Caribou Hut Trip 2012

This last weekend we spent at the Caribou Hut in the selkirk mountains. Chris Munro and I took our three sons, Teig 10, Marshall 11 and Max 12. The boys hiked like champs and acted like goof balls, it was great. I know I’ve been a bit lax on posting, and it seems to happen each year at this time. Something about trying to get in all the riding I can seems to compete with work and thus put the updates at the end of the line. Hopefully we will get some great pics and video from this coming weekend when I meet up with a bunch of like minded individuals in the Sawtooths again. Anyways, here’s a short video of the hut trip, enjoy.


We have been getting so much snow lately that it was time to make a bigger sub to handle deep conditions. With the current 145 you can go anywhere on the mountain and ride a ton of pow but when it starts getting over say 10-12 inches in a single day dump then it becomes harder if the terrain isn’t steep. I could go into the minute details of the bigger sub but lets just leave it at bigger or maybe puffier, hence its current nickname “puffy”. Here’s a close up shot of the bottom which is 3/4 of an inch wider then the current 145.

puffybottomcloseup Puffy

But with the extra width comes a loss of leverage which means that it takes more pressure to set the edge in a turn on groomers. In the powder of course the opposite is true, you ride higher in the snowpack and thus its easier to turn.

puffytrees Puffy

We had a great day off the backside of one. Hiked a couple of powder laps then went looking for some jumps. Found this snow covered tree first. It cracked as soon as Cole hit the lip.

puffytreehit Puffy

puffyslashtwo Puffy

Just below this was a road cut with a wind lip that we pat down.

puffypatdown Puffy

Puffy handled great and will be the go to board for deep conditions which I hope continue.

Jeff and Drew visit the shop

jeffanddrewvisitiglooinside Jeff and Drew visit the shop

Luckily we got lots of snow while they were here. We also carried our Circuit Powder surf up the chair, this was E2‘s idea and it turned out to be a good one. It was pretty deep and kinda heavy so the powder surf was right at home.

jeffanddrewvisitpowsurfonchair Jeff and Drew visit the shop

jeffanddrewvisitpowsurfdrag Jeff and Drew visit the shop

The igloo was a bit harder to find this time around. Will be interesting to see what it looks like after a few more dumps.

jeffanddrewvisitigloodoor Jeff and Drew visit the shop

Hiking laps in the backcountry is my favorite thing to do.

jeffanddrewvisithiking Jeff and Drew visit the shop

MLK weekend escape

colesslash MLK weekend escape

Our conditions have been nothing short of amazing considering how the rest of the country is fairing. Not that we are getting huge dumps but when Utah and Tahoe are still bare, 6” feels deep. I don’t preach as much as I used to about WHY you should snowskate. I think you should do what ever gets you stoked. But for me,(preaching) riding with my kids on a snowskate is way more fun then other options. I think it keeps us on the same level and I’m able to help them out if they have trouble with their gear which always seems happens. It started with the massive laps we used to do on the bunny hill, which on a skate feels more like intermediate and now I find that taking my sons into the backcountry on a skate is kinda the same. We aren’t hitting extreme terrain just fun little pow fields. When they get stuck or need a break from carrying their gear its so easy to help out when your not strapped down. Anyways here’s another short vid of the Igloo zone. Cole is the one launching.

New Year’s Eve igloo sleep over

With the igloo done and stocked with sleeping bags and pads the only thing left to do was sleep in it. The weather after Xmas was kinda finicky and we passed on two scheduled dates which had moderate temps but rainy conditions. That left New Year’s Eve as the next option but the temps at 6000’, the igloo elevation, were going to be around 15 degrees. I wasn’t sure I had that much faith in the igloo to keep us warm, but folks who knew assured me that we would be cozy. Dec 31, turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, perfect for our hike in. We would at least start out the night dry. Arriving around 2 pm we started work on a wind break wall to the south. This got us warmed up and having fun.

nyigloowalltwo New Years Eve igloo sleep over

We hiked a bit from the igloo and dug a couple of test pits. Pulled out our probes and measured the snowpack at 120 cm. We did an extended column test and found that the snowpack was looking pretty stable. It started getting dark around 4:30 so we headed in to cook dinner. We all felt pretty warm but the outside temps were dropping fast. In the igloo the boys pulled off their ski boots and put on their hut booties we had bought the night before. This turned out to be a huge comfort to their toes and no one complained to me about cold feet. With the candles lit things started to feel pretty comfortable, but it would get a lot colder and the thin door of the igloo with a 3” gap at the bottom didn’t look capable of stoping the cold. We had it pretty cush, thought, with ipod and speakers, DS game machine, tons of chocolate and stash of fireworks, Around 7 pm we went out to light em.

I jammed the first rocket into the snow and lit it. It quickly became evident that I had jammed it too far cause it wasn’t going airborne. Oh crap exploding rocket in our faces! We ducked towards the igloo as it blew up! Ok second one not so deep and it launched and exploded with flares. After the light show we returned to the igloo and felt how much warmer it was inside than outside and I knew we were going to be ok. We pulled out the sleeping bags and hunkered down with the “stuff you should know” podcasts playing on the ipod. We slept pretty good and stayed warm and dry, I was amazed! The next morning brought clear skis and nice temps. We had oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfest, then got our  gear on. We got some visitors, Cole and the Munro Family, Chris, Kathleen, Marshal and Owen. The boys started building jumps and we started doing laps. It was a blast!!

nyigloowallthree New Years Eve igloo sleep over

nyigloohike New Years Eve igloo sleep over

Igloo part two

igloolastblock Igloo part two

We got back out on Sat to wrap up the roof and get some laps in. Everything worked great and I think this Igloo will last the season.

igloodoor Igloo part two

Its pretty cozy inside, especially if you are sitting on a pad. We’ve stocked it with some candles, chocolate, area map and the latest issue of Starfish for anyone who happens to find it while tromping around in the backcountry.

iglooinsidestarfish Igloo part two

After we were sure the roof was settled we remove the building jig and dug a trench down the middle so you can sit comfortably with your legs down. All that’s left now is to spend the night in it. Me and my sons, Max and Teig, are planning on spending a night this week. They are up for the adventure only because they have no idea what’s in store.

iglooone Igloo part two

Igloo part 1

We made an igloo in the back yard with our Ice box igloo maker last year. But the backcountry turns are a little fickle in the yard so this year we put it in a more turn friendly place. This spot is about 1/4 mile out of bounds and is at the top of a small mound with turns all the way around it. Seemed like a good location.

igloospot Igloo part 1

We packed it down with our snowshoes and leveled out a spot. The first row is the slowest and most important because it sets the angle of the dome.

igloofirstrow Igloo part 1

The second row things get going a little faster cause the packer doesn’t have to be on his knees the whole time.

igloosecondrow Igloo part 1

igloofourthrow Igloo part 1

The snow was pure sugar, which makes a really strong block when you pack it carefully. The downside is it takes almost twice as long to build. With wet snow you can build an igloo in 2-3 hours. After 4 hours we still had the final top to do and the sun was setting so we had to leave it unfinished. I figure it still has about an hour of building time left. Will post a completed pic as soon as I can.

Ps: if you look right above Cole‘s head in the last picture you will se a tower on the hill in back. That is the resort boundary.

Skate the Sawtooth video

The new issue of Starfish has an article by Jeremy Jensen about the Sawtooth trip. Great pics and text so check it out. To go along with the article I uploaded the Sawtooth video to Youtube. Its pretty close to the original I posted right after the trip but with a few additions and some new music courtesy of Audio Swap.

The snow is just barely holding on in the back-country. Still finding untracked stashes and solid snow to build jumps with. My boys built this kicker using our snow-saw.

Cole launching an early grab.

coleboysjump Skate the Sawtooth video

Another powder video

Today was pretty darn fun. They opened the backside for the first time this year and there was some good, albeit old snow to be had. Check it out.

Dec 2, 2011

dec2standinginline Dec 2, 2011

The triple chair opened for the season today, which gave us access to some pretty great bowls and also the back-country gate at the top. Got up early to get in line and ended up on the fourth chair. Inbounds was great, no complaints but it seemed like a good day to head into the backcountry and check out the snowpack. This is our 3rd season meeting once a week for an out of bounds hike. Within 30 yards of the gate we knew it was gonna be fun.

dec2grouppic Dec 2, 2011

Conditions couldn’t have been better and the pit we dug made the snowpack look bomber, at least where we were. Can’t wait for the next week.

dec2hikeout Dec 2, 2011

Feel like making a difference? Visit and give a little to the charity of your choice.