Athlete Profile – Les Manley
Photos by Olivier de Sousa
Straight outta Whistler, BC, we'd like to introduce you to Les Manley. Les is an up'n-coming freeskier with a strong passion for the backcountry, and killer potential in the competition scene. Find out his picks for best backcountry in BC, his plans for future, and advice on how to be like him, because you should. From here on, Les will be submitting backcountry trip reports and maybe even some South America updates to the Doglotion.com Backcountry Page. Meet the man behind the words…
Name: Leslie Dalen Manley
Grew up skiing: In Ontario at Uplands, Horseshoe Valley and Blue Mountain.
Currently reside: Deep Cove, B.C., Canada
Sponsors: Faction Skis, Scarpa, Ryders Eyewear, Black Diamond Equipment, Doglotion.com. All the rest don't know what they're missing out on.
Cereal: Golden Grahams
Bro's or Ho's: Ho's, 'cause I'm dying to procreate!
Whistler secret spot: La Avalanche
Would you rather be a professional fruitbooter or monoboarder? I'd rather be a monoboarder because monoboards are designed for the kind of speed I crave.
Machines vs. Man power? Man power. Increasing complexity only makes achieving true enlightenment harder. I addvocate giving up the distractions of echanization in a effort to simplify life.
I kicked off the season with a ski tour in the Brandywine drainage, but I have two words for you: Duffey Lake. I spent some time in the Cayoosh Mountain area and visited Saxifage and Rohr Mountains. I climbed the 9100ft summit of Mount Matier and skied down the NW face during a good weather window in mid February. I scoped the Snow Spider zone, including a successful ascent and descent of Snow Spider Mountain itself. I also soloed Pyramidine peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park and I was on the hill for all the really deep days.
5-Mile and Ymir Peak in the backcountry surrounding Whitewater ski resort where both memorable deep Kootany powder stashes I ripped up in January. I had an exceptional experience skiing lines on the Gargoyles and Columnar peak near the Elfin Lakes Chalet in Garibaldi Provincial Park later that month as well. Frosty Mountain in Manning Provincial Park proved to be the most epic stash of the year. Temperatures hovered around -16C for the two days I was there and over 50cms of fresh made for some incredible slash-style bottom turns. I spent one amazing week at the Trophy Mountain Chalet in Wells-Gray Provincial Park near Clearwater, B.C., painting the Southern-Caribou Mountains with sick lines in knee deep fluff. To finish my North American ski season I trekked a grueling 23 km up the Yoho Valley in Yoho National Park near Field, BC. I did that slog with a 60 lb pack jammed with food for five days and all the mountaineering equipment a backcountry man could want.
I'd like to climb Wedge Mountain and ski down the SW face as well as the NW couloir. The Castle Towers in Garibaldi Provincial Park seem like a worthy objective for a first descent, as do lines off Alpha and Serratus peaks in the Tantalus range. Atwell Peak near the Elfin Lakes and Mt. Brew which is northwest of the Duffey Lake also hold a certain allure for me. I'm planning to do some traverse style peak bagging missions in the Blue River and Bella Coola areas next season.
The rumors are true. I'm headed to the southern cone in search of an endless winter in one of the world's great mountain ranges; the Andes. I'll be basing myself out of one of Argentina's premier ski resorts, Las Lenas. I will be working there as a ski guide for a company called Las Lenas Ski. Check it out at www.laslenasski.com.
Las Lenas is getting pretty popular these days. Where do you think the next big thing will be? Why?
Some of the lesser explored and developed mountain areas of the world have great ski potential. Greenland, Iran, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria are all examples of such wealth. If only I had the capital to build the next great lift serviced ski mecca.
What do you see as the future of skiing:
I believe big mountain jibbing will really come into it's own in the next five years. It is simply a matter of effective marketing and terrain accessibility. If this aspect of skiing is to become economically viable boundaries need to be opened.
How bout competition. You entered the fernie comp this year and came out charging a weee bit too hard, but coulda taken the comp if you landed stuff like that throughout the comp. Thinking of doing more?
This is my advice to anyone out there thinking about drinking a Red Bull in the start gate of their first freeski comp: don't do it. Seriously though, it was good to finally get into the competition headspace. I'm planning to do the North American tour next season and a few of the world tour stops.
Ya, here it is: If you want to ride big mountains you must be willing to put the time into educating your self. Take an avalanche course, ride with people you respect and those who have more experience than you. Learn by thinking like a leader, don't be a follower. Pay attention to the little things and you will develop good mountain sense. It is this sense which keeps ski mountaineers alive. Buenos suerte. Good luck.
Thank you to Olivier de Sousa for providing the photography. All shots are from Les' previous trip to Las Lenas, Argentina in September 2002.