Words: John Cavan, Rome film director and team manager
“You just missed the powdaaaa, but more is on its way in two days…" This is what the guy said who we picked up hitchhiking on the road up to Kicking Horse.
This kind of sums up our trip so far— we have been just a little ahead of the snow or just a little behind it. After leaving Revelstoke, we blasted the van up the road to Golden. It was snowing a little on the drive so it made the drive over Roger’s Pass a little interesting. This is the spot in Any Means where Jonovan does the lines that lead right into the road. The Trans Canadian Highway literally winds its way right beside massive mountains and heads at this point that seems go right though the Canadian Rockies.
We arrived in Golden where we met the one and only Bjorn Leines waiting for us. Bjorn had tweaked his back a week earlier so he had missed the early part of the trip, but jetted up to meet the van and the crew for a couple days before we headed across the plains. Once again it was great having everyone together, and the crew stayed up late shooting the shit about his or her year so far.
In the morning we headed up to Kicking Horse. No one had ever been there before, but we had all heard tons of stories about the place. Our friend Jeff Baker from Snowboard Mag had even called it his favorite resort he had ever ridden; expectations were high. Although it hadn’t snowed much, there was a small layer of 5-6 inches that made slashing around super fun. The mountain is enormous. It seems to just keep rising, and from the looks of it there are infinite possibilities. Our first run, we dropped into some chutes directly under the lift that were steep and filled with little rock drops. Everyone followed Bjorn as he picked his way through the cliffs and trees. It was so much fun rallying around the face with our crew as big as it was.
Bjorn and Will found a pretty sick rock gap that transferred into a natural spine where you could land either frontside or backside. The crew quickly went to work building a small pat down jump and a good in run. It seemed crazy to me that we had such a cool looking feature built directly under a lift. Bjorn worked the jump first, blasting a method over the transfer with classic Bjorn style. Max and Yan quickly started various half cab and late spin trick variations and MFR launched one of the best methods any of us had ever seen a girl do over the gap; in fact when looking at the pictures most of us agreed it was the shot of the day. Finally the session ended with Bjorn and Will blasting doubles super close to one another and each landing in the opposite pocket. Will launched a big stalefish followed closely though the air by Bjorn doing a method. They looked like so much fun, I’m sure you’ll be seeing that photo sometime soon.
After the rock transfer fun, we continued cruising the mountain again, and although the snow was a little on the shallow side Bjorn still managed to pick his way into a fairly gnarly line. It was kind of funny to see the entire French Canadian crew yelling at him not to drop into it from the bottom, but Bjorn showed why he’s been pro for more than a decade by pointing it through the rocks, choosing his line and committing to it all the way to the bottom. Everyone was stoked to see it. We then found this weird gully that seemed to wind down the entire mountain. It still had a little bit of fresh, and was filled with hips and drops that seemed to snake on forever. It was sick to see the whole crew rallying down these runs snaking each other and blasting around. I think we got some pretty sick shots of everyone rallying, and the tight trees reminded me a little of the early morning runs at Stowe. It was sick. After pulling up to the gondola at last chair and convincing the lifties to let us on one more time, we shredded down the mountain in almost total darkness and headed out of Kicking Horse with the fullest day of the trip so far.
In Golden we had dinner, where after a heated discussion started by Yan and Bjorn about payment, credit card roulette was started. Keep in mind that Yan was pushing for this harder than anyone at the table. He was yelling and cheering for it, so it didn’t really surprise me that after the 12 or so credit cards were thrown into the hat and the waitress pulled the card to the rowdy table it ended up Yan’s card. Little Doggy was not so stoked and didn’t say much on the drive that night.
After dinner we re-packed the van, (something we’re getting pretty good at it these days), stopped by the shop Darkside in Golden to catch up with the guys again, and then started the drive over to Banff. This may have been the hardest drive of the trip due to weather; it was blowing pretty good and the snow was drifting all over the roads making it hard to see and keep the van on the road. Finally we made the last leg into Banff and home of the shop Rude Boys. We arose in the morning to find our familiar friend the clouds looming overhead, but rallied up to Lake Louise anyhow. This mountain was great, they handed over free tickets to our crew with simply one instruction “Just make us look cool", and with that the crew took off on the hill tearing around in a super fun train of friends spraying each other and exploring the large mountain. We found a really sick gully and wound our way through that, we ollied ropes and slow signs, MFR and Yan were perfecting high speed air to tripods which were fun to watch, and we even sessioned a cat track gap to closed sign. Lake Louise was really fun and reminded me how much fun bombing around a mountain with a bunch of friends can be.
We ended our time in Banff by hanging at Rude Boys. The shop is really cool; it’s packed with good product and mixed in with all kinds of old memorabilia. This is the shop to go to if you are anywhere near Banff. They’ve helped the local scene immensely, and have even spawned off some of the other cool shops in surrounding areas. Even our friend Karl from Society once worked there. After dinner and a failed attempt to do a rail, due to lack of snow, we chose the parking lot of a local Safeway to break down the van and break the group up for the trip. It was really sad to see riders go their separate ways, but the fact of the matter was simple. Not everyone was heading across the great plain of Canada.
MFR packed her stuff up first, and after saying “Later Bitches" she shot off to the airport towards Whistler to rejoin the Absinthe crew. Bjorn headed back to Utah, where he’s planning on jumping right on to his RV and traveling to meet up with Clancy and the TWS crew. Yan headed back to Montreal, and unfortunately after a few days of debating it, young Lazz hopped a plane back to Tahoe to have his knee checked up on after tweaking it a little bit in Revelstoke. So very quickly we were back to a small crew, Max, Will, Marius, Rob Mathis and myself.
We have pointed the beast east and we are firing on all cylinders across the great wide open trying to keep the van between the lines and make it to Vermont for the World Quarters, wish us luck!