Canada, eh?

Less than 48 hours after returning from Japan, I set out on a loooong road trip to the north. I was headed to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, a resort in central BC, Canada known for having some of the gnarliest inbounds terrain around, as well as access to extensive sidecountry opportunities.

 Grifen staring down a stack of pillows at KH.

Grifen staring down a stack of pillows at KH.

 Below my feet: a 4,000 foot vertical drop to the base of the resort. 

Below my feet: a 4,000 foot vertical drop to the base of the resort. 

 Day 1 Venue: Ozone South

Day 1 Venue: Ozone South

The resort was host to the first two stops of the Freeride World Tour; the first was already scheduled to be there while the second was a re-stage for the comp that didn't happen in Japan. 

The first day of competition went off on a venue known as Ozone South- an area previously closed to all skiers for high avalanche danger. We couldn't have asked for better weather: cold, clear, and sunny skies. Unfortunately, I skied like a total jabroni and hit almost every single rock on the venue while nearly blowing out my knee in the process. I ended up 20th out of 24 skiers. Not a great start to the competition season....

 Screenshot from my GoPro on Day 2 of competition.

Screenshot from my GoPro on Day 2 of competition.

 Day 2 Venue: Truth or Dare

Day 2 Venue: Truth or Dare

Due to weather concerns, event organizers decided to hold the Japan restage event the day after. Having two events immediately back to back is tough from both a mental and physical standpoint, especially on two new venues like these that haven't been used in previous FWT competitions. My line was fun and conservative, but I made a poor decision by trying to throw a backflip off an awkward takeoff into an even more awkward landing. Despite having a creative bottom section, my backflip bobble was enough to knock my score down. I wasn't the only one with this issue, however. Several other competitors had trouble in the same section and I ended up 12th for the day. Link to my run below!

https://www.freerideworldtour.com/event/freeride-world-tour-hakuba-japan-2018/replay?video=550&tag=15685

After the competitions were over, I decided to stay in Canada for a while and make use of my Mountain Collective Pass, which afforded me two free days at Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Revelstoke.

 Lake Louise featuring Zabie's first tip stand.

Lake Louise featuring Zabie's first tip stand.

 Revelstoked!

Revelstoked!

 First run of the day? Let's hike!!

First run of the day? Let's hike!!

 Don't worry, pee happy.

Don't worry, pee happy.

 Wise words at Revelstoke.

Wise words at Revelstoke.

After exhausting my free days with the Mountain Collective Pass, I turned my sights towards the backcountry as I met up with fellow Squaw local Miles Clark. He was gracious enough to let me crash on his couch and show me around the Kicking Horse sidecountry. The next day, we met up with photographer Andrew Chad for what turned out to be one of my best ski days ever in the Rogers Pass backcountry. We skied a zone known as the Hangover Pillows- a picture perfect field of pillows that most skiers only dream about. The weather was also in our favor, and we experienced a rare Canadian bluebird day while stacking photo after photo after photo....

 Getting PITTED in the Kicking Horse sidecountry. Photo by Miles Clark.

Getting PITTED in the Kicking Horse sidecountry. Photo by Miles Clark.

 Might be the best photo of me ever taken. Thanks Andrew!!

Might be the best photo of me ever taken. Thanks Andrew!!

 Blasting through pillows. Where's my snorkel?

Blasting through pillows. Where's my snorkel?

 Another contender for my favorite self-portrait ever.

Another contender for my favorite self-portrait ever.

 This might have been a cover shot....in the 80's 

This might have been a cover shot....in the 80's 

I finished my time in Canada with a weekend in Nelson/Whitewater Ski Resort- a place that's retained its small town charm while boasting some of the best inbounds tree/pillow/booter skiing I've seen yet. After a quick dose of frostbite in Bridger Bowl, Montana, I headed back to Tahoe to gear up for the next destination on the Freeride World Tour: Andorra. 

 Good times = big smiles. Photo by Louis Charnaud.

Good times = big smiles. Photo by Louis Charnaud.