Marriot Basin: Time for some Spring Turns

Jul's up in the air

Spring turns

Last weekend we headed to Marriot Basin with Lisa, Julian and Colin. After strapping the skis to the roof in a jumble of ropes and bungee cords, we drove three hours to the trailhead. While we were getting organized, a rental car pulled over, also full of VOC’ers, but going to Mt. Rohr on a day trip. We headed up the logging road, admiring the views of the Joffrey group behind us, the fresh snow, and mostly the warmth and sun. We entered the forest, and were happy to follow tracks from the day before. We emerged from the forest, crossed a small frozen lake and soon found ourselves at the hut. Over lunch we discussed our ski options for the day.

It had snowed 40cm or so during the week, which was followed by sun the next day, so we were looking for north facing slopes which would probably still hold good powder, and would be more stable. We saw some daredevil tracks, below drooping cornices, and also signs of a recent avalanche. We settled on a bowl on the left of peak 2300m. On the way up we passed through the avalanche debris, jutting out of the snow like a winter rock garden. Soon we were at the top, enjoying the views. The ski down was excellent, with Julian and Colin showing us how to descend like pros. We went up for another run, and Julian checked out some huge drops which we were happy he didn’t end up skiing. Then the others decided to go up again to explore a slope on the other side, and Maya and I returned to the hut.

Lisa's showing us how it's done

We sat outside the hut enjoying the sun. The people at the hut asked us if we had seen a snowboarder – one of the girls has a split board, and was able to recognize Colin’s tracks even from such a distance. They also told us that they had seen an avalanche close to where we were, but it was probably just a small loose snow avalanche. Later we got inside, and peered out every now and then looking for the others. They only returned to the hut in the dark, after 9pm. They had tried to follow the ridge we were on and descend, but it was very steep, and they ended up skiing a south facing slope, 600m of wonderful death crust. Lisa said it was the worst she had ever skied… I decided it’s called “death crust” because you’d rather die than ski it.

Us and Mt. Rohr

The next day we headed towards the line they had wanted to ski but were unable to access, this time heading directly for it from the hut. We ascended a ridge, and stopped below a large rocky face, which was laced with beautifully sculpted snow flutes. From there we could see upper Marriot Basin, Mt. Marriot, and Mt. Rohr which sported many tracks. We enjoyed the ski down and went up for more. Then Julian and Colin skied a steep line down, but we stuck to the ridge. We had a quick meal at the hut, and skied down through the forest. Colin showed us how, with some practice, split boarders can keep up with skiers in dense forest with some ups and downs.

We stopped at Splitz in Whistler for a well deserved Buffalo burger. After our previous Brew trip, which was a heavy dose of winter, this was a welcome gulp of spring. Bring it on!

More photos


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