The Outsider: The Joy of Sending it

March 11, 2016Skiing, Winter

Photos by Vince Shuley March is certainly making a fierce return to winter. This is the month where skiers and snowboarders in Whistler start to check off their freeride goals for the season, whether it’s skiing a line that’s intimated them for years, launching further through the air than ever before or simply exploring a new zone, in … Read More

Avalanche safety equipment needed in near-country too

December 28, 2015Avalanche, Backcountry

Stroke of luck Last week snowboarder Colin D. Watt shared his survival story of being swept down L’Avanger, the line of cleared trees under the Peak 2 Peak Gondola on Whistler Mountain. There’s been seldom opportunities to ski L’Avanger the last couple seasons, so with bumper December for snow like we’ve had, one can understand … Read More

The Outsider: Crash porn is the new ski film vogue

November 26, 2015Lifestyle, Skiing, Winter

There’s a line from the movie Nightcrawler where Rene Russo’s night news producer character describes to rookie freelance cameraman Jake Gyllenhaal what kind of footage she wants for her breakfast news program. “Think of our newscast as a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut,” she explains. Mainstream media’s obsession with covering … Read More

The Outsider: Why I ski on Opening Day

November 18, 2015Skiing, Winter

Damn it feels good to be back on skis. Winter is truly here, and like every dedicated snow eater, who is patiently waiting for Whistler Blackcomb’s Opening Day, I have my priorities. Skiing. Touring. Powder. With the start of the season looking good so far (knocking on wood as I write this), many diehard skiers and … Read More

Guide to the Whistler Village Beer Festival

September 18, 2015Winter

What’s the most refreshing post exercise beverage? You guessed it – beer. And what better way to reward a long season of mountain biking, trail running, paddling or other form of recreation than by sampling dozens of craft beers? This weekend (September 18-20) sees the return of the Whistler Village Beer Festival, probably my favourite … Read More

Review: BCA Float 42 Avalanche Airbag

April 2, 2015Avalanche, Backcountry, Review, Ski Touring, Winter

I’ve remained largely indifferent to avalanche airbags since they started gaining popularity a few years ago. I thought them to be expensive, excessively heavy pieces of equipment suitable for snowmobilers or guests and guides at mechanized operations. I never really took them seriously for self-propelled ski touring. Earlier this season I began working with the Backcountry Access’ #Direct2Dirtbag influencer program and … Read More

SPOTS4ADVENTURES profiles Fedchenko Glacier expedition members

March 27, 2015Backcountry, Ski Touring, Winter

Earlier this season, German backcountry and freeskiing magazine BACKLINE ran a feature on the Fedchenko Glacier expedition that I was a part of in May, 2014. BACKLINE is a big and beautiful coffee table-style publication and I was more than pleased to have my name on the cover headmast alongside veteran snowsport photographers such as Adam Clark, Christian Pondella … Read More

Winterstoke Festival broadens backcountry education

March 18, 2015Backcountry, Ski Touring, Winter

While the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) Level 1 has quickly become the prerequisite for backcountry travel, ski guide Ross Berg feels that the new wave of advanced skiers migrating beyond the boundary ropes could use some additional training. “A lot of people don’t understand the value of taking a higher level course,” said Berg. “Many … Read More

Weak Season Opportunities – Mt. Garibaldi

March 5, 2015Backcountry, Climbing, Ski Touring, Winter

When a season hits you like this one, motivation can be difficult to muster. In the Sea to Sky Corridor and much of coastal British Columbia this winter, snow has receded closer and closer towards the alpine elevations. Spring conditions are upon us, powder is scarce (in many cases non-existent) and the only consolation we have … Read More

First Look – BCA Float 42 Avalanche Airbag

February 25, 2015Backcountry, Review, Winter

The only thing as awesome as using new gear for the first time, is taking it out of the wrapper on the living room floor and playing with it. Like a child at Christmas, the whole unboxing, unwrapping, tag removal and instruction manual disposal has been a ritual of mine for years now. I was recently … Read More

The Outsider – Escaping to Northern BC

February 17, 2015Backcountry, Ski Touring, Winter

The post first appeared on my Facebook feed, I felt a mix of jealousy and excitement. “Ready to pull the trigger on a roadie trip to Smithers Monday to Friday next week. Two of us in so far… One more would really bring the cost down… Who’s interested?” I was salivating at the prospect of … Read More

Rain in Whistler brings out the worst in us

February 10, 2015Winter

I’m tired of the rain. I’m tired of writing about the rain. I’m tired of how it’s affecting business and recreation negatively in our beloved Whistler bubble. There’s a lot of frustration building up in that bubble right now. Snow has been hit and miss since the beginning of the season and every snow storm … Read More

The Outsider: Man-made snow no riskier than the real stuff

December 9, 2014Skiing, Winter

Last week The Province ran a cover story titled “Man-made risk: Are local ski hills putting you in danger by opening early?” It featured Vancouver safety advocate Richard Kinar expressing concerns that Vancouver resorts are opening too early without sufficient snow coverage. To back up his argument, he pointed to the death of 16-year-old Brazilian … Read More

The Outsider: Tools of the Trade – ice axe

December 2, 2014Backcountry, Climbing, Winter

What’s the most obvious sign of a core backcountry skier? Transceivers, probes and shovels are now standard issue, though the knowledge of how to effectively used them is still catching up. Climbing skins are for anyone wanting to travel more than an hour beyond the boundary and folks with Dynafit gear may rip as hard … Read More

The Outsider: rekindling with running

June 23, 2014Winter

There was a time when I had something against running. I’m not sure if it was the laborious repetition of pounding pavement when I had the option of riding one of my bikes, or maybe it was those cheesy (though sometimes clever) Nike commercials about how a daily run could make your body into a … Read More

Sennheiser Backcountry Picnic 2014

March 20, 2014Backcountry, Winter

I’d been hearing about the Sennheiser Backcountry Picnic for a couple years when I finally decided pay a visit to Bralorne. This freeride film festival always looked like fun in the videos, but also comes with pretty big barrier to entry. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass to get there and you … Read More

The Outsider: Embracing the bushwack

January 28, 2014Backcountry, Ski Touring, Winter

With the spring-like conditions we’ve been experiencing recently, there have been plenty of opportunities to get out into the backcountry. There isn’t a lot of fresh powder of course; the recent heat wave and high winds have consolidated a lot of the snow into various forms of crust. But if the avalanche conditions permit, there’s … Read More

Beyond Awareness – Researcher looks to behavioural science to spark social change in the backcountry

January 23, 2014Backcountry, Skiing, Winter

With Avalanche Awareness Days now in Whistler’s rear-view mirror, the hope of the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is that people will take more steps to avoid the dangers of the backcountry. But one Whistler-based researcher is asking the question: Is building awareness the most effective way to reduce avalanche fatalities? “In part we’re sounding like … Read More

Debunking the human factor – Avalanche safety tools have advanced, human nature remains the same

January 16, 2014Avalanche, Backcountry, Skiing, Winter

“Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.” — Barry LePatner It was in the winter of 1973 on Vancouver’s North Shore when Mitchell Sulkers and four friends decided to venture past the resort boundary of Seymour Mountain. A storm had rolled through the region dropping almost 50 centimetres of snow that … Read More

The Outsider: Beyond the Backcountry Code

December 10, 2013Avalanche, Backcountry, Ski Touring

Last week about 40 people – including some backcountry industry heavyweights – discussed the topics and wording of a new backcountry responsibility code at the Whistler Museum. The 10 point code revolves around issues of safety and responsibility of backcountry users for themselves, their party and other parties encountered beyond the boundaries. The wording of … Read More