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07-17-2012, 09:59 AM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
- Banff, AB
Rocket Pocket TR and POV - a ten year itch.
In 2001-2002 I was skiing at Sunshine Village with my boss when he noticed some exit tracks on the fan of a nearby face. We both stopped and tried to work out where they were coming from as the face above looked completely unskiable, at least, as far as we were concerned.
Red line shows the area we first spotted the tracks.
After a few minutes of wondering how anyone could make their way down this fucked up zone on skis we worked out the rough line from the tracks and wondered who had put them there.
Zoomed in a bit with the full line marked in red.
I remember my boss simply saying “that line makes me want to throw up”. As an eighteen year old kid from England enjoying my first ski season - my first time away from home and first opportunity to ski more than a few days at a time on school ski trips or on dry slope – I was in awe.
After returning to life in England I found out the line was called Rocket Pocket when I came across a video of Colin Puskas skiing it on Biglines.com. I watched that clip over and over again until the link unfortunately died/disappeared and it made me even more amazed and obsessed with the line (I think it may have been his tracks that we had seen in 2002 but can’t be sure). The video reappeared on this website a while back: http://live.tetongravity.com/_Puskas...543/75233.html
Fast forward a few years - I finally left England and returned to Banff in 2009 and promptly started skiing as much as was humanly possible. I would always look at the line when heading up the chair, pointing it out to people or chatting about it with friends. It was my ultimate line – the one I’d daydream about but never thought I would actually ski.
Fast forward a bit more to the season just gone and we’re in the middle of a really good year - lots of deep snow and lots of epic days. I was still fantasising about Rocket Pocket but my skiing was feeling better than ever and so it was starting to become more than just a pipe dream now – I was now starting to seriously contemplate whether I actually could/would ski it in the right circumstances and when that might be.
In early April a chance meeting with Ruari Macfarlane , a ripping snowboarder from NZ, was the catalyst and really set things in motion. After meeting we rode together and chatted about the line. He was very keen to check it out and maybe get it done and so a few days after meeting we arranged to do some scoping and then take a closer look and decide from there depending how it looked and how we felt.
The crux of the the line is the first mandatory drop and unfortunately no amount of scoping gives you any definitive answers on what it’ll be like. I asked Kevin Hjertaas about it and he gave some helpful advice but basically confirmed that the first drop just sucked. We had a long look through the binos but we couldn’t really judge the size and it looked like the tongue of snow you have to drop off may have had patches of ice and scree which would mean committing to the drop earlier thus making it even more blind than it looked and even more difficult to stop above the exposure.
After more extensive scoping and discussion around the entrance of the line we finally decided to give it a crack and see how it looked in person.
Trying to get a better view of the chute and the first drop from the ridge line to the left of the entrance.
Towards the right of the initial chute the snow looked fat and was a bit slabby so we cautiously made our way through the thinner snow on the left, trying to avoid some patches of loose shale lurking underneath. Ruari lead the way and we then reconvened at the point where we’d have to start committing to the final section of the chute towards the first drop. We wished each other luck and then Ruari dropped in, disappearing out of sight and I just waited for news on the radio from a friend of ours on the fan who was spotting. I soon got a call saying he’d made it out and so it was my turn.
I carefully made my way down towards the tongue which was in decent condition allowing me to take my time and get better than expected view of the landing pad. I picked my spot and dropped it, shitting my pants as I bounced off pretty firm snow towards the exposure, thankfully managing to come to a controlled stop nonetheless. A quick kickturn and sidestep to get back towards the second drop and I was in the home straight. A final short but very steep section led to the final drop where an even firmer landing bucked me towards the left hand cliff wall.
Better views of the second drop from a different angle:
At that point I had been hoping to open it up a bit and enjoy the skiing on the exit. Alas the soupy light and patches of firm chalky snow hidden amongst deep and sluffy pockets forced me to keep a lid on things. Fingers crossed I can get back in there again next year and enjoy it in some better conditions. Until then here's the POV from this time around:
07-17-2012, 10:00 AM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
- Banff, AB
Watch on Youtube and change the quality for best results.
07-17-2012, 10:21 AM #3
Gives me goose bumps every time i watch this. Nice TR!
07-17-2012, 10:34 AM #4
Nice pucker factor.If the shocker don't rock her, then Mr. Spock her. Dad.
07-17-2012, 10:39 AM #5
I love getting the ones that scare me initially.Awesome video and great back story, stoked you got your white whaleFun times in the mountains
DPS demos?----> sam at dpsskis dot com
07-17-2012, 10:51 AM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
That first drop has to have a huge pucker factor associated with it. I'm surprised you didn't shoot for the skier's right side of the spine to avoid the potential for falling off the big cliff. Nice work!"Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers
shroom put it best: "Man, you're one biased motherfucker."
07-17-2012, 10:51 AM #7
Solid work! Musta felt chuffed afterwards.White room,
07-17-2012, 11:00 AM #8....................
- Join Date
- May 2005
Great TR, thanks for posting!
07-17-2012, 11:11 AM #9
hidden rocks scare me...... jfost is really ignorant, he often just needs simple facts laid out for him...
07-17-2012, 11:29 AM #10
Nice job Mike - You da man!
07-17-2012, 11:35 AM #11
Looking at that kick turn still makes my schpincter want to quite.
07-17-2012, 11:38 AM #12
solid work. that's a burly line.
07-17-2012, 12:41 PM #13
That last section looked like some blower pow, but it looked like fall and you die before that. SickbirdI need to go to Utah.
Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?
20 days skiing in 2009/2010 (15 Powder days)
18 days skiing in 2010/2011 (15 Powder days)
16 days skiing in 2011/2012 (2 cat days and 11 Powder day's)
18 days skiing in 2012/2013 (12 powder day's)
07-17-2012, 04:44 PM #14
Jebus, that first landing looked rough! Congrats again on bagging this thing, it is definitely on the bucket list of many Sunshine/Bow Valley regulars.
"Im gonna rip the shit outta this!"
07-17-2012, 06:38 PM #15The Shred Pirate Roberts
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
07-18-2012, 10:23 AM #16
Nice work!Skiing: even when it's bad it's GOOD.
07-18-2012, 01:10 PM #17
Nice work and cool story..... hope you get it a gain next season
07-18-2012, 02:06 PM #18
I remember watching the original Colin Puskas (who used to post here at teamdirt) video of that line that you mention back in 2002 or '03 or whenever that was. And it's super cool to see how that same video inspired you, and now in 2012, here it is again. Well done.Waste your time, read my crap, at:
One Gear, Two Planks
07-18-2012, 02:19 PM #19
Well played! That top drop made my hands sweat.