As we all know, a thin snow pack and low base was the new norm on the Coast, even into January. It sure felt like 'Juneary' on the Coast.
I heard the Okanagan was getting hit, so it was great opportunity to get up to the Okanagan for some downhill skiing on two underrated BC ski hills. Apex in Penticton and Silver Star in Vernon.
Thanks to Johnny, who recently moved his entire family of four kids to Vernon, we had our first taste of dry powder at Silver Star.
By chance we ran into Mat Devlin (who taught our CSGA Level 1 ski guide course) and the trip got even better from there. Running a heli ski operation out of Kingfisher Lodge on highway 6 in Cherryville, he invited us to stay. We holed up and started our hunt for dry Monashees pow.
The plan was to drive up highway 6, pull off the highway, pick a clear cut or obvious treed run and simply start breaking trail. The trees were tight at times but with such dry snow it didn't really matter. One of the better days of the trip was just off a logging road.
Embarrassingly we didn't have snow tires, and the "you must be from the Coast" jokes ensued. But I have many years of sketchy driving experiences. From K-Cars to rear wheel drive Volvos, you just have to make it work. But when you have logging trucks bombing down through the Kootenays, you know they aren't stopping, so you better get out of the way. Just off the logging road we found the elusive pow stashes we'd been looking for. Sort of a mini recon mission. But now we know how to get there for next time, and we'll be better prepared for the driving conditions.
Like many ski trips over the years, the potential for car troubles is always lurking. I've been stuck in Northern California with a non-firing alternator, driven 500km through Nevada with a donut tire, and enjoyed a blown head gasket on the Sea to Sky.
Sure enough it struck again, this time it was brake troubles. Thankfully, locals Kyler and Harold stepped up to the occasion. A few Cherryville errands and a 6 pack of Cariboo later, they got the job done. Great way to meet the true locals of BC. Harold had been wrenching for 50 years since he was seven.
With our ride back on the road, we set out on the next pow chasing adventure.