Pat Mulrooney And His Big Back Yard
Longtime split boarder, G3 ambassador and amateur photographer Pat Mulrooney doesn’t let moss grow under his feet. That’s good cause you can’t splitboard on moss, but you sure as hell could splitboard around BC this winter with low valley snowfall for months on end. While some people took the endless pow days and elusive sunny days as an excuse to shred the local resort, Pat kept his usual relentless pace of sampling new turns in unfamiliar parts of his backyard all season long. And by backyard, we do literally mean his backyard.
We arm-wrestled Pat into sharing some of his favourite backyard photos from this season and picked his brain on how it all went.
Doglotion: Pat, I’ve seen you so eager for backcountry pow that you’ve hit Mt Baker on a Saturday and the Duffey Lake road on a Sunday. Was it easier to get your fix of freshies this winter with so much damn snow in BC?
Pat: The 2016/17 season was (and still is) one of the most memorable and consistently high quality ones I can remember in a very long time. It’s not in my nature to complain about conditions or weather but if I did the complaint department could have taken this winter off. In the past couple of seasons where we weren’t getting those typical big coastal dumps I always knew it will come back around in our favor. This year it did and erased any memories of snowless hills.
Doglotion: Unlike the typical ‘Wet Coast’ elephant snot of recent years, this winter we got hit we months of white fluffy stuff as low as it gets this winter (unless it snows below sea level?). Did you take advantage of some new snowy haunts that were just begging to be ridden?
Pat: This season presented a prime opportunity to take advantage of all the steep lower elevation old growth forests I’ve dreamed about shredding over the years! The common week-end theme for us this season was “hit new zones close to home” and we did. I was literally hitting new lines I can see from the front and back door of my home. I can finally stop wondering if they are ridable and if they go! Check mark….
Doglotion: So tell us about your big… back yard. Judging from the photos it’s really fat. You gonna be touring out of your yard until your old ‘n grey, or was this just an anomaly winter you made the most of?
Pat: I officially now have two back yards and they could both be considered big. Moving to Squamish B.C. 5 years ago was one of the best decisions of my life. Not a day goes by where I don’t appreciate just how amazing and special it is. We live at sea level next to the ocean in a beautiful coastal valley with limitless mountain possibilities in every direction. Last year I finally purchased a piece of paradise in what I consider my happy place. I’m located at 1000 metres on Tyaughton Lake in the Bridge River Valley. Right behind my cabin lies the South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park where limitless magical well spaced spruce forests offer storm shredding lines. I can wake up, drink a coffee and be on my first run of the day in 15 minutes! If you head a few kms south from the cabin you are in the Bendor Range where most of South West B.C.’s biggest peaks live. There are long and aggressive lines in this range. When we head west from the cabin we enter the Dickson Range and ultimately end up in Slim Creek where you are a stones throw (with a sled) from the Coast Range’s massive glaciers and biggest peaks. It’s always comforting to see Waddington and her neighbors when we’re in this area.
Doglotion: You do a hell of a lot of riding for someone with a full time day job. What’s your secret sauce?
Pat: I get asked this a lot and it’s all about what’s important to you and how you manage your time. I like to think if you work hard you can play hard. I also have the advantage of living my dream job as a sales rep for Live to Play Sports / Norco Bicycles. I’ve been with them for 21 years and can tell you they are one of the best companies to work for in Canada. They take care of their people and understand our outdoor lifestyles. Best of all my “slow” season at work are the cold and snowy months of the year which allows me to get after it in the winter.
Doglotion: And on that note you take a hell of a lot of cool adventure photos for a guy with a day job. How’d you get into that game? What do you like so much about photography? At least, I assume you like it because you’re certainly not doing it for the bag of Doritos that I’m giving you for this article.
Pat: You’re giving me a bag of Doritos? That’s great! My love of photography came from growing up in Cassiar BC watching my mom shoot in that mountain environment with an SLR. I think that lived subconsciously in my head until about 12 years ago when I came to discover it for myself. I always regretted not having the proper skills and equipment when I was in unbelievable places. My favorite aspect of photography is how challenging it is and how I’m not even close to being where I want to be with it. Now everyone laughs at me for the amount of heavy gear I lug around. I typically carry around 4 lenses among other photo equipment no matter how big or small the mission. It’s that one time when you don’t have your long lens that you’ll need it. The perfect example is this Wolverine I met in the Bendor Range. It’s also fun to help immortalize your best friends and make them feel like Rockstar’s!
Doglotion: After Gaper Day it’s inevitably mountain bike season. What bizarre other-worldly place are you going to roll your bike through this summer? Want to his us with a few favourite past photos to get our summer minds wandering?
Pat: Backcountry mountain biking has always been a serious passion of mine. Quite a few years ago we began travelling trough the mountains in very remote corners of BC and the world on bikes. It began to almost feel like ski touring and became an obsession always looking for an unridden zone and the quest for the perfect piece of single-track. We spend much of the season fulfilling this appetite in the South Chilcotin mountains near my cabin. My other obsession is South America’s Andes where every ride is in a new and unexplored zone. I began going there over 10 years ago and continue to return on a regular basis. On our first trip we rode over 700kms in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca Range and circumnavigated the countries highest peak Huascaran at 6768 meters. We did similar trips all over Chile and Argentina. I’m planning to return to Peru late this year and knock off a big multi week ride in the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Editor: OK enough about biking. One more photo to get your minds back into winter…