Thursday, December 25, 2014

The BC friendliest Ski Patrol? Deer Valley!

This preseason, like so many other, Deer Valley and specifically Empire Lodge to Empire Express summit has been a great spot for my backcountry conditioning. As you can see below, I am a frequent visitor in the preseason. These are just a few of the outings as most of them are not documented:

PCMR from Empire Lodge – Nov. 16, 2014

Pre-season fling with Lady Morgan  – Dec. 8, 2013

Skipping a few years to my first Deer Valley post:

Deer Valley, amongst people that consider themselves “true skier skiers”, does not necessarily get all the respect it may deserve. Between precious grooming, Bentleys in the drive-way and ski valets some will get the wrong impression... Whatever the case may be with that, and to contrast with it, I have noticed that in our area the Deer Valley Ski Patrol is the most back country skier friendly of them all. This has been true for years and when I talk to other back country skiers I hear the same assessment. All agree that they are beyond BC tolerant, they are BC friendly. So I wanted, in my small way, to recognize that.

This season I have been up to Empire a lot. Between living “just down the street” (Old Town PC) and the limited snow availability, Empire with its higher elevation has been a god send. Over my conditioning sessions I have added laps (Parking Lot – Top Empire Express – Parking Lot) going from one timed lap to two laps and then on to three laps. I wanted to do more and add a lap to have a four lap day up there.  Yesterday was planned to be the last closed day of the Empire Express lift so that was my last chance this season. I went up there, the Ruby lift was open and there was a fair amount of activity. The Ski Patrol was preparing the terrain for the opening and I know they just rather have no one there as they prepare. However they were very accommodating, asking me to stay out of the boundaries they were setting up, letting me know about the avalanche risk and the good spots to ski. I spent almost five hours “behind the lines” yo-yoing up and down till I got my four laps in. So here is a great THANK YOU to the Deer Valley patrol.

I believe deeply in the ski culture and that attitude by the Deer Valley Ski Patrol is a great display of just that. Skiing is not just an activity to regulate and tame, skiers have skier solidarity and that only works when the Ski Patrol recognize and understand that in that phrase “Ski” comes first…

Here are a few pictures of the Empire Express area yesterday (click to enlarge):

Turns in Empire Bowl.

Deer Valley high mountian has the snow...

...and it skis nicely.

Yesterday was opening day for the Ruby lift just next to the Empire Express.

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