First trip of the season, first post of the season. A slow start for Big Flakes and for mother nature. Mt. Baker however was at the top of the snowfall list for 2019/2020 as of mid January. In an effort to get a trip rolling, Kelso, Joel, Andreas and I headed to Coquihalla Pass, BC for the MLK long weekend and Kelso and I snuck in a day at Baker on our way north.
The two of us awoke to a snow report reading 14″ while the forecast was calling for only 3″. Laying in our hotel room on the side of I5, we were two hours from the mountain still but the snowfall totals snapped us into action. Our late arrival was no match for the amazingly light snow condition, very un-Baker. To top of the abnormally light snow, was decent visibility, enough so to venture out onto the Hemisphere side-country laps. This was Kelso’s first time ever riding Baker and I can safely say he and I lucked out big time with a grade A experience.
Coquihalla Pass Snowboarding
The real mission was exploring a new zone. Enticed by skin tracks off the side of the highway, seen while in route to Revelstoke and from a magazine article, we had high hopes for finding some BC terrain that is relatively close to home. This season marked a new member of my family and that meant the closer the better, so Coquihalla was of high interest.
Upon arrival we found a legit trailhead with hundreds of snowmobilers leaving from it on a pristine Saturday morning. Well groomed trails lead us to a cabin and backcountry bowl were the sledding was prime. In general, I think the sled accessed terrain off of the pass is better for sledding than snowboarding. It had also been a windy winter in the Northwest, which limited our snowboarding options. Much of the terrain had been wind affected, leaving us to explore smaller, more protected slopes. The terrain for sled access is not especially large but big enough that we had only scratched the surface after two and half days riding. If good visibility permitted for deeper exploration, you could get on some scary faces and untouched slopes.
Whatever we lacked in snowboard turns, we gained in the general sledding experience offered by the Coquihalla area. Mellow rolling bowls, groomed trails, easy access and cabin living was a real treat for us city folk driving north for a weekend of being in the high country.
I love this photo of Andreas rubbing his eyes. On our last day, we were way finding mid-run, unstrapped and post-holing into the proper chute to continue decent. Even though spirits were high, I feel like this photo sum up the run. Everyone on high alerts, thinking WTF Tyler, where are we going? About right.