May
22
2014
Français

Friends visiting part 2

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More picture from a nice trip we had in Haines Pass, between Yukon, Alaska and British Columbia. The good snow provided us some easy travel. Snow conditions and the weather we very good. We had time to enjoy the nice surrounding. Temperatures were good. Good freezing conditions at night but  sometimes largely above Oc during the day. But do not forget we are up North around here. At higher elevation we found some winter conditions, with cold temperatures, especially with a cold wind and a refreshing windchill.  The high range of temperature we had  was perfect  to test and appreciate our new sportswear from Ceramiq.  This new technology that incorporate minerals into the textile is known to  be perfect to dissipate and reflect energy, allowing you to have a better heat transfer.  We were surprised by the confort, keeping us warm when it was cold and fresh when we were overheated.  Powder is very good, but corn snow is good too and allows you to have fast and easy skiing, just like a nicely groomed ski slope.

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We had everything to make skiers happy.

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And yes, ski conditions were still very good.

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We had very warm spring  conditions …and then sometimes back to winter at higher elevation. Perfect to test out our equipments from Ceramiq and Ortovox in a high temperature range.

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Where do we go next was always the question, with a lot of untracked lines all around us.

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Sometimes back in winter.

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Not a lot of people around here, but it is always nice to meet funny interesting people, just like Bill from Gustavus

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Luxury for skier: the Stellar hut was our very confortable base camp. More information about the cabin  and more here : logo icefieldfroid-508

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of course we did not forget to bring enough food and drink supplies.

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Thank you to the team and our partners for this wonderful trip. For Marc and Fifi it was the second trip in Yukon, and I am sure we will see some of them coming back again.

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Plumlogo                    logo-zag                                 Unknown                      Lestra_Logo_2006_reduit

Unknown-1                    ceramiq-amazing-feelings                         Unknown-2                   Julbo

May
16
2014
Français

Friends visiting part1

Before completely switching for  summer mode, it was still time to enjoy spring ski conditions.

Put some friends together in a cabin nearby nice mountains, give them good skis and  a bit of snow.  And if the weather is cooperative, you will have a lot of fun. The goal of this trip was not to hit some crazy steep lines or to climb as fast as we could. The leitmotiv of the trip was to have as much fun as we could. It was also nice to meet with friends from Europe and make them discover this nice area. So after a couple of days spent in Whitehorse to recover from the jet lag and to finish the set-up, we headed to Haines Pass. Even after an unusual dry winter, with not much precipitations, meaning less snow on the ground. It was not too late and snow conditions were between good to fair, sometimes very good. The weather was great with endless sunny days. At the beginning, it was still possible to find some cold snow in the north facing slope, then the temperatures rose a bit and  mostly our choice was to look for some good spring snow and some skiing sessions. Snow stability was mostly good. Haines Pass area is a wide area with a lot of options in terms of terrain choice. For 10 days, we were lucky and had the entire area quite exclusively for us. We met just 2 skiers and a group of sledders.

A nice team during a nice session.

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Happy girls in Spring touring mode.

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Nice untracked terrain, nice surrounding, perfect weather and a good team….what else.

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But sometimes we had to work harder to earn our turns.

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And skiing was good…or very good.

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We have had some very good sessions

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Skiers were often seen with a big smile on their face, a good sign ;-) froid-559

Après-ski was also important

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Sometimes we stayed awake late at night, enjoying Yukon’s entertainment.

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Keep posted for more pictures  on the next post.

Thanks  to our partners :

ZAG skis    Plum Bindings    Ceramic     Millet Mountain   Lestra  Ortovox    Julbo eyewear 

Apr
15
2014
Français

New snow

Finally, we got some new snow. Conditions are getting better. Easter week-end is closer than ever, time for skiers to go out.

Another week spent skiing in the Chilkat pass area. Snowpack is still very thin for the season but we got some new snow. Haines Pass area received between 20 and 40cm of new fresh snow , falling with a light to moderate South wind. The day after, a strong North wind chased the clouds away. So it means the snowpack is wind affected again. Be prepared to deal with wind slabs in North but also South aspects.  Ski conditions are getting better. Snow quality, just like the snowpack, is very variable, from bad wind crust to nice and light powder. Use your experience to identify the good terrain. You can find most of the good conditions in north aspect slopes. We still have to deal with the consequences of the last dry winter and hot summer. Glacier are not well covered, crevasses are visible where they were covered  sometimes even in summer. Be aware and prepared if you plan to ski on glacier

We have spent some good time at the Stellar cabin which is a perfect base camp.See the pictures below. For more info, go to   http://icefielddiscovery.com/stellar-hut

The Haines road

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Yes it was windy

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When it is windy, it is time to do some kitting or speed riding.

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Testing the snow

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Finally some good turns

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The Stellar hut, a perfect base camp

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Apr
8
2014
Français

Good skiing

Few pictures from last week in Haines Pass area. Weather was great then slowly getting warmer, cloudy and eventually  the snow came. Conditions were not as good as they should be at that time of the year, but we found some nice slopes with correct and sometime good snow. It was not necessary to go very far, some common routes were in good conditions. But sometimes the snow was also still wind affected and not that easy to ski. Snow stability was just like snow conditions, still very variable but mostly stable with no signs of natural activity.

 

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Flo, happy to discover some of the most known routes in the area without anybody around….sometime sunny, sometime in the middle of the clouds.

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Good snow to make some easy turns.

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Some less known routes , with a changing weather, just before the snow.

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A bit of speed riding for Guillaume, enjoying the large open slopes.

 

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Apr
1
2014
Français

Spring

Spring is in the air. Days are getting longer and longer, temperatures are climbing up to 0c, snow starts melting a bit down in the valley.  I started the day with nice northern light dancing in the clear sky, followed by a nice sunrise. At Haines Pass I met with 2 skiers from Austria, Mark and Beate. Mark and Beate are doing a wonderful trip, skiing all around the pacific Ocean, thousands of kilometres, thousands of turns, hundreds of people met everywhere. You can have a good overview of their adventure here : Ring of fire. It was a nice day, warm, with a perfect blue sky. Snow conditions are not great. The wind made is job again, the snow pack is very wind affected,  in some places the surface snow is the old rain crust from january, and in some other places it is a mix of ice, sastrugis and crust of diverse density. But it is still possible to find some correct snow, but we need to be aware, it is mostly on North slopes, and stability is just like the snowpack..variable. Be aware, ski safe and have fun.

I like when a days start like that:

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A good group, Beate, Mark and Andrew

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A bit windy at the top, but a wonderful view.

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And let’s go for a ride.

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The snow is not great but the slope was very nice and the view amazing. In background, from right to left, 3 Guardsmen, Glave Peak and Seltat.

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Andrew and the snow waves.

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The kind of snowpack that we have now is very variable, yes mostly , the snowpack is variable, but actually, with the kind of weather that we have had, it make it particularly variable. Very solid in some place but with pocket of instability. I you have time to spend to make some snow profiles or test, you will probably fns some results like the following exemple.

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good luck to Beate and Mark for their adventure…

Mar
25
2014
Français

Ski conditions and a quick skins review.

Weather this winter is definitively dry and sunny. Last week-end, it was sunny again but the wind was the trouble maker. Turning a nice bue bird day in a chilly day. The North wind was very present in the White Pass area. With the windchill, in the morning temperatures were close to -30c. With gusts up to 50km/h, the wind moved a bit of snow too. Snow conditions are not too bad, it is still possible to find some good soft and cold snow. It is not deep, but enough to have some good sensations. Snowpack stability is very variable, from very good to very touchy, all the snow we got after the january warm up and rain, is set up above a nice rain crust, in some places it bonds very well, in some other places, it is just waiting for the little addition of energy (a skier) to produce a nice big avalanche. This rain crust is our most important problem for snow stability, and it is going to be worst when the temperatures will really rise. So if you want to have some good trips, you need to ski smartly, finding a sheltered area from the cold wind, good snow and good stability. But with a bit of reflexion, it is possible to find a good area, and with good route finding you can have a lot of fun.

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Snow was a bit wind affected, but with a good reading it was possible to find areas with still soft enough to make some nice turns.

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Skins are a very important pieces of equipment. Bad skins or skins in bad shape and it can ruin your day.A couple of years ago, I have been very disappointed by the new glue-less climbing skins (Gecko). It was promising, but they had some serious  lack of efficiency, especially  when it came to use them in our real cold winter, the adherence was far less efficient than the glue. So I was a bit reluctant to use some of them again, but  I tried another model from High Trails the Swiss brand. The glue or what works like a glue feels smooth and rubbery to the touch, not gooey and tacky.Now I have been using them  for about 20 times and I am very happy. It works good and it really makes things easier. It is way  easier to peel off, put on or take off your skins. When it is cold, I really appreciate to do not have to remove my gloves to manipulate the skins. I am using the Mix model, 50% mohair/50% nylon. The tip, is a classic plastic and wire system, but it works good and keep the skin well in place. On the tail, the system is easy to use and seems to work well.They have a very good compromise between grip and glide for a very competitive weight. Glide is very good, not as good as 100% mohair from Coll-tex but way better than G3 or Black D. They weigh less than most of the G3 and Black D skins.Dirt and  other gunk are not adhering too well and the adhesive side seems to be easy to clean up, just with clear water.Compared to the Gecko, they works good even in very cold temperatures. I let my skis and my skins out for a night with temperature less than -30c, in the morning it was still -31c and I had no problem to put the skins on and they stayed very well.They only thing I do not know  is how long they will last. So far after  a bit more than 15 days on them, I did not see any change.So far I really like them, so easy to set up, to remove and to store. I also like light skins with good glide and they are very good for  that.

So far they are not easy to find in North America, but it will come. But not get lured by poor imitations.

Mar
18
2014
Français

Snowy day

We have new fresh snow…finally. I woke up early..very early, the full moon  was high in the sky, I guessed the weather should not be very good in the mountains but I tried anyway….let’s go to White Pass for a solo trip. At the summit, there was no visibility, a bit of SW wind  but 5 cm of new fresh snow…. Closer to Fraser the weather was a bit better…but I was too early anyway….it was still dark…I waited  a bit.  I did some nice skiing, the snow is very good now. The last weather system brought around 50cm of new snow, and it is still snowing a bit. But be aware of stability, the snowpack is very variable with a lot of weak spot but even in conservative terrain it is possible to make nice turns.

Good start with the moon rising

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And then snow on the road

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But not too bad too ski below the treeline.

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A small break…and the tracks of the day

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Mar
8
2014
Français

Before the snow

Just on time before some new snow coming in, we went for a couple of turn in Haines Pass area. Weather was mostly good except the wind. It was a bit tricky to find a good location with no wind and good snow. The wind was mostly from the northwest, but in some places from the northeast. The snow was very wind affected, most of the good places for the snow were in North aspect, but it was also a bit difficult to find some stable snowpack.  But we eventually found some good places around Kusawak. Sheltered from the cold wind, we had great time skinning up without gloves and tuque. On the way down, some sheltered gullies gave us the opportunity to make some nice turns in an nice old powder…not very fresh but good enough to make some smooth turns. But it was not good everywhere, in some places the snowpack was very wind affected and the rain crust with ice on the top of the snowpack…not very easy to ski on and something to keep in mind after the current snowfall.

Snow drifted by the wind

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Old tracks, yes it shows that the snowpack has been wind affected. froid-200

Ice pieces on the top of the snowpack…not great for skiing.

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But nice days out with a pure blue sky.

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See you soon with fresh snow…yes it is snowing finally.

Feb
22
2014
Français

Haines Pass, ski and Northern Lights

Yes, we got some fresh snow, finally. Not a big dump, but enough to make some nice turns. I decided to head up to Haines Pass. The area received between 20 and 30 cm of new snow. Some areas were a bit wind affected, especially on the alaskan side. Be aware about north slopes, avalanche bulletin was right, some slides happened, sledder triggered a good size 2. The weather was great, a pure blue sky, cold temperature in the morning at -30C but warming up during the day. It is possible to find some good ski conditions,  even in avoiding the tempting north slopes, and you have a wide choice of terrain around here. The ski was good, but the most exciting was the wonderful night that I spent, with an amazing northern lights display, the sky was in fire most of the night.

Alaska Highway The Alaska highway, the road to the mountains.

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And then, the night show:

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Feb
12
2014
Français

Haines Pass, between Alaska and Yukon

It has been while since I skied at Haines Summit. Weather forecast was still “good”, sunny anyway but cold and windy…so very cold. Temperature was around -20c but with a moderate North wind, the windchill was around -40c sometimes. Snow pack is not so different than White Pass. Not a lot of snow, so dry, it seems like the end of May. The supportive rain crust is present everywhere up to 2000 m at least. Crevasses are not well covered, something to be aware of after the next snowfall. The snowpack seems to be mostly stable, but be aware , there is still some layers of facets and/or hoar, and in some shallow area it could produce some interesting slides. Ski conditions are not that bad, snow is hard but provide a good grip and the surface is mostly smooth. If you have good skis with good edges you can carve like crazy… not so common but funny. It was cold and windy, but the sky was clear and the night very clear with an amazing moon, if it would not have been so windy and cold I would like to go for a night tour. The second day was less windy,  but still very sunny. We are still waiting for new fresh snow, according to the forecast, it should come soon.

The Haines road

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Haines Summit

A bit windy, interesting , even with this hard snowpack how the wind manage to transport some loose snow.

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Avalanche on the Northwest slope on Glave Peak shoulder.

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The wind

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Nice view anyway

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The Klehini river

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A starry night with a bright moon.

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On the way back to Whitehorse

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