Marmot Day Trip

Last weekend we decided to head out to Marmot and do a day trip. It has snowed a few times in the last few weeks and it was rumored that all the rocks that had been painted white in the off season were now all covered and conditions were prime. It was going to be a busy one so we got started early. Vic called both Colin and I at 4:30 am and a few minutes later he showed up at the house and I started getting my poop in a group. Moments later Rich walked in the door and we were starting to load the stuff.


I grabbed my board and boots and Vic grabbed my backpack and we started to go to the truck. Colin and Rich had ran down the block to push out some damsel in distress who couldn’t figure out how to drive in the snow and had gotten stuck. Little did we know that she was a raging crack head full of booze and or one or more illicit substances. She was spitting profanities like no ones business and decided that after getting unstuck and going down good ol’ 100th street she would be better off to go back, turn down my avenue and ram the truck. Colin was pretty quick to act as the rest of us onlookers watched as our ski trip was about to be potentially put on ice. She ended up stopping about 4-5 feet short of the truck and Colin reversed the whole way down the block into the alley where she was headed. That didn’t seem good enough so he reversed again, this time onto 99th and she finally got to her crack spot and left us alone.


We finally got on the road at about 5:20 am, a little worse for wear mentally but that quickly faded with the prospect of mountains, ski bunnies and good snow on the horizon. We made the traditional quick coffee stop in Edson, and Rich met up with his buddies who we were going to ride with that day. The sun was coming up by then and despite a desperate need to get rid of the Tim’s coffee we just drank, we made tracks for the park gate and rolled up to lot 4 at around 9:15. I knew mike was on his way as well but hadn’t heard from him since we stopped in Edson. He mentioned he was just in Edson and roughly 2 hours from any sort of skiing. Boo-earns.


After a nice first run to the base we went to buy lift tickets and it was a total gong show. People left right and center. A long snaking line of humanity, eager but impatient to get out there and experience the mountain. We took a collective pee break and purged the Tim’s from our bodies before biting the bullet and getting in line. On our second loop in the line, a saint of a man pulled us out of the line and took us to the front of the group sales line and we were off and running.


I don’t know where the miscommunication happened but as soon as we got to the top it was planned to head to the Knob. Now although Victor is one of those guys who is awesome at any sport, he bailed in transit to the Knob chair and while he and Colin were shopping at the yard sale that had ensued they managed to get to low. By this time I had hiked up to the chair and was with Rich and a few cats he knows. I decided to stick with Col and Vic and we planned to meet up again at around lunch time.


Here’s the thing. That never works. You get side tracked. Some one is riding the top when the other party is riding the mid mountain. I found it quite regrettable that we didn’t get to ride much together that day. There will be another trip and maybe we can keep our poop in a group next time. We rode most of the mountains and after hitting the Knob chair till it got busy we spent the rest of the day riding the far right of the mountain. Although the Caribou chair was pretty slow at times the snow was nice and there were fewer crowds then everywhere else. And then a funny thing happened. We caught site of Rich and when we came down he was going up! So we were back together as a unit. And then another thing happened. Mike and Cindy yelled at me from about 5 chairs back of Rich. So now we were really rolling. We did a few more runs and then called it. My ankle was bothering me and it was 10 to 4. What an awesome day.


I’m still hunting for a powder day this season. I think my key is going to be taking a day or so off work mid week when it snows. Beat the crowd’s sort of thing. But there’s hope after all. First week of February we will be in Big White, and I hear it’s sensational.



First Ice Fishing Trip of the Year

Last Saturday I went out ice fishing with my buddy Nathan. We went to high school together but I never went fishing with him I always knew he had a passion for the outdoors that was similar to mine which is always a good thing. The best part about going fishing or camping with new folks is that you get to share all your best stories and they are fresh and new again. The plan was to head out to Jack-Fish Lake early, smash some fish and come back before dark. However, we got a bit of a late start given the blizzard that was raging in and around the Edmonton area. I heard one stat saying that in those two or three days we got as much snow as we had in the entire month of January 2004, when the last big storm hit. And we were going ice fishing – PERFECT!


I rolled over to Nate’s at about 8am and was feeling pretty sleepy, I had gotten a decent night sleep but I wasn’t sure how he was going to be. Nate got off work at around 5 am but when I got to his house he was busy getting his truck prepped. I joined in and soon we were on the road after a quick fuel and coffee stop. The roads were garbage to say the least and we managed to get the truck up to 70 kph on the highway. Pretty impressive, considering the conditions. Once we got onto the secondary highway we got stuck behind a snowplow and were doing about 35 kph. After about a half hour pulled up to the lake. The only problem was that the drive down to the water was so bogged down with snow it was up to my knees. After finding a place to turn around we cut our losses and headed toward Hasse and Spring Lake.


All I wanted to do was to catch some fish. That was my goal. 2010 was a crappy fishing year for me, so I wanted to start 2011 with a fish on the line. I had been to Spring Lake last season with Eric, but I had no idea when to drill a hole. Nate mentioned he had been to Hasse lately and it was good for Yellow Perch, along with some Northern Pike and Trout hanging around. The real gamble was access and not wanting to get stuck we drove down and were pleasantly surprised to find the road had been plowed. The parking lot on the other hand was another story but we went in and had little trouble getting out.


The night before I had had terrible dreams about falling through the ice, and although improbable, the warm weather the week before had created a nice layer of water under the foot of freshly fallen snow and above the foot of frozen lake water below. After getting over it, we drilled a few holes, setting the shack up and putting a Tip-up for Pike a ways away we threw on some maggots and dropped our lines.


It didn’t take long before I landed a nice little Perch. I must say, I love Perch. Even though they don’t get that big, they always bite and a fish on the line is a smile on the face. I was using a two hook system with a Forage Minnow on top and a Black Chironomid on the bottom as I had for the Salter’s trip, but the perch were loving my Chironomid, and hammering it like crazy. It really put a smile on my face knowing that something I tied actually caught a fish.


Even though not many of the fish we caught were keepers it was excellent and I recommend ice fishing for Perch for anyone in a slump or needing a confidence boost. We left at around 3pm, the temp had started to drop and it was getting windy. I was getting a bit chilled and as a result, was getting crabby and hungry so we packed up and made the trip back. It took a bit longer than expected but it was uneventful. When I got home from Nathan’s I noticed I had a flat which was the only downside but other than that it was a pretty perfect day.


My Return to Lake Louise

Victor and I headed out to Calgary to visit Ryan and Domi and go skiing this past weekend. Being New Years day when we left, the roads were pretty quiet and after a few hours we were at Ryan’s and enjoying episodes of The Wire in preparation for the day of skiing ahead.


This was Vic’s first trip to the mountains and my return to Lake Louise after a long absence. I never really liked Louise because she was always icy when I went. But after hearing Ryan rave about it for a few weeks we all decided to give it a shot. Given our collective boredom with sunshine these days and the twinning of the highway to Lake Louise everything was lining up nicely.


Snow reports didn’t look to great since there had been no new snow in the last few days but when we got there at a bit after nine we were pleasantly surprised to find a spot in the first parking lot. After getting suited up I collected my free lift ticket (loving that Lake Louise card) and headed to the quad. Temperatures were hovering around -18 but after a few runs I was nice and toasty warm. I was also wearing my new wool sweater which helped tons.


Ryan played tour guide for us since I’d never really ridden a big portion of the hill before. Over the course of the day we hit up most of lifts and a bunch of trails. I had a few spills but nothing serious and by the time lunch rolled around we were getting some mid-afternoon sun that was softening up the slopes nicely.


After enjoying some chicken fingers and Poutine we headed back out and went to the Larch chair to shoot some video, which can be found on our YouTube account and in the media section.


The rest of the day was cake, fast runs, sharp turns and deep carves punctuated the last hour or so. It wasn’t until the sun went down enough to cast most of the mountain in shadow did I start to tire. I had a particular big spill on my second last run as result of an icy spot and when I got to the lift, the lifty even asked if I was ok. Glad to see someone cared, even though I wished it would have been the hot blond from before as opposed to the Aussie that remained. All in all it was an awesome trip and Vic’s defiantly a skier. It might be his natural skill when it comes to sports but whatever it is I’m glad to have another person to explore the ski areas of this province and beyond.


Now if only I could get a good powder day in…