Telemagique Ridge: Blue Skies + Powder = Magic?

This weekend I organized an “intermediate friendly” trip to Telemagique Ridge. I chose this destination since I was hoping that the high access road would cut down our elevation gain to get to the good snow, especially important for a day trip in mid winter, when the days are short.

Chris, with a classic refugee look

We woke up “dark and early” and drove up the Sea to Sky. Speaking of the sky, it was clear, very clear. It was starting to look like stellar weather, better hurry up to get to the trailhead. I was feeling giddy, hyperactive, charged and ready to go. At the trailhead, it was quite chilly at -10c, cold enough to get us going quickly. I gave out slices of a poppy seed cake I had made the day before, and we were on our way. I wasn’t actually sure which of the roads we should take up initially, since the description mentions a crosscountry run named “Mainline”, but the signs weren’t up yet, so that wasn’t too helpful. One of the participants was sure they recognized the correct road, so we charged up it at a good pace. Soon enough I was just in my tshirt, and we hadn’t even started breaking trail yet (the trail was groomed).

After about an hour, up at the front of the group we were starting to wonder where the junction we were looking for was, also known as “Sparkplug Corner”, which was supposed to be 2.8km from the parking lot. We had passed a sign with a “3” on it, but failed to realize that that probably meant something was wrong, and only when we passed the next sign with a “4” on it did we realize we had a small problem and pulled out the GPS. After some head scratching, we figured out we were on the wrong road, a crosscountry run named “Real Life” which actually runs parallel to the road we wanted for a few km’s and then breaks off. Luckily we only had to backtrack about 1.2km, and then cut through the forest to get onto “Mainline”. We aimed to hit the road below Sparkplug corner, but once we got there, we weren’t sure if it was above us or below us…

Matt and his enigmatic nose wrinkling

Eventually we found the corner, and the good exercise started for real with breaking trail through 20-30cm of fluffy powder. The going was easy until we got to the end of the road. There we headed into the trees, where there wasn’t enough snow to cover the smaller trees and fallen logs. After that we stumbled around in some micro terrain – lots of small ridges and creeks. Finally we made our way into the main creek and headed straight up it, expecting some easier route finding from there and on. Then a holler came from behind, something about lunch… Not wanting this to turn into a death march, we found a good spot in the sun for a break. While eating our lunch we discussed various culinary topics, such as why I prefer to over-dehydrate my bananas chunks, and the details of Chris’ experience eating the “hottest hamburger in the world” which involved some lying on the floor in the foetal position (definitely type II fun).

A snack break with views of Rainbow Mtn.

By the time we were done with lunch, it was already 1:30pm. People didn’t seem too enthusiastic to continue, since our chances of actually getting to the good ski slopes seemed dim, considering the remaining three hours of daylight. Also, as I’ve seen many times before, people tend to exaggerate the time it will take them to ski down, in this case through the forest back to the top of the logging road (some thought 2 hours, but it took 1/2 an hour). Once we were back at the road, it now seemed that we still had a lot of time on our hands, so we found a short slope to ski, amongst the trees. The people in the front oo’ed and ahh’ed to the point where the rest of the group complained that they were exaggerating…

I have heard that trouble seems to come in triples, and indeed this seemed to be the case, although it was definitely of the minor insignificant kind in this case. One rubber skin tip tore, another skin refused to stick, and one heel throw fell off. After some quick mending, we skied back down the road, which was fast and cold, at least for those of us who were too lazy to put on a shell (me!). Just before we reached the car, we saw where we had gone wrong on the way up – one actually has to make a right turn to get on to “Mainline”, even though on the map it looks straight. Oh well, I’ll be back!

More photos

This entry was posted in Backcountry Skiing, British Columbia (and nearby), Sea to Sky, Trip Reports, Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC). Bookmark the permalink.

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