Ski Touring in British Columbia

Nick Xeros is an adventure photographer based in Portland, Oregon, who kindly provided us with this recap of a dreamy day ski touring with friends in Canada. We’re proud that Nick chose to bring Rocky Talkies along on his trip, and excited to show off his stunning photo essay below:

“We arrived in Revelstoke around 12am, so excited for the trip ahead that we could hardly sleep. The stoke was high between the four of us; fresh off the plane and eager to escape the reality of the real world for a few days. 

Early the next morning we gathered around a phone at breakfast to plan a route for the day's mission. After what seemed like a million google searches and text messages to friends familiar with the Rogers Pass Zone, we finally had a rough idea of where to start. We loaded up the car and set sail for Rogers Pass Discovery Center in hopes to make a more concrete plan of our day. The low clouds blocked views of the towering mountain ranges around us, but we could tell the terrain was vast and intimidating. 

When we arrived at the center we found out that the employees could not legally recommend specific locations, but they happily answered all of our questions and sent us on our way with a guide book detailing the area. On our way back to the car, we were stopped by a sweet elderly woman. Lisa was her name, and she definitely wasn’t about to let us leave with our heads hanging low. She shared a few tips on the terrain: where to enter, how to exit, and even a few shortcuts across the river. She let us know the snow was good, and that if we went high enough there were some tasty pillow lines awaiting our arrival. 

Stoke tanks full, we set out to the Asulkan valley in hopes to find pillow lines and cold smoke tucked away in the fog. As we got out of the car and began to gear up, I decided that now was the perfect time to surprise the crew with the new set of Rocky Talkies I had picked up. I knew a good set of radios were essential to have before making our ascent into the wilderness of British Columbia, and everyone was stoked to put them to the test! As we headed up the skin track, the first order of business was to come up with a few radio nicknames for ourselves. Mine was Bald Eagle.

Only a mile into our hike, the dreary clouds began to lift, and we broke through the trees to find a bright, beaming ray of sunshine. The unthinkable happened! The sun came out! We whooped and hollered as the clouds continued to part, revealing the astonishing Asulkan Valley backcountry. 

With a whole new level of excitement, we made our way across the river to discover our line. Lisa had made it clear that morning that it would be quite the slog to get to the top of our line, and she wasn’t kidding. Let’s just say there was no shortage of kick turns as we followed the skin track up through the trees!

It was a tiring climb, but the time passed quickly as we shared stories and trash talked each other over our Rocky Talkies. The small design made it all too easy to grab the radio on the track up and let your buddy behind you know that you were totally crushing him on the ascent. 

Finally nearing the top, we broke through the trees to find an open field of pillows untouched and waiting for us to destroy them! At this point the whole crew was frothing to get some turns in, so we decided to pick up the pace for the last uphill section. 

After transitioning over, we sat at the top for a while and soaked in the view. It was definitely a little different than the ones we have become accustomed to on Mount Hood. Mark sent the line first, absolutely blowing down the drops and slashing the Canadian cold smoke on his way down. 

At this point the radios weren’t a tool for fun, but an absolute necessity for our descent. Many of these pillows had huge drops, and some had holes that went well below twenty feet down. In order to keep us all safe, Mark would call out the lines that could be skied, how much speed we would need, and what turns to make to be safe on our way down the more consequential terrain. 

Besides ensuring that we didn’t get hurt, they were a tremendous help to me as the team photographer. With the push of a button I could point out the best lines, communicate when to drop, and let my friends know when to look like a total Jerry for the camera.

The snow was light, the sun was out, and we had just earned some of the best turns of our lives. It was only day one! On our way out of the Asulkan Valley, we discovered the biggest ball of snow on top of a tree. Being so close to the trail, we couldn’t resist stopping to session it. After bagging a handful of rad shots, we reluctantly made our way back to the car. Before packing up and heading back into town, we shared celebratory whiskey shots to commemorate an incredible first journey in British Columbia. 

Thank you Rocky Talkie for an absolutely essential piece of kit that not only helped keep us safe, but provided us with some extra laughs up the skin track.”

Check out more of Nick’s work on Instagram at @n_xeros.

2 Responses

Helen Tzakis

Helen Tzakis

March 24, 2020

Loved the pictures and article!

Shirley McPheron

Shirley McPheron

March 24, 2020

Wow looks like an incredible time. So proud of you Nick.

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