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Kicking Horse Conditions Report: March 3rd, 2015

The first part of my conditions report is this: most of my friends in Golden have kids. Luckily, I was able to find a fellow childless amigo who was keen on hitting the slopes with me.

Childless though he may be, Brian Gibson was still two and a half hours late, which gave me a chance to tune up my inbounds gnar guitar on the Heavy Metal ridge. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Kicking Horse and now that I’ve got a few more years of mountain experience under my belt, I have a newfound appreciation for how gnarly the terrain is here.

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Ahhh the Heavy Metal Ridge. I thought the run on the far lookers’ left could be worthy of the name “Steel Panther”, because it’s kind of a joke, but still pretty rad.

Anyways, the hill got about 5-7 cms of light pow on Monday, March 2nd which has since been redistributed by some fierce North winds. But there was still some pow to be had on Heavy Metal ridge, even though it was the day after the storm…I was pumped until I hit a chunk of boilerplate coming out the bottom and tomahawked towards the underside of the lower Glory cliff band. All was well, and I was still able to enjoy the nice, soft groomers on the way to the base.

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Jammed this wheelie on a surprisingly smokey SE aspect on the way out. Photo: Brian Gibson

By that time, Brian Gibson had managed to procure everything he felt he needed for a successful day on the slopes. So we loaded up and headed north of the KHMR boundary. We dropped into the north side of Ozone first, which was a little scratchy (and slightly terrifying) up top before giving way to bonafide pow turns in the middle and variable snow on the fans.

Brian actually cut off a small, predictable slab in a windloaded pocket. It wasn’t a big deal, but if you were over exposure and you didn’t expect it, it was the kind of slide that could get you in trouble.

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The Ghost of Brian Gibson has a look into the Gnar.

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The Kicking Horse Backcountry can be a cruel mistress. So even if the snow’s not totally perfect, stability can be a beautiful thing.

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Brian Gibson, dodging hardballs and finding a soft landing.

From what I’ve experienced in the last couple days, pointing it out the bottom of any of the runs around here is a bad idea right now.

Either way, we headed up Rudy’s afterwards. We didn’t have splitboards, so we just buttpacked (did I spell that right?) in the trees on the southside, taking turns between who was in the front and who was in the back. Truth be told, the penetration was a little deeper than I would have liked. As the slope wrapped around towards the east, it turned back into full pow….something that’s not so easy to find in Western Canada right now, especially on slopes that aren’t north-facing.

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The North winds have made for some good shredding (and potential slabs) on unexpected aspects, like this east-facing bad boy right here. Photo: Brian Gibson

We dropped into an old fave on the backside of Rudy’s. The avalanche hazard is low across the board right now, so we felt comfortbale poking across the steeper slopes and slashing a spiney, albeit slightly boney, terrain feature. The snow wasn’t perfect, but it was lightyears beyond the teeth-chateering, death-slide ice that I’ve been enjoying out on The Coast..

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One of my old faves, holding some facetty goodness.

And everyone’s wondering about the condition of the Ninja Traverse back to the resort right now. Well, for a couple of goofy-footed boarders who had just enjoyed a lovely day of backcountry buttpacking together, it was just fine.

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Keep an eye on the KHMR conditions here

Check the South Columbia avalanche forecast here

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