above; shot by Dave Cavanagh, McGill trees, Rogers Pass BC. better to be shot by Dave than run over by him skiing, I hereby testify!
You’ve probably heard about it. You’ve read it in the paper. Heard speculation in the lift line. Seen the quiet backcountry gates, the empty carparks at your favourite touring haunts. Avalanches. They’re exacting a heavy toll this season, right across Western Canada and beyond. It’s been a grim time, with too many close calls, and fatalities. The instability persists, and hopefully is acknowledged an countered by caution from all manner of backcountry users. How have I been dealing with it? Skiing pillows. Tree skiing and pillows are two of the finest joys of this sport, and relatively safe if you pick the right ones, areas with no substantial start zones within or overhead. In Alberta, the pillows do tend to crack off at the roots whilst riding them, which can be spicy(be aware!) but at least you don’t have to drive hours from canmore to get there.
In late February, I was home from the FWT for a few weeks, and snow quality was finally on! A persistant slab issue was already causing havoc however, with high accumulations of storm snow failing to bond to the associated sun crusts and persistent weak layers below, the gift of one month of drought during my absence. I was loving it though, splitting my time between kicking horse, and appropriate terrain in rogers pass and the rockies, including a local pillow zone I first visited in 2012, but for some reason have neglected since. The last 4 days I’ve also been exploring the same general area, but here are a few taster shots from one day in Banff National Park during that first period with photographer Dan Evans, http://www.danevansmedia.com/. Dan is a local fixture, skilled behind the lens and a snappy fast ski tourer, what more could you want. Here you are;