Sometime in mid-December, when Brexico’s lack of snow showed signs of transitioning from Early Season Nuisance to Legitimate Problem In Need Of A Solution, I found myself at an old friend’s birthday party. Other old friends were there, too, and soon after flipping the tabs on our first beers, we began to commiserate about the dire conditions on the hill.
The 10-day forecast looked like a sunshine festival. The long-term forecast was even grimmer, with phrases like “extended high pressure” and “does not look good” staining the same sorry paragraph. It didn’t take long before someone brought up interior British Columbia, and once that happened, we stopped talking about other things for the rest of the night.
I was waiting to hear about a potential trip to the South Pole, so I couldn’t commit right away. But within a few days, the South Pole trip fell through, and I suddenly had the month of January to fill.
I sold the idea to my wife as “the last big dudes trip before we have kids,” and two weeks later, three friends and I pulled into a snowy motel parking lot in Golden, B.C. The sign on the poolroom wall read: “No Rowdy.” We had come to the right place.
Concealing our Rowdy in backpacks and pockets, we spent the next two days at Kicking Horse Resort, 15 minutes up the road from Golden. I’ve never seen so much steep terrain accessed from two chairlifts. We skied 2,000-foot fall-line runs with hairy entries and shin-deep snow the entire way down. We ate yam fries and drank Kokanee pitchers. It was like we’d landed on a sandy atoll with nothing but supermodels and margaritas for life. Except, we were mobile.
From Golden, we purred up and over Rogers Pass into Revelstoke. “Revy,” if you’re cool, is kind of a big deal in badass snow land. I don’t say that to make light. I say that because the resort has more than 5,000 vertical feet of intense terrain, and about 50 ways to scare yourself per acre. We got busy as best we could, which means as much as our quaking knees would allow. Steep tree lines and seriously legit fish and chips at a pub called the Last Drop (where they serve two big pieces of halibut for under $20) left us struggling to put down any respectable number of pints.
We cut a left turn to Whistler in pursuit of a phantom storm, then spent the next day’s drive back to the Interior searching for Sasquatch.
“Squatchy!” Bock kept yelling out the window. It was cold and wet and unusually dark, with droopy trees that looked like the ones in the rodent bog from “The Princess Bride.” If Squatchy was going to be hanging out near any road on the continent, we felt strongly that he would show up here.
Alas, he did not. We hit Revy again the next morning then spent eight marvelous hours on Rogers Pass the following day with ski mountaineer Greg Hill. I had a hard time getting over the powder, and at one point Greg’s friend Joey Vosburgh confirmed my suspicions. “Even when it’s bad up here, it’s usually still really good,” Joey said, surrounded by a bleached landscape of pillows and pyramids.
We drove south out of Revy to the hippieville of Nelson, catching the ferry at night while swigging cans in the back seat. Part of the untethered beauty of a road trip is you never feel like you’re on someone else’s schedule, free instead to follow your inner Rowdy. Before long you feel like destiny is in play yet again, and everything feels right. Holding back is like treason.
We met Rainbow at Open Mic Night in Nelson, where the powder lasts for many days after a storm. He was a cool cat — I wish we had a Rainbow in my town. I wish we had a lot of the Interior in my town, come to think of it. But because most of the fun is getting there, I’m glad we don’t.