We had an epic time shredding powder in couloirs this weekend. I try not to throw around the word epic too much as it has become overused in this Insta-world, but no other word quite captures how amazing it feels to bootpack up a line with sections of hip deep snow, and then ride down under bluebird skies.
photo by Tim Wozney
Saturday I was on a bit of a recon mission in the Yoho area and saw the typical icy suncrust in the morning on all but due North aspects, and a decent amount of wind, so I stuck to a sheltered North facing mini-couloir which did not top out, but was tight enough and steep enough to be a lot of fun, and had really good snow. Despite it being mostly overcast all day, by about 2PM the southern aspects were softened up enough to be fun. At treeline around 3PM a very warm, and strangely dry wind had picked up enough strength to rock the trees and blow my mitts a few feet away when I put them down to fumble with my phone. This made for an uncomfortable skin back to the car, despite it still being quite warm out.
photo by Tim Wozney
Sunday was probably the best snow I have had all season. Mark, Tim and I headed up the Icefields Parkway to ride another North facing couloir. At around 8:30AM we found the fan of the line to be in full sun with a somewhat untrustworthy crust developing over a reasonable cohesive and dense midlayer, especially on the East aspect, so we tried to get into the line as quickly as possible, which was fully shaded all day. Keeping a close eye on the cornice and overhead hazards lurking on the sidewalls, we made our way up the couloir through snow that varied between ankle deep and hip deep, which seemed to be bonding really well for the most part.
photo by Mark Carlson
About 30 vertical meters below the top we decided to pull the plug as we had reached our turnaround time and as we got higher we kept running into sections of 5-10cm thick facet layers over rock, which was both not appealing for riding and a little too reactive to feel good bootpacking.
photo by Rob Hopkins
The ride down was absolutely insane. It was easy to throw up overhead barrels of powder with each turn and at the bottom we were laughing hysterically as we wiped snow from our goggles. Despite it being not too technically to ride, the snow and steepness made it certainly the best day of my season and one of the best in recent memory. So put your mountain bike back in the garage and get out there! You will thank yourself later!!!
photo by : Mark Carlson