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Right Now in the Gothics: Seven Photos of the Dream Season


Just driving between the CMH Heli-Skiing areas, the snowpack is a sight to behold.  In many places, it would be impossible to slide off the road thanks to the size of the snowplow burms.  One of the CMH guides joked, “You could just turn on the cruise control, take a nap, and let the car pinball back and forth between the snowbanks.”

A heliski tour in snow conditions like those occuring right now at with CMH Heli-Skiing leaves everyone, even the most seasoned guides, with a sense of euphoria.  After leaving the Cariboos last week, I trained my camera on CMH Gothics and came home every night laughing at the exceptional ski moments captured on my memory cards.

Day One – Lisa, the Gothics ski tech, loves nothing more than blasting over snow mushrooms on her snowboard, and with feather-soft landings there was no reason to hold back:
1 snowboard trees powder
Day Two – It’s hard to imagine a more magical place to heli-ski than the headwaters of Horne and Ruddock Creeks in the heart of the Monashee Range.  1200 to 2200 meter runs drop from pointy summits to the valley bottom through pillow gardens, chutes and open glades.  Tripping the shutter on this photo was a highlight of my photography career:  
2 journey powder helicopter
Day Three – Some photos need no explanation.  Simply exceptional ski conditions:
3 blower ridge gothics
Day Four – It was dumping so hard that Doug, the 206 pilot, spent most of lunchtime sweeping snow off the helicopter:
4 helicopter gothics snow cleaning
Day Five – Even the heli-ski guides are stunned by this winter’s snow, so when we stepped out of the helicopter on Morning Star and sank up to our waists in nearly a metre of new snow after 10 weeks of consistent snowfall, Claude Duchesne, the Gothics Area Manager, laughed out loud and shook his head incredulously.  Needless to say, the face shots were meaty:
5 faceshot gothics powder
Day Six – This is one of those winters were skiing takes on a fantasy-like quality with the snow textures and sculptures, skier position and the heavily snow-laden forest all dancing together:
6 flash powder gothics
Day Seven – There is no word for it in English, but the Germans call it “Huettenzauber”, meaning that particularly cozy magic of mountain huts, and a peek through the windows of the Gothics Lodge nestled in the snow perfectly demonstrates Huettenzauber:
7 lodge gothics snow cozy
Spring skiing at CMH this year will be incomparable, with the crevasses filled in, boulder fields covered, and plenty of snow to ski the longest runs.  The guides are already talking about the convective snow storms of spring and skiing lines that only come into shape once every couple of decades.  Check out CMH space availability to see about getting your slice this remarkable season.


Wish I could be there with all of you, but this season has had a different calling for me. See you in Decemnber! 
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 12:55 PM by Ted Ritota
Wow - what stunning pics! And, it sounds like there will be some stellar skiing coming this spring! Enjoy all that snow! 
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 3:01 PM by CdnJake
Thanks for the article and photos, Topher!  
So it sounds like you think there might still be some snow left when we arrive at the Monashees lodge in five days???
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 3:14 PM by Brad Nichols
Hey Brad, With more snow in the forecast, and north faces of deep pow even if it doesn't snow, you should be in for a treat in the Monashees! 
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 3:50 PM by Topher Donahue
I don't really look at the conditions or weather before I go to CMH anymore because I've found there is no point. Doing this has stressed me out in the past! The weather and conditions can/do change in a night, and they will be what they will be when I get there. 
That said, it's nice to hear that there is at least a chance we'll have good snow! Thanks for the update. 
P.S. I really enjoyed your Bugaboo Dreams book. We have a soft spot in our heart for the Bugs. My wife and I live in Denver and recall you live in Nederland? Maybe we can meet each other some time.
Posted @ Monday, March 14, 2011 4:31 PM by Brad Nichols
Wish it was like this the week of Feb 19!
Posted @ Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:32 PM by Chuck
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