Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

MUSTANG POWDER CATBOARDING (AND A LIFT TICKETS CONTEST!)

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

This past long Easter weekend, Allan and I headed out to Mustang Powder for some freaking incredible catskiing. We had 3 days of amazing untouched powder and pretty much snowboarded until our legs fell off. Oh — and we took TONS of video footage… so stay tuned for that video coming soon. I also have a contest in this post for THREE full-day lift tickets to Grouse Mountain, so keep reading.

What is catskiing or catboarding you ask?

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Well, you load all your gear into the bus…

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

… then you head up the mountain on a “snowcat”… which is a huge machine with a cab for twelve people that can take you up and down the mountain.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

You arrive at the lodge, in the middle of nowhere with gorgeous mountain ranges all around. Yes, you are living and sleeping right at the top of the mountains. Allan and I were very fortunate. I won a contest to go to Mustang Powder (although Allan paid for his full trip)… so we didn’t really know what to expect. It was my first time EVER going catboarding.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The rooms are comfortable with their own private bathrooms… but to be fair, you almost never spend any time in them.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The lodge is soooooo amazing. Vaulted ceilings, all wood beams, and they didn’t use a single nail (apparently it’s some kind of peg system?). There’s enough room for 24 guests there, but since it was the end of the season they only ran one cat… so 12 guests.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The lodge really is in the middle of the mountains.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

And there was a HECK of a lot of snow. It had been snowing all week and we got a few feet of fresh powder the day we arrived.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Their terrain is pretty incredible. Allan has gone catboarding before and he said it was the best operation he’s ever been to. The amount of terrain they have above the tree line is breathtaking.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Yep, you couldn’t wipe the grins off our faces. It was ridiculous.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

We were riding in waist and knee deep snow the entire trip. We hooked up the GoPro HD for a few shots by sticking it on a pole to get a better wide angle. Worked pretty well!

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The gladed runs were probably my favourite. They have a ton of old growth trees, but also some great runs with new baby trees that were fantastic.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The food. MAN. I did NOT expect this kind of food. It was gourmet meals every day for breakfast and dinner, not to mention a huge lunch spread to make your own.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Meals included chicken with beurre blanc sauce and capers, lamb osso bucco, a huge piece of bison tenderloin, fresh homemade pastry for lemon meringue, cheesecakes, carrot and coconut soup, broccoli cheddar soup, beautiful salads, and fresh blueberry pancakes for breakfast! My only complaint was that they didn’t seem to get the allergy concerns we listed on the admission sheet, so my recommendation is to make sure the kitchen receives your concerns on the very first day.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

There’s a lot to do in the lodge too. There’s a full bar with premium liquors, a huuuuuuuuge outdoor hot tub, and a games room with pool and foosball and books.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

One of the days I also got to go out on a snowmobile and do a private film shoot with one of their ski stars, Bruno. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to show you the video footage.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

It was great to make new friends in the group, and I hope we all stay in touch.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

This is one of my FAVOURITE photos from the whole trip. Check out our lines in the snow. Check out the incredible terrain. Holy crap, yes, that was a LOT of powder this past weekend.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The snowcats were brand new too, so they were super fast and we rarely ever had to wait for the cats to pick us up and bring us up and down the mountains. They have over 30,000 acres of terrain, so there was always a new untouched run to do.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The group we had was fantastic… 11 guests and a couple staff members to guide and help out. I can’t say how awesome the guides were (thanks for helping to carry my camera gear and dig me out on multiple occasions!) and the group was a really fun mix of people who were all friendly, and good skiers and snowboarders! From left to right back to front: Garrett, Roger, Dell, Kieran, Gail, Paula, Allan, Nigel, Ben, Greg, Bruno, Cam, and me. Kieran and Paula are owners and operators of Big Red Cats, so it was neat to see them there too and talk about their operation as well.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Our group had a pretty fast pace and on one of the days we managed to cover 22,000 vertical feet! Yes, that is for ONE day of skiing! It was surreal to look back up at our tracks.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

At the end of each day, I felt exactly like this dog. I was exhausted. But I was also very, very happy. By the end of the third day I was actually getting my legs underneath me and I think I’ll be a lot more prepared for next time.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Nick and Ali Holmes-Smith are the owners and operators of Mustang Powder, and they are one of the nicest couples you will ever meet. I gotta say they have a pretty charmed life with their three girls, dogs, catskiing operation for the winter and summer farm with horses for the summer. Crazy, eh? They invited us back for next year and I CAN’T WAIT!

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

It was the end of the season so the entire group of guests plus all the staff said their goodbyes. It was sad when it was over. It was the best snowboarding trip we’ve ever gone on, and without a doubt we’ll be back next year. Stay tuned for videos!

GROUSE MOUNTAIN LIFT TICKET CONTEST

I am also giving away THREE full-day lift tickets courtesy of Grouse Mountain here in Vancouver, BC. You’ll have to use them before the end of the season, but considering the amount of snow we are getting, you could very well have a powder weekend!

What: Three, full-day lift tickets for Grouse Mountain that must be used before April 30, 2010.
How: Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered!
When: I will draw the winner on Saturday, April 10th at 10:00 PM. (So you can use them on Sunday if you want)

Good luck, thanks for reading :)

FIRST DAY OF THE SEASON (AND ENCOUNTERS WITH ROCKS)

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Allie in the lens

It felt good to get up bright and early, before the rest of the world really started moving around… driving up the Sea-to-Sky highway towards Whistler Blackcomb with an orange glow in the morning sky.

It felt good to get changed in the parking lot, ride the gondola and chairs up, and strap in my boots, and lay board to snow for the first time in a long time.

It also felt good to find some small powder stashes, get my blood pumping again and get the ol’ muscles moving again!

However, It felt really, really bad to put a huge dent in my rail near the end of the day. Darn! :(

Let’s go over this in photos.

Whistler still green..

Whistler is still pretty green as you can tell. The snowbase was at 55 cm today. It was pretty rocky but there was still some soft stuff to be found.

Turning on the GoPro camera

I brought along my backpack and all my camera gear. Trying out the GoPro Camera here again, but this time for snowboarding.

Allan fiddles with the camera

Allan fiddles with the camera.

Icicles on chairlift

Lots of icicles forming on the chairlift. They started looking really beautiful.

Here’s a series of shots where I find some powder:

Finding some powder

Snowbase, not too bad

Swooooosh powder turn

SWOOOOOSH powder turn.

The morning light wakes up the rocky face of the mountain..

This really caught my eye in the morning. I loved how the morning sun was coming up, just touching the faces of a couple rocks on the side of the mountain… everything was blue and cold, except for the warm yellow on just a few rocks… they looked like they were waking up.

Jersey Cream is busy, but not tooooo busy

Jersey Cream was as high as we made it, we decided not to hike today. It was pretty busy, but not as busy as it could have been on Opening Day. We rode the singles line and only waited a couple minutes in line each time. Not too shabby!

Crap, rail damage :(

Yeah, let’s not talk about this too much. :( So I completely dinged in my rail on a rock… my beloved board is now in the Board Room board shop getting its rail completely replaced by the awesome and ever-caring hands of Anthony, board medic. I suppose it’s a good excuse to get a new board… but I wanted to have a powder board + a groomer board. Now I just might have to go for All Mountain. Ah well, such is life! It’s a bit dumb riding around on rocks but it was so, so worth it just to ride the snow again.

A nice dinner at home

On our way back, we stopped at Granville Island like we do every week and picked up some groceries. Since we were completely ravenous after a full day, I picked out some free-range beef tenderloin medallions. Marinated it in some sauce, garlic, Habaneros peppers, and Jalapeno peppers. Then seared it on all sides, and baked it in the oven. Topped it with a nice peppercorn Brandy sauce and freshly picked wild BC chanterelle mushrooms. Side dishes are fresh organic veggies and butternut squash pesto pasta.

All in all, not too bad a day! Eating steak while watching Canucks is awesome. Watching the Canucks lose to Calgary after a well-played game was pretty tough. We also got some good footage for the in-progress snowboard movie project, so I’m stoked about that. I am looking forward to getting my board back from repairs this weekend, and maybe I’ll get another chance to get up to the mountain this weekend.

Word to the Wise… if you go to Whistler this weekend… watch out for rocks. ;)

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This the blog of a 28 year-old Vancouver girl who loves and writes about everything “Vancouver” and West Coast. This is the blog of a girl who works in Vancouver's video game industry, it's also a surfing blog, snowboarding blog, food blog, Canucks blog, gadget blog, and photography blog. VancityAllie.com is an award-winning blog that receives over 2.7M unique visitors every year and over 4,500 followers on Twitter. VancityAllie.com has been featured in books, newspapers, magazines, and television.

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