The Alberta Boys Ride Big White

Well it’s been about a month since we did the trip but Big White was amazing. I think the reason it took so long to write this was that I’m feeling a bit lethargic. Last time I went to wholesale sports here in Edmonton I was in the fly shop as usual. I was looking for things that I don’t “need” but would help me tie that one fly in my book that I am missing a few things for it. Usually I check the black board where they will have a fly pattern of the week, fishing conditions, etc etc. The quote read something like this:


“Its winter and the fishing is slow, the fish are lethargic and so are the fisherman. Your best bet is to sit down with a drink and tie some flies”


Well I’ve defiantly tied a few in the past month but my productivity in the aspect has gone way down as well.


Colin and I rolled out for Big White at the crack of dawn, and while the road ahead was long, the destination was worth the trip. Things were pretty uneventful until we were in the pass near Mount Robson. The weather had gotten progressively snowier with each mile that passed and we came across this green van that was going slow. I went to pass and my good old Jetta had the engine light actually. It was flashing meaning my catalytic converter was having a shit fit. After a short while it just stayed on and I had a lovely stuttering feeling while going up hills. That combined with the crappy roads and weather stretched our trip a few hours longer than anticipated,


The most memorable thing about the drive was when we were just outside of Kamloops. It was snowing pretty hard and Colin throws this gem my way.


“I know you’re trying to concentrate, but if you stare off and look at the snow coming towards us, it looks like were going light speed”


What a guy, here I am doing only 80-90kph BECAUSE I can’t see anything.


We rolled into Kelowna and up the hill to Big White. We got in right behind a group of about 30 Germans and had to wait another half hour to check in. The bar was still open and after having a few pops we got ready to ski the next day.


The mountain was pretty unreal. Much too much to explore in one day, luckily we had two and rode the short road to the hill. We headed up a few lifts and burned some turns down to the village. A real cool thing was the TELUS chair, which overlooked the TELUS Park. There were a few guys doing some stuff in preparation for the rail jam later that day and the next but that was all we saw. We headed to a place called the Black Forest and when we got there it wasn’t that busy. We had some awesome runs and a few hours later it was getting pretty busy. It was also getting really close to that magical time when man’s legs are tired, his face is wind burnt and the best remedy is a cold beer.


We got the après ski party going at our hotel bar with some Caesars. We moved to a few more places in the village which is really the coolest part about Bit White. Everything is so central. Our hotel was steps from another one. And each one has its own bar, restaurant, vibe and people just like us. Just folks, looking for a cold beer and a good time. Our bartender Stu, from Melbourne, recommended we hit up a place called Gigi’s. He said it was like a classy living room, and it was. Our server there was another Aussie named Neil. Neil joined us for a pint when we had cashed out and he provided us with another tidbit of info on another bar.


So we stumbled across the way to a little bar called Snowshoe Sam’s. Now for those who don’t know, Snowshoe Sam’s was voted “#1 best ski bar in North America”. So we were pretty pumped. We walked in and the place was wall to wall. There were people in ski pants, jackets and toques. The young and the old side by side, and up on stage there was a rocking band playing. We ended up running into a few folks we met at our hotel bar and ended up partying with them for most of the night.


We woke up to massive hangovers. Colin had bought some Eno and Aspirin for the morning just like in Mad Men. We popped those and headed down for breakfast and then onto the hill. Talk about a brutal day. I’d been hung over on the hill before but you know that feeling when you know you have to leave a bar, but it doesn’t hit you till the next day. That was me. We were riding this section of the hill called Jem Lake and it had a variety of more advanced terrain. The main lift went top to bottom and it was snowing like crazy. While this sounds like a dream, as soon as we got to the top it would be a white out. No visibility and snow hitting my hung over face with no mercy.


After a bit of that, we headed in. I thought I was going to puke a few times, but was really having more trouble with basic motor skills like putting on my bindings and standing up straight. It was Super Bowl Sunday and wanting to watch that we got to the hotel ordered some pizzas and watched the pregame. We had to drive the next morning so I packed my bag and went to bed.  


The drive was pretty good till about 30 kms from Revelstoke. It seemed an avalanche had covered the highway – 2 hour wait. After getting through there and having no car problems the “quicker way” ended up taking just as long as our trip up. Go figure.


My thoughts on Big White? Awesome Mountain. Awesome People. Awesome Nightlife. I think it’s a great place for anyone from singles, groups to families. I would like to go with a bunch of people next time. Would I go back? Hell yes but next time I’ll fly. Until next time, hopefully it won’t be so long but if it is, my apologies.