BD athlete Mark Welgos reports on a ski trip to Revelstoke, British Columbia
Black Diamond skier Mark Welgos flew upt to Revelstoke, British Columbia in January for the Freeskiing World Tour. Below is his report from the trip, along with a sweet video and photos from photographer Tony Prikryl.
“Revelstoke, Revelstoke… REVELSTOKE!” the words got louder as I twisted and turned in bed. My eyes opened and I came to my senses. Tony Prikryl, Aspen photographer and skier extraordinaire, was hovering above me and we were late for our flight. Poor planning put us in a position where it was 6am in Aspen on New Years Day and we had a 12pm flight out of Denver (a 5 hour drive for us in good conditions) to Kelowna, BC.
Yes, I was up late celebrating New Year’s Eve and, yes, my phone was on vibrate; sleeping through the alarms and phone calls to mess up the planned 5am departure from Aspen. Thankfully Tony was on it and we made all our flights. A road closure to the airport and a lost boarding pass in security made things dicey, but we made it. From Kelowna, a 2.5-hour drive brought us to our destination: Revelstoke!
Man, it felt good to be back in Canada! The beer, the air, the snow; it all seems to be a little fresher. Sure, it’s not easy to get to Revelstoke, but for those who salivate over fresh powder and have a refined palate for adventure, Revelstoke is a destination not to be missed. Our timing couldn’t of been more perfect. The first two days were calm and there was snow in the forecast. We took full advantage of the good weather, knowing it’s uncommon to have bluebird days in BC. Short skins and little effort bring skiers who venture out-of-bounds to untracked, big lines.
The good weather was short lived and snowy days dominated the forecast. Day after day, night after night, the snow piled up. The skiing became effortless. Revelstoke mountain is one big adventure. More often then not, you find yourself cliffed out above nasty exposure planning your next move to safety. There are so many awesome lines and little crowds.
The second half of my trip was competing in the Freeskiing World Tour event at Revelstoke. Familiar faces and new snow got me psyched to compete in the event. My line involved a 50-foot cliff, a 20-foot air, and an exciting fast line at the end that involved a 30-foot air. It’s easy to scope a competition line, but difficult to execute what you see in your head.
3, 2, 1: Mark Welgos dropping. I skied fast along the ridge and came perfectly into position for my first air. No hesitation I dropped 50 feet. Unexpectedly I augured into the snowpack, digging myself out for a brief moment. Stunned by the impact, I opted to miss my next air and set up for the exciting finish. Fast turns and an aggressive approach, I came into the finishing 30-foot air. Without hesitation, I dropped the air landing perfectly but becoming airborne shortly after landing. I held it together and finished strong. Big mountain skiers are always adjusting and improvising during their planned line, and this is exactly what happened during my line. Instead of risking an air I wasn’t ready for, I decided against it. The judges saw this and deducted my score. I ended up 22nd for the day and only 20 were to go on for the next day. Disappointed but not defeated… it’s part of a good competitor.
I only had one more day left in BC and decided to go for a tour up on Rogers Pass instead of being a spectator for what was to be an exciting day of competition. It was clear with 60 cm of fresh. Jake Sakson (Black Diamond skier and Powderwhore film star) told us about a zone where there was 2000-foot pillow lines. We broke trail through the trees where we topped out on top of this epic zone. After three years of visiting BC, I finally was shown the skiing I was looking for. It was steep and interrupted with perfect pillows. It was sooo good! We only had time for one run, but it was the run of the trip.
The trip ended on an all-time high. The skiing was amazing and good times were had. This has become an annual trip for me and I’m already planning my next trip up there. I’m completely hooked on BC powder!