PHOTO GALLERY: Spring Pow Session at Big Red Cats

Posted By: Freeride Chronicles on April 1, 2014 12:28 pm

March 21st, 1pm Friday afternoon I receive an e-mail from Paula Gaul the owner of Big Red Cats in Rossland, British Columbia. “We got 25cms of snow recently, You might want to come up and give it one more shot as the skiing is really good” 

A little back-story on this, we had tried several times over the winter to schedule a Freeride Chronicles shoot at BRC but could never get schedule or conditions to cooperate, so when this e-mail came across my desk I immediately took a look at the weather. NOAA was calling for decent cold temps 28 degrees and Bluebird, time to get the band back together!  A few phone calls later to seven of my ski buds and a little schedule adjustment on my end we pulled the trigger and decided to get er done. So on 4:30 Sunday morning we left Sandpoint, Idaho and made the 2.5 hour drive to Rossland, British Columbia.

We arrived at the BRC office which sits at the base of Red Mountain Ski resort a little tired and weary.  A few of us had just participated in a 24 Hour Ski Event at our local hill and we were running on a half a tank. With paper work all filled out we made the 20 minute drive to the staging area where they keep all 5 snow cats. After a short safety/transceiver talk we loaded up and we were en route for a day of Spring powder skiing with owner and lead guide Kieren Gaul.

Lead Guide and owner of Big Red Cats, Kieren Gaul likes to still get after it

Lead Guide and owner of Big Red Cats, Kieren Gaul likes to still get after it

A short 30 minute cat ride to the top and we were up in the zone. The first stop was a nice, wide open clear-cut with a decent pitch. Since I was carrying the camera, i had to get down first (at least that’s what I tell them) It didn’t take more than a couple of turns to know we were in for something special on this day. It’s not to often that the stars align and you get Blue skies and light untracked snow. My body felt Recharged and it was now time to get after it.

Alison Murphy is all smiles

Alison Murphy is all smiles

Willy Bartlett spicing things up a little

Willy Bartlett spicing things up a little

On this trip we had Trisha Scott with us who was a cat skiing Virgin. With the video camera rolling, I gave the newbie honors of  first dibs on this run. Trisha made it look effortless as she ripped the slope hooting and hollering one turn after the next.

Trisha Scott losing it on her first cat skiing run ever

Trisha Scott losing it on her first cat skiing run ever

The rest of the group picked out lines on either side of me which made for some great variety for filming.

Erich Thompson venturing into the sun off the nose

Erich Thompson venturing into the sun off the nose

Charging!

Coming out of the Steep with a little Heat!   Skier:Bob Legasa

We ventured around to a few different zones of their huge tenure which covers 8 peaks and over 19, 0000 acres of terrain which cater to all levels. In fact BRC is the only snowcat skiing operation in British Columbia to offer separate trips for intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and riders, (and even offer”Uber Expert” by request if your into sending it off cliffs all day).

The calendar says Spring but the conditions say January.Skier:Tommy Frey

The calendar says Spring but the conditions say January.
Skier:Tommy Frey

Hard to believe this is late March!Skier:Bob Legasa

Hard to believe this is late March!

Kieren brought us to a huge alpine bowl with a steep pitch as the entrance which feathered out into nice 35-40 degree slope the remainder of the way to the cat. Nothing better than getting a little “Pucker Factor” going.

A little Pucker Factor for Tommy Letourneau as he charges the Steeps

Overcoming the “Pucker Factor” Tommy Letourneau charges the Steeps

Big Red Cats has steeps, "Dropping in"skier:Tommy Frey

You want Steeps, Big Red Cats has steeps 
Tommy Frey Dropping in

 

Alison made it through the steeps and into the Money!

Alison made it through the steeps and into the Money!

It was 2:45 in the afternoon before we knew it and it was now time to start heading back. We made our way back up to the top,  crossing the ridge dropping back down into main basin we came up originally. Kieren yelled “one more lap”. We clicked in and we were on our way down what they call Sunset, a run with nicely spaced trees, plenty of open pockets and little steeps here and there. This run you could just go and go and go with out anything getting in your way or stopping you.  The only thing in our way was a big bank of trees at what we thought was the bottom of the run.

Devin "Doof" Dufenhorst lapping it all up

Devin “Doof” Dufenhorst lapping it all up

Kieren leading the charge

Kieren leading the charge

After a little poking through the trees we came into another opening which looked like a 10-year-old clear-cut  with a nice 25 degree slope running about 1000 meters long . The replanted trees were sticking out of the snow about 5′-6′ and were spaced so you could use them like slalom gates. WOW! what a run to end the day.

Trisha taking her first cat skiing experience

Trisha taking her first cat skiing experience

Everyone in our group was Blown Away at how fantastic the conditions were for that time of the year. This is my 8th time visiting BRC and every time I visit I come away with an incredible experience, You should experience it to!

 

 

Freeride Chronicles ( More Posts)

A former member of the United States Freestyle ski team, Bob Legasa combined his passion for skiing, outdoors and storytelling and created Freeride Media. Bob has won numerous Society of Photo Journalism Awards and a highly coveted Emmy Award. With over 25 years as a professional Freestyle skier Bob has taken his knowledge of the sport into a variety of different fields including, Television, journalism, coaching, and event management. Bob's passion for skiing can be seen on The Freeride Chronicles Together with his wife Jane of 21 years Bob has two beautiful girls Alli and Hannah. The entire family loves to ski and they can be found most every winter weekend skiing at Schweitzer Mountain.


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