Back on skis: Skiing new, Bailing on old, Winter camping…

After being out of the ski game for much of November and December due to injury I eased into January with caution. I have to credit my good friend and SkinTrack partner, Eric, for dragging me out when the conditions weren’t inspiring and I was still stressed out about hurting my ankle again.

With ankle getting better with each small outing I decided to go out on some true adventures as the only way for me to get motivated again.

And so in the past two weeks I spent seven days on skis of which only one was on race sticks on a ski hill and the rest in the backcountry.

This is how I survived it all – few cans gone missing.


Bailing on a traverse

With unusual conditions (little snow, lots of sunshine) this year on the Coast, Brad and I decided to give a shot to 2 day traverse I did couple of years ago (North Joffre Creek traverse at Duffey Lake area). We knew chances were 50/50 but why not try and see. On the 2nd day we decided to bail as couple of slopes were asking for trouble.

Exploring some new lines

After the unsuccessful traverse but very entertaining 2 days Brad and I teamed up again for a 2 day mission on Duffey again, but this time into Steep Creek area.

Fog and glaciers don’t mix up well

The night Brad and I came out of Steep Cr we enlisted for a big mission the next day. The objective was to summit and ski the North face of Garibaldi which means a heck of a long approach for a day mission with unknown obstacles awaiting.

Eric was the initiator and five of us (Eric, Brad, Gary, Carl, Stano) set out from the car in almost race-like pace in the morning. We had to bail about 200 m below the summit as we would be pushing our chances with daylight, not leaving any margin of safety in case something went wrong. We should have perhaps started an hour earlier but an hour lost walking roped up around “never-seen-before” crevasses in the fog was the bigger factor in my mind. We will be back for sure.

Photos by Gary Robbins.

Million dollars on Cayoosh

After 2 days at Steep Cr followed by the Garibaldi mission I was pretty trashed but why not go ski something when it’s Sunday and stability and weather are great. And so with a good old friend, Rado, we headed back to Duffey eyeing to summit Cayoosh and earn some cash in the Million Dollar Couloir.

Training Plans for Skimo Racing

Skimo Racing Manual


  1. Hi Bill, thank you for the kudos ;)
    The Million Dollar is not the gnarliest couloir but you can definitely die there (I estimate it 40 to 45 max). I skied it 3 times now – once in soft pow so no problem if you fall, and then two times about 3 weeks ago with very hard surface which was a bit scary. One of those times I was on TLT5 + Broad Peak 176 cm + normal Dynafit binding, and the second time I was on Scarpa Alien 1.0 + Hagan X-race 163cm + Hagan ZR binding. I skied some quite steep and icy-ish (very hard) couloirs and faces on race gear last couple of years and felt always quite confident. Obviously, we are talking slow skiing here.
    Only one problem with skiing very steep (45+) on race skis I see is that at 65mm width you sometimes land a jump turn on your boot sole first and ski edge second, which can be very dangerous. It only happened to me once on a steep roll and since then I am very cautious about this.

    Here’s what I skied on race gear –

    And here’s my interview with a much more experienced steep skier than me, Trevor Hunt –

  2. Also, what length skis are you using when you are in pure jump turn couloir situations? Any idea of what the slope angles are? Thanks!

  3. Stano- Love your blog. Is this fall-you-die couloir skiing? Are you doing this on race bindings?

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