A few weeks ago my friend Gregg invited me on his annual Thanksgiving backcountry ski trip to Rogers Pass. Not being one to pass up Canadian Selkirk pow, I said yes.
We headed out of Bellingham, Washington at noon. After a comical number of pit stops, (ask Ryan), we made it to Revelstoke at around 7:00 pm. Driving through snow banks and blizzards on the Trans-Canada highway, it finally felt like winter. We hiked the short ways into the Wheeler Hut, and met up with the rest of the crew. I recognized a few faces, but most were new ski buddies.
Early the next morning we struck out toward the Asulkan Cabin, our final destination. A wood cabin perched just at timberline, the Asulkan is in prime ski terrain. I’d only skied at Rogers Pass one other time, and I’d never been to the Asulkan. After dropping our much too heavy load of food, we decided to take advantage of the clear weather, and headed out above the hut. The skiing and views were superb, and I couldn’t resist taking a few laps.
That night we broke into our food. Keeping with an American-style thanksgiving, we planned to eat well. I think we arrived with at least 20 lbs. of food per person, not to mention a substantial amount of liquid (Ryan pulled a Double Magnum out of his pack). We feasted, and went to sleep to blowing wind and pounding snow.
For the next three days the weather remained socked in, providing us with some superb backcountry skiing powder, but no views. Patches of blue teased us from time to time, but our attempts to take advantage invariably ended in whiteout skiing. We stuck to taking laps in the trees. Face shots, Floating between trees, and jumping off pillows. It was goooood. I’ll let the photos tell the story.
After days of free-refill powder skiing, it was time to head home. We skied powder down to the valley bottom, then rode the low angled trail out to the parking lot. After not seeing any other skiers for days, it was surprising to see several groups headed the opposite way.
In true Thanksgiving style, we overindulged in good food, and tried to completely track it up. Thanks for the great trip guys! My new year’s resolution just might be to get up to Rogers Pass a few more times this year.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.