Since my first taste of Western Canada Mountains, I have never found a way to resisting of moving West for the winter season. I guess it’s hard to blame myself: British Columbia and Alberta offer more than what I need to be satisfied. Tons of snow, about 15 meters annual average in some areas, steep and long vertical slopes, technical terrain and amazing backcountry skiing. For the last 4 years, I had set my base camp in Fernie, BC mostly for the amount of snow and terrain but also because of all the great friends I have over there. In spite of my love of Fernie, I chose to move in Canmore, Alberta this year, mainly because it’s situated in the middle of all my winter play spots.
Bored of driving here by the not so fun Highway 1, well known as the Trans Canadian Highway, my girlfriend Marie and I, decided to get here by the states. Not so much because of the cheapest gas price and the fact that it’s four hours shorter by the states, but mostly because we didn’t want to drive across Northern Ontario once again. For those who had the chance to drive the 1500kms section between Sault-St-Marie and Manitoba, you can probably testify how endless that drive feels like.
Some of the massive 5-6 foot waves can be seen in this picture. Definitely some gnarly ass shit
The first 20 hours went super well. We drove non stop all the way to middle Wisconsin where we found an amazing and unexpected surf spot on the south shore of Superior Lake with tons of 5-6 feet waves. Even if we had our kayaks on the roof, we decided to resist to that opportunity because of the lack of time. But I’ll definitely be back in spring time and hopefully find some good waves like that day.
One of the many small town gas station stops along the way. Ice, pop and beer. What more can a man ask for?
Except getting lost for a few hours in Minnesota, we did cruise our way to the Canadian boundaries without any problems. Since we were close to Fernie, we decided to stop for a night to see friends and get a few drinks. Being in Fernie knowing that I wouldn’t stay there for the season seemed really weird. The next morning, we jumped back in our car and took the road for another short 4 hours drive up to Canmore. As soon as we got back in the Prairies, we could feel the strong wind hitting the car and trying to push it out of the road. When we noticed that the wind propellers weren’t spinning, we realized that we were about to drive through a wind storm.
With a ski box and 2 kayaks full of gear on the roof, I wasn’t so sure that my roof rack would be able to resist that wind blowing probably over 120km/h. Passing by a little town, we had to stop and park the jeep behind a church so we could get protected from the wind blast. After 20 minutes, it was obvious that the wind would keep getting stronger. We were kinda surprised but happy when some local men ran by and told us to drive our car in his garage were we could find a safe spot. We stayed there for half an hour, wondering what to do. After checking the forecast, we realized that we had only one option left : drive back to Fernie and stay there for the night before reaching Canmore by Kootenays Park, a good 10 hours more of driving. We finally got to our final destination by 10PM the next day, happy stretch our legs after 62 hours of driving.