My Big White trip

on Big WhiteOn Thursday we left Victoria headed for Big White. Mike and I left with plenty of time to make the 3 pm sailing. Too bad it was full! Luckily for us BC Ferries decided to put on an unscheduled 4 pm sailing! Happy day.

Read on for the rest of the story (it is pretty long), or check out the pictures I took. I did want to take some while boarding, but never did. Digital cameras don’t do too well in cold temperatures.

Besides the ferry incident, the drive there wasn’t too bad. The worst part was between the snowshed and the toll booth. Just before the snowshed the snow began to fall. As we entered the snowshed we caught up to a rig. Nearing the end of the shed he began slowing down and moving left. As we came out of the shed we saw a rig jackknifed off to the side of the road. The rig we were behind started slowing down until he was barely moving. He was blocking the road so it was hard for me to pass. Finally he started to move over a little, so in an effort to keep my speed up, I passed him. That was when Mike and I saw his wheels spinning, and saw him start to jackknife beside us. I had slowed down so much that I didn’t think we would make it up the hill without chains. Luckily my truck pulled us through. After the toll booth the roads were clear but snow was falling. It was falling and swirling and I found it very distracting. I started to become mesmerized by the snow, and I had to shake my head a couple times to get my eyes to focus on the road instead of the snow.

All of a sudden the snow just stopped, and the roads were clear. It was like some invisible barrier. It made for clear sailing all the way to the mountain. The road up the mountain was snowy, but still had great traction. We finally got all of our stuff into the cabin around 12:30 am. After a couple beer, we headed to bed.

First day. In a word : wicked. The group we were boarding with is definitely better than me which forced me to push my limits. One trail we went to (after taking the T bar to the top of the mountain) was the cliff. The cliff was too steep for me, and I was tempted to back out. Actually I did try to back out, but Alex convinced me to give it a try. With a little coaching through the first few turns, I made it down. I even managed to link a few turns. It was certainly an ego booster for me. Without being forced down that run, I know I would have gotten discouraged by not going, and it would have ruined the rest of the day, if not the weekend. After a few runs on the Black Forest chair the group headed in for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Gem Lake chair looking for some powdery tree runs. It was a bust, but I had an excellent run down a mogul run. For some reason I figured out how to ride the bumps. I was slow, but I didn’t stop. I felt pretty good after that run, but we ended up heading back to the other side of the mountain in search of pow.

After a couple more runs off the Black Forest chair, we then headed in for the day.

Saturday’s first run was delayed due to wind. The whole mountain, except for the plaza chair, was closed. We were a little bummed. We decided to head out and walk up so we could at least get one run in. When we got outside, we found the lifts open and running. Yay! We headed over to the Black Forest for a couple tree runs before deciding to take the T Bar up and try the cliff again. My tree runs were awesome, and I was starting to get more comfortable on steeps, and in the trees. Then the T Bar. It was pretty windy and cold on the way up, so I tucked my head down.

After quite a while I thought I should look up and see where I am at. As soon as I looked up I knew I was in trouble. I had been veering right, and was heading straight for a pole. I dug in my toe edge as much as possible to try and move left, but it was too little too late. My board hit the pole, and got tipped vertical. I jumped as quickly as I could, and got my board back down on the snow, but it wasn’t enough. The T Bar twisted and got away from me. There I was alone, on an unfamiliar mountain, in very windy conditions, kicking myself mentally for allowing this to happen. Alex came by and told me to cut across the mountain. I did my best, but I couldn’t cut over very well. The wind pushed me down the hill more than I was cutting across. Add on that the very soft wind blown snow, and I knew the only way to hook back up with the guys would be to either hike up, or head down to the Black Forest, and hope I saw them on the run sometime. I headed down out of the wind, and rode the Black Forest trees for a bit. I never did run into the group before I decided to head in. I made the traverse across the mountain, and got to the last cat track above the condo. I knew I needed to duck into the trees somewhere, but I couldn’t remember exactly where. Out of the blue, Ross came sailing by me, then ducked into the trees. From there it was an easy tree run to the condo, and the waiting beer.

Sunday was an easy day. We only rode the morning, an easy day before heading home. Still lots of fun. Big White is such a good mountain compared to Mt Washington. I can’t wait to get back (Big White not Washington).

Going home was quite a treat. The sun was out, and the roads were completely clear. There were a few interesting bits though. A cop came up behind us quite quickly at one point, I was speeding, so I moved over to the right and let him pass. He continued past me and kept going a few minutes later we rounded a corner and we saw him on the right with his lights flashing. 100 yards up the highway a pickup was on fire. Not just smoking mind you, but flames coming out from the wheel wells. The tires were already completely melted too.

Just past the snowshed, there was an accident scene involving two vehicles. Ambulances were already on the scene, so there was only a short slow up while the traffic passed.

The only other incident was the BC Ferries. We got to Tsawassen at 6:45. I was hopeful that we would make it on the 7. The guy on the booth told us we re 50/50 for the 9! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He told us that we could transfer to the 8:15 to Nanaimo if we wanted. We got in line for the ferry to Victoria, talked it over a bit, then decided to go to Nanaimo because then we were at least guaranteed to get to the Island. We moved to the new line, then went in for some food. Not 20 minutes later the PA crackled, and they announced an unscheduled 10 pm sailing to Victoria. Grrr, what to do now? I eventually decided that waiting an extra 2 hours in the terminal was better than driving for an hour and a half, so we moved lines again to wait for the 10. We got on it with no problems, and We sailed down the Pat Bay highway at 11:45. I crawled into bed at 1 am and slept a deep sleep.