Category Archives: Ski

Hole in the Wall

Mount French Couloir
March 7, 2015 – 9:30 hours

There are few lines in Kananaskis that I’ve seen and needed to do, the Mount French ‘hole in the wall’ couloir has always been on that list. Maybe it’s the fact that my house had a copy of the Backcountry Magazine with a picture of it during each morning constitutional, or maybe the fact that it has a damn hole in one wall was the clincher. Either way, this past weekend skibums aligned to get out and see what the area has to offer.
The area leading up to the wall is a well trodden trail, which is no surprise given the Chic Scott recommendation of ‘terrific backcountry adventure’ on the French-Haig-Robertson Glacier Route. Interestingly enough, we thought the 10 km approach was far too subtle and we needed to feel at home in the Rockies with some Hacksaw Jim Duggan style bushwhacking through a facetted cliff zone. Regardless of the attempts to fail on just making it to the trip, we found ourselves working up the mellow alpine French glacier drainage, this was the 2nd attempt for half of our group as they had gotten sidetracked on a closer line the year before that ended up with Champagne powder, er, I mean actual Bubbly for a birthday in June.
The weather took a slight turn for the worse when we saw spindrift happened above and around us and possibly directly under, it was hard to tell with hood up and my inner marching monologue of happy ski dwarfs. Upon actually spotting the couloir in the distance after a leisurely 4 hour approach, the reality of fun started to sink in and it wasn’t long before the skis were on the pack and we entered the hopefully sheltered north facing line.
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Once on the up and up and up the uniqueness of the area started to become apparent. To say the line is a Geological oddity is an understatement. Carter (school for Geology) nearly had an orgasm and I couldn’t stop finding amusing innuendo about tips and holes.
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One of my favourite parts of skiing is exploring some unique areas, and this one was special. #explorealberta #kananaskis #skiing

The wall literally looks like some unseen force turned the wall to taffy and picked up this area to allow the snow to flow through. The ‘wedge’ sits in perfect parallel with the walls on either side like a chia seed wedged in my teeth after a cleanse. Anyway back to the skiing part.
We climbed only a few metres before noticing a very odd feature that looked like a dinosaur spine of perfectly spaced ice chunks going straight up. Upon closer inspection it was the boot pack of some friends from a week earlier, except it was elevated out of the snow by at least 10 inches.
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I’m guessing this means that they had about a foot more snow in the shot when they skied, which would have made things a bit more enjoyable. The dino spine, waiting to grab our tips, made the already skinny line half as wide and half as likely to be skiable up to the top. We pushed our way up to the crux that we scoped from the bottom and decided that was far enough about 2/3 of the way up.
The way down with very low tide snow started with an ever intense first turn (and maybe one or two feet of side slipping), in which we all had thoughts of the last group’s trip which ended with a Kananaskis accident report. Once a few turns were made we all remembered that we knew how to ski and then the day just became a fun memory on the checklist of steeps in the Rockies.

One of the coolest things I’ve ever skied in my life. I finally stuck my tips into a gaping hole and got away with it.
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Banff November Storm

This has been one of Banff’s biggest storms that I’ve been witness to. Add to that, terrain openings at every ski area over the days of the storm and we had some pretty special conditions. Thanks to everyone that skied with me over this trip! Carter McMillan, Keegan and Garrett Capel, Vince Goyette, Michelle Brazier, John Walters, Andrew Hardingham, Simon Moffatt, and Griffon Larose

Sunshine Village Thursday:
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Some good times were had at Sunshine today! #mybanff #powpow #skiing
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Louise Friday / Saturday:
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Norquay opening day on the Big Chair. What a special storm we’ve just had here’s a little preview of how things went at Norquay yesterday at opening.
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shared with Norquay
shared with SBLLS
Dan Evans keeper

All images in this post are copyright Dan Evans Photography and are not to be used without permission in other locations.

Freedom of The Skillz – Capow

I recently got asked to come along and help shoot an early season Mountaineering Camp with Marty Schaffer and Canadian Powder Guides. Of course, I jumped (quite literally, see below) at the opportunity.
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It also gave me the perfect chance to put my Helly Hansen Odin jacket through the paces of mucky muck in the Rockies. Thanks Helly Hansen and John in the Banff Store for supporting my habit!

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I’m still riding high from learning some great rope skills in an environment of amazing people that transformed some very dry material into a party weekend. Chris Rubens mentioned that it resembled a ‘guide’s training’ that so many of the mechanized ski operations go through every year. The camp got us all stoked up to ski with the main message being ‘don’t fall in a crevasse, and you have no problem’. That being said now we can all trust ourselves a little more to be a good ski buddy when the shit (or partner) goes down.

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Nights were spent hearing impactful presentations from Chris Rubens and Greg Hill with a lot of fireside chat. I also got to meet a passionate and talented photographer Bruno Long (he had one of my favourite Powder covers last season), we made nice after the initial Canon Nikon fanboy uneasiness.

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Seriously though, add this on your season start up and you’ll be ready to make good decisions in the mountains.

Group stoke:
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Full Gallery of the Camp Here (adding more all the time):
http://www.danevansmedia.com/Blog/Capow-FotSz