Bella Coola is a fantastic place for spring break, especially if you come from places where in spite of a fabulous long winter are starting to see tulips blooming from muddy snow filled gardens. Spring is l
ovely - but I love skiing - and I like to extend my winter as long as I can.
This said, fresh light green taking the place of brown and walking on fresh grass after snow and mud is not a bad thing. Especially when my encounter with such a lovely spring was en route to a fabulous Spring Ski Holiday! And one where I get to visit the oceans of the North.
Smells, colors, salty air and flowers were something that I had
not even realized that I had lost. The poetic poem could go on and on with the descriptions including images of the Majestic fjords and the multi blue colors of the ocean. But the reality is that I’m here for skiing. This is what I want to talk about and I suspect that this is what you want to read about.
At first, I tried to do not participate in the decision making process about where to go since the Northern Coastal Mountains around Bella Coola are so vast. Even narrowing down into the Monarch Mountain region the options were staggering. And the options for how to access were intimidating. Most sounded something like this:
* Park the car here, walk for one day until the snow……
* Get a ride to there, bushwack for a day and then on the way out, after that day of bushwacking hope on a bike you've stashed.
* Summer trail for 20 km before a wild river crossing ... you'll need a rope... bla …bla… bla…..
Only slightly discouraged, the only thing which a man like myself could do in the face of such horrors was to drive the truck to the Hangar to talk to a proper helicopter pilot. Here were some solutions. He said he could take us in the the heart of the mountains the following morning at first light - and picky us up 7 days later - weather permitting.
Forget buskwacking, useless long walks that would had dramatically reduce the number of fresh turns that I would get to do. And especially forget the super heavy back pack on my fragile and delicate back.
Let’s travel with style!
In the end it is not my fault if an Italian bank decide to give credit to an individual whose priorities are quite different than others. I’ll happily exchange some hard earned cash to create a great story, good memories of fabulous mountain powder lines and a big smile.
After first light the next morning we loaded the helicopter. 17 minutes later we are on a top a nice mountain, with a light back pack a big smile, some boxes full of everything 1500 meters below us, a fantastic view of the Monarch range and an extra day to play with. Per tutto il resto c’e’ Mastercard! Go Mastercard go.
Not bad as first day of my first winter camp.
Ape lake is going to be our home for the next week.
Monarch range is going to be our playground.
Even on the south faces there is no sign of spring. Amazingly, snow and stability are great allowing us to do what we are best at: waking up late, enjoying long breakfasts and then playing all day on the snow and getting back home almost at dark every day.
As my grandgrandgnrandmother use to say: never ski tomorrow what you can ski today. (It is an interesting side note that my grangrangranmother use to say the same thing that my friend Scotty boy grangranfather. Perhaps it is a European thing).
Day after day we skied incredible lines. Yet again we were faced with a typical B.C. problem. Even if we have an incredible desire to explore and ski the “entire” area , we were forced to accept the hard truth: “We simply cannot ski all the lines we want to ski. We have to come back again again and again to explore all that the Monarch’s have to offer.”
I quite enjoy the simple routine of this extreme winter camp: wake up when
the sun is ready to kiss my face, slow coffee process, breakfast and playing on the snow.
I ‘d love the idea to provide some tips for an extreme Spring Ski camp, but the reality is that I was just lucky getting the perfect situation.
I do have three tips:
1. Do not assume that if a Wolverine was able to climb a slope you can do it without to suffer.