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Rocky Mountain Ramblers Association

Trip Report
Trip Date:
27-Dec-2019
Activity:
Off-Trail skiing
Trip name:
Rossland-Salmo Ski Extravaganza TRIP FULL
Coordinator:
Chip
Report:

Rossland Salmo 2019-2020

I know that most folks don’t like to read endless descriptions of near-perfect conditions that they didn’t enjoy, so I’ll be brief with this report, a summary of the 7th annual Rossland-Salmo Post-Christmas Ski Extravaganza.

A smaller group than usual headed out of Cowtown on the 27th and were blessed with decent road conditions all the way to Rossland, where we immediately stopped in at Powderhound Sports for up-to-date information on backcountry conditions in the Rossland Range. The advice was “go to Kootenay Pass”. We ignored this and, despite some pretty heinous conditions in the lower-elevation sections of trail, had 3 days of very nice snow and beautiful weather with the Kootenay Sea below us and blue skies above. Day 1 took us up Mount Kirkup via the Old Glory Trail. Day 2 below Cut Block Peak and Day 3 approaching near Mount Lepsoe via the Seven Summits Trail. Each day yielded some good turns, mostly in glade skiing and always under 30 deg. A pit dug on Day 2 was bomber, but this would change over the next few days.




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020

After 3 nights at Rossland, we moved over to the Sal-Crest Motel in order to ski Kootenay Pass. The first day was cold, humid and low vis. We skied the south side, climbing up to Lightning Strike Ridge for 2 runs before going the cabin and then skinning up one more time to ski the southwest aspects of Baldy Rocks before returning to Salmo for the New Year’s Eve celebration, a cheerful mix of food, stories and singing, with music from David (B), Ray and Chip. As per Ramblers’ custom, we called it a night around 9:30, a bit later than some years but certainly not a performance that would let us qualify for the Party Animal Squad.




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020




Rossland-Salmo 2019-2020



New Year’s Day, Chip was laid up with a cold but the rest of the crew returned to the Baldy Rocks/Crags ridge and found warmer, wetter snow. As well, a test pit produced at easy failure, corroborating the increased avi risk that kept us cautiously skiing treed, lower elevation lines.

January 2nd was, in the view of many, the very best combination of weather, sun and snow. We returned to the ridge separating Baldy Rocks and the Crags and skied fast, forgiving powder for 4 runs, each more rewarding than the last. As predicted, the skies began to cloud over around 1:30, just about the time some of us were feeling the need to rest. It was a perfect day and a wonderful week. I think it’s the first time in all these years that we skied the backcountry every day. The crew has earned some rest.

Many thanks to John Gapp, David Bethune, Cathy Ryan, Ray Potvin, Kim Kempe and David Kirk for a fantastic week. We missed some of the regulars this trip and hope that they can return next year.

A word on lodging. While the folks at the Rossland Motel (Bree and her partner) try hard to make one’s stay a pleasant experience, I would suggest looking for other options. Bree’s strong accent makes it difficult to communicate and at least 2 Ramblers were told, erroneously, that there were no rooms available when, in fact, there were several blocked under our name. Our room has a toilet regularly in need of repair. On the bright side, the kitchen was convenient, they have lots of hooks in the rooms for hanging wet gear and the boot dryer was really appreciated.

The Sal-Crest, in my view, is fantastic. Darcy and Shellie are very accommodating hosts and the rooms, while basic, are clean and warm. They don’t have boot driers or many hooks for hanging. The location is great though, as it’s about an equal distance to Nelson and the Pass.

Participants: Kim,Ray,John,David,Chip,David,Cathy. Scribe Chip