Confessions Of A Ski Bum

Helena Ridge

Everyone had been hitting up the Icefields but Nick and I kept getting bad weather windows on our days off so this week we decided to check out the Castle Mountain area. I often go to this zone when the forecast calls for clouds as the valley opens up a bit here and often you will have a pocket of blue over Rockbound Lake. But usually by early June there is little to no snow here, so it was a gamble at best.

Myself skiing down. Photo by Nick Grant

We met before sunrise and started hiking up the muddy trail. About 1km from Tower Lake the snow became too deep to walk and we switched over to skins, this was a pleasant surprise! We crossed over the small creek and found our lines fan full of avalanche debris. We couldn’t make out snow conditions due to the cloud cover but we decided to head up anyway.

Fixing dirty skins. Photo by Nick Grant

About half way up the snow conditions improved and the top third seemed like it could be good skiing. It was just supportive enough for skis but switching over to boot packing had Nick punching through the top layer. At the col it was snowing hard and it felt more like winter than early June. We switched over and skied the line where we found the top half of the 600m line to “ski better than I expected”. Back at the creek it was still smiles regardless of the 200m of lumpy debris. A really nice line and one I’ll be looking to do again in better conditions.

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