The landscape in the Selkirks sure has changed from last winter. The Freeride Chronicles crew just returned from an trip of epic proportion where we visited two cat skiing operations on the outskirts of Nelson, British Columbia. Things were lining up for this trip to Baldface Lodge to be possibly one of the best ever with conditions at their peak and the forecast calling for it to get even better day after day! With 30cm’s of fresh before our arrival and a crew that is off the charts fun starting with Tommy Frey, Bob Legasa, Professional Skier and Musician Matt Reardon, Jeff Yates and Professional skier turned Professional Big Wave surfer Chuck Patterson who was riding JAWS just a few days earlier on Maui. We all knew this could be the trip of all trips.
Day 1- We were greeted with crisp clear skies and a fog layer down in the valley below, which is referred to by Nelson locals as the Kootenay Sea.
The Owner of Baldface Lodge, Jeff Pensiero, joined us in the morning and personally toured us around his 32,000 acre playground.
Our first few runs were in the sun and we couldn’t ask for anything better, then the thick Kootenay Sea rolled in. Growing up here in the Northwest we were used to fog, we just need to adjust our game plan and stick in the trees. The fog moved in and out throughout the day as we skied around and through the moss laden forest for the rest of the afternoon.
At the end of the day we made it to the top of Mushi Ridge for the home run ski back to the lodge but first we stopped and paid tribute to fallen snowboarder Craig Kelly at the Sword Memorial. A lot of emotions ran through many in our group as a legend Larger than Life from the snowboard world was taken from this earth 13 years ago.
Day 2- We departed the lodge a half hour earlier than normal so we could make the long trek North out to the furthest part of the Baldface tenure. Just that short distance in this rugged mountain environment was noticeable with the air temps where it was 5 degrees colder making the turns from this day magical as we shredded the God Gladed trees. The jokes this day were flying by the dozens keeping all of us laughing and our stoke level at it’s peak throughout the day.
Day 3- We woke to a 10cm Reset which fell throughout the night. Just that additional 4-5 inches made a sweet improvement to an already fun snow pack reactivating the base layer making it seem like you were skiing through down pillows. We played around in Gorros Rocks for one run.
One of the more memorable runs on this day was putting the smack down on Pipe Dragon a natural half pipe on the upper third and the rest of the 1000 feet of vert wide open, steep where the snow seems to pocket.
Day 4- Our final day was more of the above with some exploring close to the lodge where we had a great experience dropping in on Fraps Fingers. It’s amazing the size of this tenure, the quality of tree skiing and the impressive level of guiding from the Baldface team. We ran some serious vert throughout the morning and finished with a big ski down to where the heli transfers the skiers in and out for the next tour.
Here’s a short video recap of our adventure.