Pretty good winter thus far. Skiing has been good and snowfall totals up high are impressive. Nothing record breaking but pretty darn good. What is seemingly record breaking however, is the amount of snow we have in town and at valley bottom in general. In my time in Smithers, the 1.5 meters we have on the ground in town is the most I have ever seen. All of sudden, we have a possible once (maybe twice or thrice, who knows?) in a lifetime event where everything down low is skiable.
Ski tracks are popping up here and there in places where we have never seen them. Why not? Opportunity is knocking and you can skin from your door. Upon realizing the magnitude of the opportunity we were being presented with, several ski minded locales tilted their heads towards the end of Main Street where the ubiquitous Grad Rock is found.
We ended up skiing a variety of lines across the width of the feature. The shaded diamond area ^^^ in the middle of the luminous slope (in the crosshairs of the tallest telephone pole) is the most direct and classic of the lines we skied. We basically skied the ridge lookers left and adjacent to the shade and dropped into the concavity at the bench (indicated by the horizontal shade line).
Not sure if anyone has ever skied this. Not sure there has ever been enough snow to ski it.
There's where I work. There's my old house. There's my kids pre-school. There's the post office. There's the liquor store. There's Paul's Bakery. There's the Sausage Factory. There's the art gallery, the museum, library..... This is the closest to home piece of real skiing I have ever done. (photo Ryan LaFontaine)
Buddy dropping in. You can see from his ski penetration that the snow had a very early season, bottomless vibe to it. The skiing was far from elegant at times. Every once in a while you would weight your skis and suddenly find yourself up to your belly button in snow.
Looking down from the bench.
Trusty whippet. That thing will save my bacon one day. Hopefully before I impale myself on it.
Buddy hitting a double.
Me, comfortable. (photo by Ryan LaFontaine)
I visited Grad Rock 3 times this past weekend. The snowpack settled and the ski quality got better with each visit. Unfortunately, more and more sharks reared their nefarious heads with each visit as well. We pretty much trashed the place and with temperatures set to rise, I can only imagine that Grad Rock will quickly settle back into it's familiar status as a non-skiable venue.
Lots of fun overall. Legit gnar of a medium putt persuasion. And for how fun and cool it was, it always got way radder in my mind when I remembered where I was. Minutes from main street. Close enough to hear people's conversations.
Long term locals have been telling me that there was one season, many years ago where this line might have been doable (89???). But even then they aren't sure. Could this really have been a once in a lifetime opportunity? I hope not. But if it was, I can assure you that when I am 70 years old and pulling my pants clean up to my armpits that I will be pointing up at Grad Rock and reminding all the youngsters that once upon a time, during the winter of 2018, we got to ski that thing.