New Gear.

After two years of research and saving, I finally put together my AT ski system.  It consists of Black Diamond Kilowatt touring skis with Diamir Fritchi Freeride bindings and G3 climbing skins.  

This set up provides me with a free heel to climb up terrain with climbing skins …

Then lock the heels as shown below for the descent. I tested them out this weekend and was amazed how much floatation a wider, lighter touring ski provides.  My test location was “Hiker’s Paradise” an avalanche-controlled off piste area.  People I hiked up with took their skis off and climbed while I luxuriously skied up.  Blue skies and deep powder snows greeted me as I made the most dream-like descent.  

Perfect turns in deep snow is a kind of euphoric freedom that can hardly be expressed.  Above are some folks who went  ahead of me.  At midday, the sky appeared nearly black due I think to ice crystals that polarised the light?  The photo below may look adjusted, but it’s exactly how the sky appeared.  Astounding experience.

On this particular weekend, the avalanche hazard in the mountains was very high which is why I was skiing in this avalanche controlled area.  Perfect days like this make me very grateful to the patrollers and avalanche professionals that secure this area.

Down the road at Sunshine Ski Village, the ski patrollers caught several young men in an area of the resort that was closed off for safety reasons. Skiers are killed every year by skiing in closed areas and rescue efforts in dangerous areas put rescue personnel at risk.  As per the resort policy, they escorted the skiers off the mountain to much verbal abuse as it turned out the youths were in fact the owner’s obnoxious son Taylor Scurfield and his friends.  Several days later the patrollers were fired.  Included in the dismissal was Chris Chevalier, mountain operations manager, Rowan Harper, snow safety supervisor, Chris Conway, senior patroller and Ben Chevalier, lift operations supervisor.  These men represent the most senior safety staff and a total of 88 years of mountain experience.  As you would expect in a tight-knit community, everyone is not just outraged but supportive.  A fundraiser collected money for a legal challenge.

Sunshine management doesn’t seem to value these experts but will soon find out how difficult it will be to replace them.  Meanwhile, I am very thankful for all the work these professionals have done in the past.  I was certainly grateful for the work their peers are doing at Lake Louise.  When avalanche conditions are this dangerous, I am very lucky to have these safety specialists working hard to eke out some safe zones off the beaten path.

above:  the fired workers  saving a life at an unfortunate accident.  Photo from the “support sunshine ski patrollers” facebook page.



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5 Responses to New Gear.

  1. Captainorange says:

    What an uplifting post… Until that ending. Travesty is the best i can manage, but that hardly seems to describe it. I can’t believe that anyone could be so short-sighted. I expect they will rue the day.

    Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Vincent Diakuw says:

    Owner’s “son” indeed. While I might suggest that it’s a shame he didn’t raise any men, I reflect further that it probably takes one to raise one.

    I hope you can find a way to make your disapproval have a financial bite.

  3. Dave says:

    Suz first wrote up this story for the Canmore newspaper on Jan 20 see here
    http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/20110120/RMO0801/301199924/0/rmo

    re “takes one to raise one” you hit the nail right on the head Vin. The father several years ago had the nerve to sue a heli-ski operator when his own father ignored the patrollers instructions and set off an avalanche that killed himself and another man.

    I will not be spending any money there utill the situation is resolved. Many who have already bought season passes are finding it difficult to make a similar financial impact. Also complicating the matter is that the remaining staff are friends and family for everyone in the valley. No one minds hurting management but when your actions affect your roomate, girlfriend, brother etc, taking a stand is something that must be done with great diplomacy.

  4. Ski Nut says:

    Thanks for the strong message, I heard from many at the hill that were shocked by SSV Owner disregard for safety, treating staff fair, etc. Like father, like son, for sure! Just think what will happen when Jr Jr takes over, cant wait!

    Please add your comments to this Sunshine Rant Group on facebook.

    Cheers

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