The Place Where Snow Falls
Words: Jamie Bond, Photos: Jordan Manley
An old wise man once said that at any given day of the year, it is snowing somewhere on the earth. What he forgot to mention is that more often than not… that place is Shames Mountain, BC. Or maybe he didn't forget, but rather 'neglected to mention' the name of the place. We'd love to keep it a secret too, but could we really do that to our fellow skiers stranded at closed resorts throughout BC? Hmmmmmm, damn we're too nice.
Skiers throughout the Pacific-Northwest from Vancouver Island to Fernie, Oregon to Idaho have all been starving for their fix of powder this season, as Mother Nature decided to spend most of her winter having an affair with Hawaii. While some skiers fled the country and others abused their Playstations, we knew there was one place she wouldn't neglect.
So it was no surprise when the Shames Mountain snow-phone told us to sit down and listen up good, "95 cm of snow has just fallen on the resort". Daydreams of last year's powder filled our heads, and we knew we couldn't miss a meter of snow only 2 hrs away.
Located between the industry towns of Terrace & Prince Rupert in Northern BC, it's an easy-going 2 hour HAWKAIR flight from Vancouver to Terrace/Kitimat, with stellar views of the Coast Mountain range the whole way up. Within no time we were lounging at the Best Western in Terrace, dusting off the powder boards and prepping for the days to come.
At the resort the next morning, we immediately saw all the familiar faces from our trip in 2004. Only a handful of local hardcores and families have caught onto the wise man's secret, leaving 40 feet of annual snowfall and some killer backcountry terrain all for their own taking. We got word that a rain-crust had accompanied the meter of snowfall, but more snow had fallen since, and we were good to go. Starting the trip off with fast leg-burners, we hit lap after lap of Deliverance trees before moving on to short hikes to long runs Phasar Trees down to the infamous V gully. Local shredder Jake Palmer had no shortage of tricks up his sleeve to keep us entertained all day.
Word of Shames' bounty was already spreading, and on day 2 we met up with Whistler's Chris Eby and photographer Jordan Manley for some killer laps of Phasar trees before venturing up to North Bowl for the afternoon. Meanwhile, more and more familiar Whistler faces were making the pilgrimage to Terrace for their piece of the action, and they didn't regret it…
The real goods came day 3, when a bluebird sky let us to hike from dawn till dusk. The further we went, the bigger our eyes grew as locals Jake and Chuck showed us more areas than we could possibly ski in one trip. Zimbucktwo had our names written all over it, as we all chose different lines down it's featured 45-55 degree face of oh-so-juicy sluffing powder. Next stop was a lap of Zimmer Chute; a steep, fairly narrow couloir with tall rock walls to lock you in for the ride. Last but not least, the playground of North Bowl was hoarding a hefty stash of powder with spines, gullies, and cliffs from end to end. And without lifties to announce quitting time, we slayed North Bowl's powder until the sun set on our trip to Shames Mountain.
SHAMES MOUNTAIN is about 30 minutes drive up the road from Terrace, BC. In their first year of operation locals blasted through 72 feet of snowfall! If you haven't been, you don't know what you're missing.
Tel: 1 250 635 3773 Toll Free Snow Phone: 1 877 898 4SKI
Toll Free: 1 800 487 1216
BEST WESTERN TERRACE INN is the place to stay while in Terrace, offering killer deals on hotel/lift ticket packages. For less than the price of a day ticket in Whistler, you can stay here and ski at Shames. And on Sundays and Wednesdays, their infamous Picasso burger and fries will be filling your belly for a measly $3.95. Mmmmm, burgers.
Toll Free: 1 800 488 1898
Author in the spotlight
Hike up North Bowl
Author at sun set