I just got back from a ride into the backcountry chalet and was happy to see the amount of snow left and the condition of the roads and ice. It has been a very warm week here in the valley. It was 15 degrees out today and the kids had their dirt bikes out and riding in shirts. The driveways are even starting to dry up. I trailered my machine in Cornfield about 100 feet so I wouldn’t have to drive on dirt at all. I didn’t have to far in the road before there were no dirt patches from trucks driving in the road and once I took my first right and started climbing, conditions improved as I drove. I took a side road detour and found myself sinking in about 2 1/2 feet of snow. If it was to turn cold again you could go anywhere but at these temperatures its best to stick to the road and beaten paths. The roads were awesome! I got to the cabin in 45 minutes..put it that way! The brooks are out but the ice in the lakes and ponds are still solid. As you can see from the picture ice is only starting to degrade. There are areas where there are a few rocks showing through the road on the way in to the higher country but easily avoidable. For the most part though the roads have at least 1 foot of hard packed snow. If you are booked in for this weekend be prepared to either stick to the roads and trails or if you are comfortable skipping the brooks and washouts to get to the backcountry you can go most anywhere, including both Hodges climbs. The bogs and open country are still good when the temperature is down but as the day warms up it is patchy and rough. Its best to stay on the roads, trails and ice.
Archive for April, 2012
A very warm day here in Central. I haven’t been riding today but I intend to head into the backcountry chalet and check the out conditions tomorrow afternoon. I expect we will be good to go for the weekend but I won’t know for sure until I get in there. For those of you booked in for a ride this weekend make sure you check the post tomorrow. Let hope we didn’t lose too much. As you can tell from Fridays pictures we had a lot as of this past weekend.
Well so far my prayers were answered! We got about the same amount of snow yesterday evening that we lost with the bit of rain we had this morning and the fhe forecast is steadily improving. I suspect Hodges might have had more snow than here at the chalets. We had a nice ride yesterday. Still excellent going inside and I think we will pull through this mild spell. I will keep you posted!
Yesterday, we had 13 sleds out on Friday for what I think I will make an annual event. Considering the awesome riding conditions here we did not have a big weekend booked. This is due to the constant battle of convincing the rest of the island (including people from Central) that the riding conditions are as good as they are even though there is practically no snow in the valley. I am sure when people from central read this post they will be surprised these pictures were taken yesterday. We decided to invite some regular customers out at a discounted rate and offer free guiding for the day. It was not a tour, just a ride with friends. This allowed me to have some extra fun as I relieved myself of the responsibilities of a paid tour. I spent a good part of the day looking for jumps, climbs and water skipping opportunities, of which I found plenty! We all had a ball! We had a family call last minute looking for a place to sleep while on the way to the West coast to ride. I mentioned on the phone that we had plenty snow here so they should come with us on Friday. It took some convincing as they thought I was out to lunch when they arrived to see the lack of snow around the chalets. Boy were they glad they stayed! They had a fantastic day and were blown away by the amount of snow, the country. Once again we converted another group that they do not have to drive an extra 3 hours to ride mountains and experience late season riding. They will be back. Nothing against the West Coast…its stunning over there and I ride there myself a couple times a year, but it is not the only place on the island with such landscape and winter conditions. Riders need to explore other options. One thing I love about the North East coast is the lack of people. Its easy to find untouched climbs and unbeaten trails. On out trips we don’t see many other riders.
We traveled 150km yesterday covering back country roads, trails, open country and hills. It snowed for a good part of the trip, sometimes heavily and not a flake fell at the chalets. It was a warm comfortable day…I expect today we will be riding in only our shirts. Although we had barrels of fun I was, and still am, a bit sad knowing the winter is coming to an end. The forecast for this week is warm but I think we will pull through it. Its going to be an early spring though as I am used to riding until very late April into Hodges and early May on the Gaff. Those of you who know me are aware of how much I love riding. Although the there is still lots of snow I already can’t wait until next season. So far I have racked up over 7000km since early January and that’s considering we lost over a week when we lost good riding conditions early this winter. This is a lot considering so much of our our riding here in central is backcountry trails. Still I look forward to meeting the group of the day and visiting the same places day after day. I never get sick of it and it is always a pleasure. We don’t have a large number of kids coming to the chalet, especially riding their own sleds but this year there has been the exception. They have no trouble keeping up either! These two, Andrew and Mark did very well indeed. There was another young fellow, Tyler who fit right in as well and they all had a great time!
I would like to use this post to thank all of you who came out to ride with me this season. I know you will all be back next year…many of you multiple times. I would also like to express my appreciation for all of you who voted for us in the recent Sleddy Awards. We won both “Guide of the Year” and “Accommodation of the Year”. This is a a great honor for us and very much appreciated. Well as many of you have heard me say, I have to go “burn some gas”. My barrel for this week is not empty yet!
I have to add another piece to this post. Many of you know my little buddy Jack who is 6 years old. He has an Arctic Cat 120 and has been riding for two seasons now. Last year he hardly rode at all though as he found the machine too slow….and it was. It had a top speed of about 10 km per hour. I can’t blame him for being bored! As soon as the warranty ran out I removed the speed controller and now 25km per hour is no problem! He is having a ball now. He loves to “ditch bang” all the way in to our backcountry cabin which is over 25km from here. He rarely sits and always wears his snow-cross helmet, goggles and chest protector. He learned a lesson of limitation the other day when he tried to climb a hill from the ditch which was about 8 feet high. It was too steep to climb straight on so he attempted it on a 45 degree angle. Of course he rolled his machine right over himself and back down into the ditch. He damaged his ego and broke his marker flag off the machine. I wasn’t there but caught up on the scene and everyone was cracking laughing. It was a proud moment for me as a father of a boy who is going to be an awesome rider. He is constantly looking for jumps too…where did he pick that up I wonder LOL? We were out yesterday (Sunday) building jumps for Jack which worked out well. The more confident he got the higher I built the ramp and before long he was clearing two feet high and 6 feet in distance. He is already begging this morning to get back at it. That’s my boy!
My brother came in for his annual late winter snowmobile trip and I took advantage of the time to explore some routes in my own backyard and boy did I find some gems this past few days. What I set out to do is map another quick access to Kippen’s Ridge, an area I have been riding frequently this winter. I did find a route via Mary Ann Lake -South Twin Lake-Gull Lake and on to Seal Bay Bog. What I found on the way was even more exiting. Hills and lots of them all fairly open with spaced trees, bowl-like gulches and lots of snow. I spent the last two days in there and intend on returning soon…this weekend at the latest. We have a good forecast this week with 10-15 cm of snow on the way. We were having so much fun in the hills I neglected my camera duties but I did get a couple shots attached to this post. Its still winter wonderland back there!