Since early January we have been blessed with snow in Kicking Horse. Wave after wave of storm has pulsated through from the Pacific coast and have delivered what locals say is more like the winters of old.
Today (Sunday Feb 13th) has been another truly spectacular day. After a 48-hour storm with high winds that delivered close to 50cm of blower champagne powder at mid-mountain, clearing clouds this morning, dissipating winds and moderate temperatures culminated in a perfect day of skiing. Conditions on every aspect in the resort were superb and in some of the wind-loaded alpine chutes outright exhilirating. Of course for the more daring-do it was one of those days to tackle runs and drops that have been eye-balled for weeks, even seasons. On numerous occassions I witnessed huge 30-40ft cliffs hucked, followed by the typically Canadian response from all who witnessed it, a cacophany of hollars and cheers.
Last weekend Kicking Horse Mountain Resort hosted its third annual Wrangle the Chute competition. The event is judged on its own unique blend of big mountain riding, park and mid-west rodeo bull riding, in the form of the mountain’s home-made furry mascot E.J. Hector.
Sir James Hector was a Scottish geolist, naturalist and surgeon who accompanied the Palliser Expedition with the mission of exploring new railway routes for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Surveying the pass that the railway now follows east, Hector’s horse bolted for the hills hoofing him in the chest and rendering him unconscious. The story goes that his companions mistook him for dead and prepared his grave. Hector came round before they prematurely buried him and the name Kicking Horse has stuck for the river and pass they were exploring.
E.J Hector, is a bucking bronco that is strapped and suspended between two snowcats for the final phase of the competition. Competitors picked a line down the face above the Heaven’s Door Yurt in Crystal Bowl, aired a huge kicker and then rode E.J. to gain maximum points. The event was won by Nelson-based Mathew Montandon whose 360 degree spin off of a 50ft cliff won him the judges favour. Below are a selection of my images from Day 1 of the two-day event.
With more precipitation expected Monday and Tuesday, followed by sun on Wednesday and Thursday, it is going to be a stellar week to be on holiday in Kicking Horse country.
Photographs by Barry Cox.
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