Getting to know BC a little better.

25 Feb

We decided to make our way back to BC with perfect timing, my dad was on his way to Vancouver for work related activities, giving us the opportunity to spend some well needed time with him. The days leading up to his arrival were mostly spent hanging around, having a night session at Mt. Seymour and relaxing after our go go go PNW adventure.

Seymour Afternoon views

Seymour Night Sesh!


We met him at the hotel in Surrey and after a long hug, we ventured out for dinner and shared stories of the last couple months, impossibility trying to remember everything that had happened. He did his best to make sure our bellies were full, jokingly thinking that we’re a bunch of starving travellers, which does hold some truth. The following morning, he was off to meetings, and we took in the ultimate comfort of the soft hotel bed, and warm shower. Later on, we drove across town to the Sheraton Wall Hotel located smack in the middle of downtown Vancouver. As we checked in, the hotel desk employee was wondering how two people like Kayley and I were staying in a nice hotel such as this, on one of the top floors, and when I informed them we were meeting by dad here, it seemed to make a bit more sense haha. The room sat as high as the rest of the large concrete towers in the city, providing surreal views of the encompassing mountain ranges, and even a nice glimpse of Mt Baker where we once were less than a month ago. To us this was a serious treat but to my dad who spends a large chunk of his life in hotel rooms, he was less taken back by it all. We abused the hotel facilities by taking a dip in the hot tub and sauna, watching cable tv and free coffee. That evening, we all strolled around the water front, discussing how nice of city Vancouver is, grabbed grub at a local pub and catched up on more stories. The visit went by fast like most visits do. But, it was refreshing to see a family member. Thanks again Dad for all the awesome hospitality, it was well needed!

Living Large!

Big Pops!


The forecast was showing a new storm on its way for lower BC, and our plan was to get to Nelson before it hit. The drive from Vancouver to Osoyoos was mellow, making our way through many corridors and snow filled mountain tops, eventually arriving in Canada’s only desert. We wanted to spend the next day exploring around but with the storm making landfall the next morning, we knew we had to keep making our way to Nelson before the roads became unbearable. The van and ourselves arrived in Nelson right as the snow started to pick up and luckily found a spot to park up that was close enough for us to walk into town (The spot wasn’t our first choice since our van failed to make it up a steep hill). Waiting for the snow to build up, the next couple days we explore around the town, it was a place I’ve been waiting on coming to for 25 years. My Nana, Papa spent 30 years in this wonderful place and had been telling me about it my whole life, it was easy to see why. Perfectly placed in the middle of four mountains, the town features a small but unique downtown with tons of coffee shops and local restaurants, no shortage of good meals. The people are chill, nice and welcoming.

Hello Nelson

Blanket Covered

Incoming Fresh!


We had a couple buddies visiting from Kelowna while we were there, after riding we met them at their AirBnB on the north side which featured unreal views of town, grabbed a hot tub soak and chatted about our recent adventuring. The snow at this point was building faster than ever and when we awoke Monday morning, our van was completely buried along with the entire town. Locals were saying this was the biggest storm they’ve had in years, which meant Whitewater was going to be pumping!! As we attempted to dig our van out and hopefully make it up to the mountain, a super nice stranger driving by, Rachel, asked if we were headed up to the resort and needed a ride, an offer we couldn’t turn down, since she had a 4WD vehicle haha. As we pulled into the parking lot, people were pouring in, trying to get a taste of the newly blanketed mountain. You could easily feel the stoke of everyone around, it’s hard to not get excited when you’re about to float through the 40cms of new snow.

Hot Tub viewpoint

Covered…


Once we grabbed our lift ticket and threw our gear into a locker, we got into line, awaited the lift to start spinning and when 8:30am rolled around, off we went, with everyone screaming with excitement. The first couple turns have no words to describe it, it was beautiful. With Whitewater still being a family owned resort, the lifts only host two people, providing the old school powder experience. We spent the majority of day on the Silver King lift, it had plenty of runs that dipped and dodged through the trees and more pillow fields than one could deal with in a single day. Whitewater delivered….and it delivered well. So rad to experience a powder mountain on a powder day, it’s days like this when living in a van in the middle of winter makes so much sense. These are the days you live for and chase on the daily.

The Stoke Is HIGH

DAMN!

Ready to Rip!

Dropping into the good stuff!

Yew!!

Happy Roamers!

Pillow Mania!


Per usual, it’s always sad to see such an awesome day end, but exhaustion was setting in. We hopped in the shuttle, headed back to a snow covered van and spent the rest of the fading daylight digging out our buried home. Our sleep that night came easy. The next day we wandered around town, grabbed coffee at Empire Coffee and with the sun out, it gave us the opportunity to see the snowy mountain walls the encompassed Nelson. It’s clear to see why my grandparents chose to live here for so many years, the place is the template mountain town; nice people, good food, and a pristine outdoor playground, I could see us living here in the future.

Beautiful Downtown Nelson!

Where my Nana used to live!


With the roads and weather making a turn for the positive, we got the Yeti rolling towards Revelstoke. A storm was making its way through within the next couple days and we wanted to be back in Revy for deep and steep laps. The drive was as nice as any other mountain corridor with the added ferry ride that connects the highway routes. We pulled into a sunny and hardly recognizable town since it was covered in white precipitation. The last time we were in Revy, the town had green grass and was raining, winter was showing it’s face in every corner of the province. That night, we hung with friends, shared some brews, played Settlers of Catan (if you have never played this, you are blowing it) and got ourselves stoked for the incoming storm.

The Ferry Highway

The Yeti going for a little boat ride!

Very true

Friends and Board Games, the recipe for lost friendships haha.


The following morning, the snow started to pour as we awoke, as the day progressed it only got harder. As we continued with our errands throughout the day, the town proceeded to become completely buried which could only mean the same thing was happening on the mountain. That night we spent it in the Revy Resort parking lot along with the dozens of other campers, hoping to get a good spot in the line in the AM. The Revy lot always has the best vibes, always filled with tons of shredders who are just happy to be outside and enjoying the mountain, no other BS.

Buried in Revy! Woo!

Good looking Morning!


We awoke to 20cms of fresh up top! Got ourselves in line around 7am, chatted with some locals, grabbed the needed caffeine and stretched the muscles. Luckily for us, we got to spend the day with our good friends, Jay and Julien, along with their local friends, Chuck and Brooke who took us around to the spots only the locals know about. Another one of those days that allowed us to appreciate this life we’re living and how luckily we’ve been this winter. It was a day of jumping off cliffs, bootpacking to bowls filled with the goods and hitting side hits with your friends throwing down. We even had Kayley jumping off stuff! Super rad! Thanks again Jay and Julien for always being the ultimate fun havers and tour guides! Chuck and Brooke, you guys are radical humans and make snowboarding look way too easy!

Up and up to find the goods

Scoping the line

Ready to move out.

3,2,1 DROP!

Breakfast views

Locals know what’s up!

Not a bad place to hang!


Kayley unfortunately felt the oncoming symptoms of a cold the subsequent morning, curtailing another day of riding. We decided to make our way to Kelowna and meet up with Mitch for a relaxing Wax party (Our boards were screaming for a wax job!). The ensuing days we relaxed, hung out with Mitch in his apartment (Thanks again bud for letting us abuse your hospitality!), and hiked around. It was time for us to start making our way back to Vancouver, the catalyst being an RCMP officer questioning me as I was making coffee in our usual public-park spot. He framed his concern more as an interest in our camper, but it was clear he was wondering what I was doing cooking outside the vehicle and what we were doing out here from Ontario. After taking down our info and looking inside our van, he moved on and so did we. Just like what happened in Olympia, WA, I understand the concerns people have but I mean what threat do we really pose, the more people start moving towards this lifestyle or form of travel, I wonder how accepted or persecuted it will become, I guess only time will tell.

We arrived in Vancouver at the beginning of a massive rainstorm, meaning we didn’t do much other than sit in coffee shops and watched tv shows. Really we were just killing time until my brother arrived within the next couple days to shred with us in Whistler for a week. When the rain subsided, we drove to Squamish to see a couple buddies of mine who currently reside there. As we pulled into town and stopped off at the local Starbucks to get in touch with them, I luckily ran into one of them (How’s that saying go? It’s a small world or something like that…). Tony recently moved out to Squamish from our hometown of Ajax, Ontario. His intention was to explore around BC for the winter and spring but once arriving in Squamish, quickly realizing it was too beautiful and offered too much of what he wanted to leave. We chatted for a bit, then later making our way to a local watering hole for happy-hour drinks, with our other buddie Matt eventually making his way over. Matt, also from Ajax, maneuvered his way out here from Nova Scotia last year in his camper, now being settled in with a job at a rad Burger joint that overlooks the coastal mountain range while still living the camper lifestyle allowing him to climb whenever he wants! The next day brought sun, giving it the perfect opportunity for them to tour us around the area and it didn’t disappoint. If you are ever in Squamish, I urge you to check out two things, Howe Sound, probably the most Canadian scenery I’ve ever seen and Matt’s restaurant, The Watershed Grill, between the great beer and food, it’s a must. Tony and Matt, keep living your dreams and being awesome people, the world appreciates it!

Sea Treasure! (Jericho Beach, BC)

Bookstore Kitty! 🙂

Back window views (Squamish, BC)

Rad Artwork Downtown Squam.

Howe Sound!

Little Rainbow Dude

Beautiful Squamton


Matt was expected to arrive as we continued the drive to Whistler. I was pretty excited. He had never been this far out west, and had never rode his snowboard on a mountain like Whistler Blackcomb. He arrived and I couldn’t of been happier to see him! (Also, stoked to be in the presence of a hotel room for the next 6 days.) With the weather looking favourable this week, he was amped to see what this place had to offer. Our first day involved just Matt and myself since Kay was taking the day off to completely recover from her cold. It was a stormy one, but still an enjoyable one for us, Matt got his first taste of the big mountain shred, I even took him to the Flute Bowl and got his legs burning a bit. We met up with my buddy Paz where we spent the rest of the day surfing around, trying to find some fresh. With the snow continuing throughout the afternoon and evening, we knew tomorrow was going to be a stellar one.

A very happy Matt

Matt conquered Flute Bowl

Diving in the shallow end.


I checked my phone early the next morning to reports saying the mountain got anywhere between 15-20cms of new snow! I was stoked to give Matt his first real powder experience. With the Symphony Chair not opening due to Avy Control, we took the Peak2Peak and hit up 7th Heaven on the Blackcomb side and it was well worth it. The deep stuff could be found all day and Matt handled it super well for this being his 2nd day out on his board this winter. I had him jumping over and through trees, spraying the pow around and had him smiling, yelling hell yeah!! Although with Pow days come tired legs, that night we stuffed our faces and sat in front of the tv.

Today’s surf stick

Beautiful Morning

Mystic

Peak2Peak

Peak Views

Slashing around

Hello Birdy

Matt getting the tourist experience

Mayhem

Surf’s up in 7th Heaven


We took a day off, giving us a chance to rest the legs and have a day to completely just chill out. We wandered around the village, grabbed drinks and food at Tapley’s, chatted, consumed more television and grabbed rest for the ensuing day. Our 3rd day on the mountain was a blue-bird one, giving Matt the trifecta of mountain conditions. The day was dedicated to exploring the entire mountain, working our way from the far side on Whistler to the far side on Blackcomb. Groomers in the morning was super fun, great day for laying down heel-side turns and gripping with speed. We clocked many miles that day. By the time late afternoon rolled around, the runs were tracked and icy. With my knee burning and their tired legs, it was a sign to call it day and thank the mountain for all the fun.

Hotel Living

Nothing wrong with a sunny groomer day!

Blue-Birdin it!

Groomed for Speed. Yew!


Of course the week went by fast, before I knew it I was hugging him good-bye, time flies as it does when you are having a good time. It was awesome to spend time with Matt, being able to share moments on our snowboards and enjoy each other’s company. Thanks Matt for choosing to donate your week off with us, probably the best week we’ve had this winter! Can’t wait to do it again bud!

This last month was another one for the books, saw my dad which was refreshing, it was a special moment for me to walk around Nelson after hearing about it since I was a child, spending time on the mountain with good friends, and shredding around Whistler with my brother. Hard not to feel grateful.

Shannon Falls, Squamish BC.


Currently, we are sitting in a Starbucks, multitasking our wifi usage, and getting ourselves ready for a big trip below the boarder. We will be making our way to Sun Valley ID, Jackson Hole WY, Snowbird UT, Snowmass CO and Squaw Valley CA. Regardless of the weather we receive or whatever happens along the way, it’ll be a rad adventure I’m sure.

Remember to Get Out There and be a good human!

-Chris

 

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