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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Victoria, BC
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    459

    TR: T-bars & Couloirs; Mt. Cain, BC; Jan 27/28 2008

    Sometimes you find a place and after you return from it, you still can't believe that you were ever there. Mt. Cain is one of those places. It's one of those places that your mind-camera has taken disproportionate number of pictures compared to the amount of time you spend there. I was lucky enough to discover the hidden Gem of Mt. Cain this past weekend. Located the the wilderness of Northern Vancouver Island, the mountain is even a secret among island locals, and it seems that only those who have been to the mountain fully understand what it has to offer. With only a small green sign on the side of highway 19 indicating that a ski area exists, a 16km logging road winds its way up to the base of Mt. Cain at 4300ft.



    Chains are mandatory on the road and despite two small blue signs with a skier and and arrow underneath, the entire drive one ponders whether they are headed in the right direction or destined for oblivion.



    Perhaps the best indication of the unique nature of this spot is that the majority of operations are run by dedicated volunteers. Unpaid volunteers. Motivated by P-O-W-D-E-R, Mt. Cain is managed by the a non-profit society, the Mt. Cain Alpine Park Society, and the mountain hovers around its break even point on a yearly basis. On my first visit to the mountain, I felt somewhat humbled each time a smiling liftie put the t-bar under my ever-tiring heinnie, knowing that they're doing this out of the good of their heart. Same goes for groomers, patrol, shovel crew ect. you get the point. The place is run by phenomenal people.

    Upon arriving at the day lodge, it dawns upon me that perhaps that road embodies some type of time travel. The ominous Mt Abel towers over the day lodge/hostel and on a clear day, one can see giant peaks in every direction.



    A closer look at Mt. Abel gets the gears going and provides a glimpse of what is in store for the weekend



    After gearing up and realizing that there are only 50 cars in the corridor parking lot, the first stop is the lower t-bar. Mt. Cain's 1500ft of inbounds vertical is powered by two t-bars, reminiscent of the days when Fernie's lizard bowl was a t-bar and platter ride to reach the top. Non-mag Dave checking out the trail map with the summit in the upper right of pic..



    A 10min bootpack from the top t-bar gets you views from around the valley.


    Non-mag Ryan in green, yours truly in the middle and our tourguide for the day Shawn in orange. It was inspiring to see how passionate the local community is about Mt. Cain and the terrain it offers. While it is a well kept secret, once there it is apparent that many of the patrons have been skiing the local mountains for almost 20 years and their passion gushes out when they speak - it was contagious.

    Is this Vancouver Island??

    A view of the main couloir off the peak of Mt. Cain. While we were skiing the west bowl around 2pm, a bootpack was set up the coulie and someone had a memorable afternoon signing a sweet line.



    Our objective for the afternoon was laps of the Westbowl.



    A few turns got us thru the top section and gave a view what was in front of us



    I'll go!



    Here are just a few of the options in the westbowl and a view of some of our tracks...



    Arriving at the bottom, a look up and more peaks appear - I counted 5 beautiful coulies off this peak alone...



    Not to be outdone, Eastbowl holds its own as well.



    Perhaps what summed up the weekend the best for me was on our final run down east bowl on Sunday afternoon, I crossed the boundary and found 10 people perched just above the traverse. All were sitting quietly for the time being, a few had beers and the sweet smell of BC was in the air. I stopped to see what the massive gathering (by Cain's standards) was all about. After noticing all eyes were shooting east, it became apparent that a group of 4 skiers had decided to hit Dream Chute at the end of the day. The pic shows the first skier dropping in at the top of the chute.



    Armed with a cowbell and deep throated yelps, the group cheered the 4 skiers as they made their way down the chute giving it the atmosphere of a downhill WC event. The largest cheer came when skier #1 double ejected 5 turns in, tomahawking 50ft down the hill - after a quick recovery, during which time the 10ish hecklers shouted, they proceeded to rip the next 1000ft in the alpenglow.

    The act of writing this TR risks inviting too much but as the old proverb goes "bad roads bring good people" and there are no plans to change the road or the t-bar lifts at Mt. Cain anytime soon, which will hopefully keep the vibe that presently exists.

    The weekend was best summed up for me as I rode the lift with a gentleman who had been skiing Cain for 18 years, he had it right when stating "Mt. Cain is a small mountain with a big mountain attitude."

    Our first trip was satisfying but only lit the fire to get back and conquer some more of the many inspiring lines that surround the area. * sorry for the lack of action pics, the skiing was just too good
    Last edited by skadams.ca; 01-29-2008 at 06:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    440
    Nice. Sounds like paradise... thanks for spilling the beans and sharing it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    straight out the nickel & dime
    Posts
    1,209
    Wow; who'd have thunk Vancouver Island would have ripping skiing? Nice post.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Whistles
    Posts
    1,785
    Mt. Cain is right at the top of my list of fave ski resorts, along with jackson hole, mt. baker, lake louise and fernie. I went twice two seasons ago and can't wait to go back again. I will be living in Victoria for 10 months next year and will be sure to hit it up more than once!

    Nice TR!
    Believe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vanisle
    Posts
    73
    Dude, keep that shit on DL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    The Best Ski Town
    Posts
    157
    Yeah!

    Best little ski hill anywhere, and you guys scored it in prime conditions. Lucky Days.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    crown of the continent
    Posts
    13,950
    Wow. I will tell as many people about that place as I do my best fishing spots.

    Looks like it sucks even more than Whitewater...

    And I will forever wonder about the dude who had a cowbell in his pack.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
    Posts
    2,391
    Wow, I don't think anyone has to worry about it getting ruined by the masses. Just take a look at a map and that's all you need to know.

    Love to go there but would have to tie in with a surf trip as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Just outside the bubble
    Posts
    1,748
    Looks like a really great place, nice TR!
    Have fun or get hurt bad. "MFT" A.K.A. Dr. Doom

    There are but three true sports--bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games. "Ernest Hemingway"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    X=Z-BO
    Posts
    3,224
    yeessir! been looking at that place for years. the adjacent b/c looks awesome. but never worry about overuse, it's too far away from anything. kinda like smithers or shames. just waaaaayyyy the fuck out there.
    god created man. winchester and baseball bats made them equal - evel kenievel

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    westie
    Posts
    2,539
    holy fucking awesomsauce. that looked ganrtasticular. added to the list.
    http://tetongravity.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=932&dateline=12042516  96

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,221
    The Mt Cain website is claiming a current 4 meter base!!! Having driven up that way in the summer, I don't think any locals have to fear an influx of skiers anytime soon.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    11,307
    6 hours to get there from Vancouver. I love Cain but I can get to Rogers Pass in almost that time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    20 steps from the hot tub
    Posts
    3,655
    Looks amazing! Another place to add to the
    "must visit" list.
    "Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    North Vancouver
    Posts
    1
    An amazing little resort and the tree skiing is par none. It does feel a bit trippy though starting a ski trip off with a ferry ride. That little hill has an amazing vibe, especially when you know the lifties are doning it cuz the love the place! Combine it with a stop @ Mt Washington and you've got an amazing Island ski trip.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wet Coast
    Posts
    737
    Great TR SK,glad to see you finally made er up there.Heres a shot of me at Cain-my first cover shot

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    459
    Quote Originally Posted by vanisle View Post
    Great TR SK,glad to see you finally made er up there.Heres a shot of me at Cain-my first cover shot
    Nice work on the cover VI - couldn't have taken too long for you get that image with the rediculous amount of snow up there!!....on an unrelated note I'll finally be making the trek to your neck of the woods next weekend and will leave those bindings for you - havent been to Mt Wash. since Mid-December after a good chunk of time in the koots over xmas & January
    Last edited by skadams.ca; 01-30-2008 at 08:54 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    6
    That's funny I was there on the on the 26th and the weather was totally socked in. Guess I should have stayed up there. Oh well I don't think it'll get overrun anytime soon. I live in Vic and it's a long way even for me...that doesn't mean I'm not going back this season though.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wet Coast
    Posts
    737
    Quote Originally Posted by skadams.ca View Post
    on an unrelated note I'll finally be making the trek to your neck of the woods next weekend and will leave those bindings for you
    Cool,im mon to fri so wont be around but will check the shop for them

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Seattle, wa
    Posts
    794
    I was out on vancouver for my first time surfing a few weeks ago and was blown away by the mountains there. One thing I think you can be sure of is that it wont be getting too crowded anywere on vancouver is a huge time and money investment

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