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  • TR:Campbell Icefield Chalet

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    Quiet fell over the Bluewater Creek valley as the last heli disappeared over the ridgetops on the afternoon of February first, and with woodsmoke now rising from the lodge chimney, our first week of custodian duty of 2014 at Campbell Icefield began. It’s not hard to guess which cabin we stay in.
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    Along with us was a group of old and new friends, who we had come to know from looking after the lodge in previous seasons. We flew in after several weeks of drought in the BC and Alberta mountains, just ahead of a deepening arctic high that gave some frigid nights, and cool days with highs in the minus 15 degree range for much of the week. Bluebird skies, and calm winds partly made up for that though, and we had great conditions for touring.
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    We still managed to find a decent amount of untracked good quality snow, and by avoiding the deep shade, kept warm enough as well.
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    Our week’s skiing was a mix of windsifted powder, skiable zipper crust, and the occasional surprise thrown in to keep one on their toes.

  • #2
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    A highlight of the week was a tour over to the Campbell Icefield. More crevasses were showing than before due to a below normal snowpack of 260 cm on the icefield, and a summer that was hard on the glaciers of Western Canada.
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    Surprisingly, we found the Diamond Dust run above the Icefield to be completely untracked, and offering fine turns.
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    After putting in multiple runs on the two pitches of Diamond Dust, we headed back down the icefield and over the notch into the basin holding the lodge.
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    • #3
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      On the two coldest days, with highs of minus 18 after lows of 27 below, we played it safe and stayed close to home, skiing “The Dome” as it offered easy access and maximum sun exposure.
      Not to mention some great views.
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      The exposed aspects of the Dome were badly wind hammered, but...
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      That snow had to go somewhere though, and despite the weeks since any appreciable snowfall, we found fine skiing on the sheltered aspects.
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      Wanting to avoid the chill that fell over the landscape as shadows lengthened, we headed for home fairly early most days to get the sauna fired up, and take care of some issues around the lodge-
      A frozen waterline to thaw out, and micro-hydro system going down due to the absence of the usual deeper more insulating snowpack.
      It’s not all fun and games, but we already anticipate our next custodial stint in March...


      Last edited by aka-bigsteve; 18 February 2014, 10:13 PM.

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      • #4
        Sweet. Thanks Steve.

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        • #5
          That same week at Sunrise Hut in the Esplanades the low was minus 29 (-20 Fahrenheit) and the highs a couple of days were in the minus 20's--easily the coldest week of my (mostly Californian) life. The story reliably inspires shock and awe among our friends--and the dead skin has now sloughed off my frost-nipped thumb and given way to new pink flesh.

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          • #6
            Now that's some sweet terrain. Great shots.

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            • #7
              Campbell

              Steve,

              Thanks for the memories. I've been up there twice, once in the old hut and once in the new Chalet. Some of my Calgary friends have also been the hut caretakers this year.
              The small picture by my name was taken on the Bluberry Glacier while skiing with the hut owner. Diamond Dust is a classic.
              Thanks now I need to go up again.

              CMS

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              • #8
                Wow, that looks like a great trip! Nice pics too. Thanks for sharing!

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                • #9
                  After all these years of service, isn't it about time they name a terrain feature after you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aqua toque View Post
                    After all these years of service, isn't it about time they name a terrain feature after you?
                    The Steve Riggs Outhouse Facility has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

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                    • #11
                      At the very least you should have a run named in your honour. Maybe something with a prominent convex roll.

                      Yeah, we skied bigsteve today. It was fat!

                      Last edited by aqua toque; 20 February 2014, 01:29 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Made me snort my beer all over my ipad, thanks Aqua...

                        Looked like an awesome trip! We'll make it up there one of these days <sigh>

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