Jim Morrison: part poet, part musician, and now legend made his song “Riders of the Storm” by the Doors from their 1971 album L.A. Woman, infamous for his poems and lyrics..
“Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride”
Well I took his words to heart…
As I took a 10 day road trip for Untracked Guides, I played like a kid and did I ever get to ride..lots of powder.
First stop on my tour was a little known destination that lied only a few miles north of a nordic hip-town called Nelson, BC. Part of the Powder Highway, the town of Meadow Creek, BC is home to a area of mountains that bridges between the Monashees/Selkirk and Rockies, generating deep amounts of legendary snow. All good things for a Catskiing enthusiast looking to experience something out of the ordinary, which is exactly what I found.
An emerging Catskiing company called White Grizzly Adventures has been quietly building a reputation for deep powder while operating relatively under the radar.
The owners Brad and Carrol have been a bit tight lipped over the years about their operation, not looking to over market themselves. Being a promoter of sorts.. just the opportunity… for me to be the one to share with the world this quiet little (11,000 skiable acres) story.
No matter how much attention this amazing Catskiing Operation gets, the owners have held fast to a motto that is printed on stickers enshrined on peoples ski’s an bumpers of cars stating “Keep up or Fuck off”.
This I had to see for myself… almost sounds like a localize surf spot with powder. However when you go to the lodge you could not sense any of the attitude that I was expecting to get.
Instead I was warmly greeted and promptly put through a very intensive orientation.. 1st for the lodge and how to get around and be self sufficient in using the amenities. The second one was a lengthy yet very informative fireside safety briefing.
Little did I know that all of this fuss was all about 3 things. Me being happy, We being safe, and everyone getting more powder.
The quaint lodge is well kept and filled with the smells of fresh baking and home cooked happiness. Attention to detail is clearly the standard for this entire operation- in every aspect.
The detailed schedule for the day and the well organized expedition each morning out the door was nothing short of a balance between a boot camp and a well oiled machine. Trust me, no one was complaining as all this effort was to get as much skiing in as possible.
With over 50 feet annual snowfall each of the guests where happy to focus all the attention to the day of skiing ahead. As we loaded into the Cat, the organized experience in the lodge continued with one of the most well kept Cats.
A place for everyone’s gear and every need already thought out in advance. As you settled in the drive to the summit, you knew that you could really set your mind free.
The anticipation was only amplified by the guides stories and peaked by the snow report from the weather station confirming the white buried trees we were observing all around us. It was going to be deep and conditions very favorable from a stability standpoint. With under 12 guests and 3 guides to a group you feel very safe and well taken care of.
White Grizzly boasts over 80 runs of mostly steep tree runs with an average of 1,000 meters per drop. The first day of 3 started with a very nice and easy warm up run before we started to get the legs working.
Throughout the entire trip we did get some open glades and meadows for sure, but I would suggest if your not comfortable with skiing riding in the trees, this is not a good destination for you.
All the guests were seasoned and keen tree skiers which had us keeping together without wasting much time. In my years of riding backcountry catskiing, the trees are a good thing anyway. Personally, I enjoy the perspective they give you, in what can be challenging light if its snowing. And it keeps it interesting, the snow quality is just amazing.
There are so many additional unique things that set this place apart, and honestly some things are just better to be experienced first hand.
I would recommend White Grizzly to anyone who is a very strong skier (due to the sections of steep tree skiing) and looking to have the entire focus of the trip to be about the skiing.
The food, lodge and hospitality (which are amazing) are a secondary reason this is such a memorable destination.
I for one was elated to be a “Catskier of the Storm” in this epicentre of powder and happiness called White Grizzly Adventures