Powder Skiing for the Young at HeartWritten by Lockie Brown
About 8 years ago, I got a call from daughter an old friend. “It’s Dad’s 60th birthday soon and family wants to send him on a ski trip. We are hoping that you and Bill and Owen will keep him company”. “Sure”, I said, expecting a destination like Sun Peaks or Rossland. “Where are we going?” “Cat Skiing near Fernie.” “What skiing?” “Cat skiing!” “What’s Cat Skiing?” “Its backcountry skiing from snowcats, sort of a poor man’s heli-skiing.” “Can I afford it?” “You can’t afford to miss this!”
That four-day trip was start of seven years of superb skiing. On that first trip, we had a marvelous time and powder skiing, likes of which none of us could remember. Run after run in fresh, untracked snow. There were steep rollovers that put my heart in my throat, where deep snow seemed to support us like an invisible hand, letting us down fall line slowly and gently. Wow! Face shots galore! I thought, “Life is too short not to be doing this every year!”
On second day of that tour, I presented myself at lodge office and requested a booking for following year. “Sorry, full up”. “No!” “Yes!” “However, year after has an opening, and you could have a whole cat.” “Done”, I said, and thought, “You fool, what are you doing?”
After much effort, evening after evening of phone calls, hounding old friends and a very long wait, we were back two years later with twelve good men and women. Some were old ski friends of almost 50 years. We had another wonderful trip with great skiing, great snow and great company.
Now, years later, we are still at it. We’ve changed venue from near Fernie to a spot near Golden, B.C., where skiing is a little higher and snow seems to be a little more reliable. Our host is Chatter Creek Snowcat Skiing (www.chattercreekcatskiing.com), a partnership of four personable young men who run an excellent operation, about 20 minutes by helicopter north of Golden, on western flank of Rocky Mountains.
The 130 sq. km. tenure includes a large glacier at just under 10,000ft. elevation, huge open alpine slopes and bowls and a number of enormous ridges that offer superb tree skiing. After many trips to Chatter Creek, we have yet to ski entire area. Each summer, snowcat roads are extended to open up ever more terrain. An application has been made to increase terrain size by about 85%. See Cat Skiing Terrain (http://www.cat-skiing-terrain.blogspot.com) for a photographic tour of Chatter Creek tenure.
Skiing on Vertebrae glacier is “mellow” and views are spectacular. From highest point, view spreads to west, over nearby peaks and ridges to distant Adamant Range and Selkirk Mountains. To east, much nearer and in clear view, are countless peaks and snowfields of Continental Divide, including Clemenceau Icefield, Mt Columbia and Snow Dome. The latter is source of famous Columbia Icefield and contains hydrographic apex of North America. As skiers ski on glacier, unusual “squiggles” of Sullivan Fault fill view and forms backdrop of many a guest photograph. See Glacier Skiing at Chatter Creek (http://glacier-skiing.blogspot.com) for many photos from Vertebrae glacier.
On bluebird days, guides usually head to high alpine for a few runs on Vertebrae glacier, or in one of many large bowls or slopes such as Clamshell, upper Lodge Ridge, Super Spruce, South Park, Lakeview , and Oyster Bowl. After a few of runs, group will move on to nearby areas, skiing here and there on way, never staying long in any one spot. Every run in untracked snow!
Snowcat rides are rarely more than 15 to 20 minutes long, usually just long enough to enjoy half a sandwich and a drink, to rest legs and to share a couple of bad jokes with our companions. The Bombardier snowcats (http://www.bombardier-snowcats-at-chatter-creek.blogspot.com) are warm and comfortable. They accommodate 12 guests, two guides and a driver. The three cats move independently and are usually out of sight of one another all day.
Choosing A Cycling Road BikeWritten by Andrew Caxton
How To Choose Your Road Bike, Different Level Of Riders
How to choose your road bike? Well first question is how much do you want to spend and how much cycling will you do? The answer to first question is a difficult one, many people when they are younger they want to ride there bike all day and what to be next winner of Tour de France, but they can not afford to spend much on there bike. If they get fit and win some races and get in a good team they will be given a top class bike, but what usually happens is they have to give up and work, have a family etc. When they are older and have more money they can afford bike of there dreams. As to how much cycling you do, that depends on whether you can justify having best bike around and only doing a short ride on Sunday morning. Remember you get what you pay for.
Basic Level Bikes.
If you go to larger sports stores or bike shops they will have complete bikes for sale, probably a alloy frame with Shimano Tiagra or Campagnolo Mirage or a mixture of cheaper components, this bike will be built to a price, will ride fairly well, wont be very light and is a good place to start. To get some thing better, start with a nice alloy frame and if you can afford it, carbon forks, then with what money you have left chose your group-set of either Shimano or Campagnolo and then you can pick your saddle, handlebars, wheel rims and tires, this is all fun, but if you are working to a budget, it can be tricky.
Mid Level, Touring and Possibly Racing.
In this range of bikes you can buy them as a complete cycle, in cycle shop, sports store or even in specialist magazines or on web. It is more fun to choose components for your frame and how much you want to spend. At this level you would probably be looking at Shimano 105 or Campagnolo Centaur road bike parts and you could possibly buy some built up wheels from Shimano, Campagnolo or Mavic, but first start with frame, there are many frames out there to choose from, get on net and look for what you want, it will probably be alloy again, with carbon forks. Alloy seat pin, handle bars and stem and a comfortable saddle.
Top Level Bike For Racing and Pleasure.
Now it gets more difficult, your components would be Campagnolo Chorus or Shimano Ultegra, unless you can afford top components of both manufacturers. Wheels again would be possibly Mavic, Shimano or Campagnolo, deep carbon rims look Great and have a wonderful ride, but will probably be too expensive, best if you stick to alloy rims for high pressure tires as tubulars, even though they ride wonderfully, will be expensive and a lot of trouble. Handle bars, stem and seat pin could be alloy or carbon, if you have money. The frame is heart of your bike and you will want a good one, at this price range alloy is going to be first choice with carbon forks and possibly a carbon rear triangle. If you look around you might manage to find an all carbon frame at this price, Giant make a very well priced carbon frame in a compact, sloping design, there are others but you will have to spend a lot more money.