Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vacation in British Columbia

We spent the second week of 2017 in British Columbia (Canada).  We have been eager to return to the Okanagen area just west of the Canadian Rockies to visit with friends and to explore Silverstar Resort.

On Saturday we flew into Kelowna where we met up with Andrew and Brenda, friends we first met through the  Canadian Alpine Club - Montreal Section many years ago.  It had been nearly 10 years since we last visited and it was great to see them both. We didn't spend long in Kelowna. From the airport we drove east to Silverstar Resort where we also met up with Damon and Jayne, friends we recently bumped into during out travels in the Dolomites.  We spent the weekend XC skiing and enjoying catching up with our long-time friends over some great meals.

Brenda and Andrew returned to Kelowna for work on Monday and we continued to explore the vast number of ski trails in the Silverstar Resort and at nearby Sovereign Lake.  One of the reasons we have wanted to explore Silverstar is that it has both nordic and alpine skiing trails, fantastic snow fall amounts, and a small village-like quality.  Silverstar resort is a nice size, easy to get around, and has a charming quality in part due to the brightly colored hotels, huts, condos and homes in the village and dotted around the mountain. We had fantastic accommodations and found it easy to ski from our suite or walk into the village.

During the week we nordic skied with Damon and Jayne, and also used the chair lifts to access the alpine terrain on our snowboards (with Damon joining us on his Alpine Touring skis).  Each day we managed to find the best conditions and plenty of soft fresh snow in and around the resort.

Friday quickly arrived and it was time to pack up our gear and head north-east to the town of Revelstoke to explore a different kind of terrain.  Andrew and Brenda are both bona-fide backcountry skiers and they regularly ski in the mountains around Revelstoke and Rogers Pass near the continental divide.  We were lucky enough to be invited to join them for a couple of days exploring the easier slopes in this area.

On Saturday we parked at Rogers Pass and headed to some easy slopes from the NRC parking lot.  Avalanche conditions (and perhaps our skill level!) limited our options and this option seemed like a sensible way to spend the day.  When we left the car there was a low cloud level and we weren't expecting too much of a view.  Thankfully as we headed higher so did the clouds, and by the time we stopped for lunch the sun was out and the views were plentiful.  We were on our split snowboards and managed to descend through the small trees and outcrops without to much ado.  We got back to the car by mid afternoon and all agreed to head back to Revelstoke for an early dinner and a few drinks.

On Sunday we were somewhat tired from the previous day, and we opted for a short adventure from the Asulkan valley parking lot.  The picturesque ascent wound through the trees and we emerged at the bottom a couple of small and relatively untracked slopes. This time we did two laps (ascent and then decent) before heading back to the car and because we fell down a lot we were thoroughly exhausted by the end of it all!  Thankfully Andrew, Brenda and their friend Steve waited for us at every intersection despite our slower pace.  We thoroughly enjoyed our adventures with them and finished our trip off with a quick meal in Revelstoke before heading back to the airport for our trip home to Connecticut the next day.  Overall, it was a great trip with fantastic skiing opportunities and great company!

Siverstar Village (day)

Silverstar Village (night)

Inverted Snowman sculpture

On the XC trails

Taking a rest at a warming hut along the trail

The warming hut from the outside

"Skinning up"

Clouds clearing.....

Sheri on the way down

Bruno in hot pursuit...

The sun peeks through

Great views

Mountains all around

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