed possibly the best pizza ever at Sizzle Pie in the East end of the city.

Portland shirt finds.

Evo, Portland knows what’s up!

Old Portland

This pizza was fuckin’ insane.

Damnnnnn

I had a laugh and a beer.


Portland is a place to come back to when it’s not covered by an ice storm. With a massive rainstorm on it’s way, we made our way to Mt Hood, Oregon to ride at Mt. Hood Meadows and adventure around the National Forest. I’m crossing my fingers for good weather.

-Chris