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[Dufour-Lapointe Sisters: Canada’s Triple Threat] SNOWSPORTSCULTURE.COM


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© 2013 Columbia Sportswear Company. All rights reserved.

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t , r e d w o p e v o l e W ttro® most, qua it d e e n t r f a c e. els tha on any su o the whe t n r io e t c w a o r p t uting arable By distrib u incomp o y s e iv g drive at t r o all-wheel a t a e r o Find out m

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Canada. Land of quattro.

, too.


©2014 Audi Canada. “Audi”, “quattro”, “Vorsprung durch Technik”, and the four rings emblem are registered trademarks of Audi AG. To find out more about Audi, visit your Audi dealer, call 1-800-FOR-AUDI, or visit us at

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LET OUR HOSTS TAKE YOU ON A WEEKLY TRIP TO THE WORLD’S FINEST SKI DESTINATIONS + SKI TIPS to enhance your skiing abilities + SKI PERSONALITIES: those who colour the sport of skiing + RESORT PROFILES to prepare you for your next ski trip + COMPETITION: who will shine at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics + INDUSTRY NEWS: trends that are making news in the sport

> Check out the broadcast schedule at


Photo: Paul Morrison. Skier: Ian Morrison

Lindsey Vonn shot by Stef Candé.

(Ski Television > TV Guide)

Lindsey Vonn shot by Stef Candé.


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Clockwise from top: Paul Morrison, Hotel Portillo, Stowe Resort. Opposite page: Caroline van ‘t Hoff




ED NOTE Let your compass guide you


FIRST LOAD Cocktails, gear and epics


PEAK PIX Powder up high


ELEVATED LIVING Splendido dining


TIPS UP The perfect carve


PARTING SHOT Fashion backward

→On the cover: A helicopter departs as heli-guide Darek Glowacki braces himself from the rotor wash in January 2013, during a Pinnacle Heli Package at SelkirkTangiers. Photograph courtesy of Third Edge Heli.



Quebec trio learn the value of supportive rivalry to become a podium threat on the trail to Sochi. 34


Old-world skiing in Portillo, Valle Nevado and the Chillean backcountry is the “happiest place on earth”. 40


The best 15 ski resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Ontario and Quebec. 52



It’s more than skiing the deep powder; Nelson’s pure stoke makes Whitewater a place to behold.



The world is a book … those who do not travel read only a page. —Saint Augustine


Let your compass guide you

Fresh Air Publishing CONTRIBUTORS

THIS IS A UNIQUE EDITION of S-Mag. Deviating from our original geographically-themed

Matt Barnes, Claire Challen, John Evely, Josh Foster,

focus for this issue, we opted to package together feature stories and columns to give you, our readers, some mid-Winter courage to try something — or somewhere — new this season ... or next. A different direction, perhaps. While over half of the readers of this magazine are from Ontario, many traveling West a couple of times a year (states our survey results), the trends for our Western readers are to stay closer to home in the mountains. But in this magazine, we encourage you to take a look at places you might not have considered before. While our editorial coverage touches most of the globe — as we attempt to look under every rock, cornice and helicopter to find interesting stories — we have focused on three main directional features in this issue: The East (in Eastern Getaways, page 40), where we explore the best resort offerings in Eastern Canada and U.S., like Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Maine as well as the incredible skiing, nightlife and history in Quebec. S-Mag also ventures to the South (in Paradise Discovered, page 34) where S-Media sales guru Mark Kristofic joins the Ski TV crew in Portillo, Ski Arpa and Valle Nevado, as well as exploring Santiago in the process. Next we look West, to one of the most iconic small-towns in the Kootenays; Nelson and nearby Whitewater resort (see WH20 on page 52) and then to Beaver Creek, Colorado, where senior editor Michael Mastarciyan enjoyed a divine meal at the elegant Splendido restaurant (see Splendido at the Chateau, page 60). We might have neglected the North in this issue (check out Norwegian Conquest online from S-Mag’s Feb. 2013 issue), but I’m convinced you’ll enjoy what we’ve put together in this magazine. See you on the slopes.

Mark Kristofic, Paul Morrison, Julie Nieuwenhuys, Michel Painchaud, Mike Ridewood, Kirsten Skarsgard, Rowan Thornton, Caroline van ‘t Hoff Publication Agreement No. 42084025 Canada Post No. 7309575 ISSN: 1913-9861 (Print), ISSN: 1913-987x (Web) ADVERTISING Mark Kristofic

SNOWSPORTS MEDIA INCORPORATED PRESIDENT Chris Robinson, VICE PRESIDENT Mark Kristofic, CONTROLLER Lisa Crowley, S-Magazine is an independent publication of Snowsports Media Inc. 82 Hume Street, Collingwood, Ont., L9Y 1V4 Phone: (416) 840-6615 E-mail:

Gordie Bowles, EDITOR

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Trevor Brady

On the Web Miss an episode of Ski TV? No worries, they’re all waiting for you at We all love free stuff! Weekly prizes — like Columbia gloves, Bolle goggles and Head ski bags are awarded until mid-March, so don’t miss out:


MORE DEALS 855.249.3341


kicking horse

FIRST LOAD →People, news, gadgets and other chairlift ramblings

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David Andre, Vail Resorts

THE EPIC CHALLENGE The stage is set as racers arrived at Brides-les-Bains, France, on Dec. 20, 2013 to complete the final leg of the Epic Race – a 28-day, 26-resort event put on by Vail Resorts for Epic Pass holders. The first 10 people to reach all of the resorts won a pass for life. Father-son team Scott and Nick Annis of Loveland, Colo., finished first and second. “It’s a cool bonding opportunity for a dad and son, we (also) had couples on extended honeymoons — it speaks to the overall coolness of skiing,” said Russ Pecoraro, of Vail Resorts. “That’s what it’s all about, spending time with family. No other sport allows you to do something like this.”


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Once the butt of jokes, the industry initiated a program to stop the goggle gap (the space between helmet and goggles) to address the issue of correct helmet-fit. This is no laughing matter as the intention is to decrease frostbite and sunburn while increasing the helmet functionality.


FROM THE VAULT Swedish actress Kerstin Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita and occasional skier, poses for a cover shoot with Quick magazine in 1952.

(* 2013 SIA)


Après is as important to mountain culture as snow and some resorts around B.C. are taking this off-slope activity very seriously.

“THE MOGUL SMOKER”: Griz Pub, Fernie Alpine Resort Ingredients: 1 oz rum, 1 oz Kahlua,topped with hot chocolate & whipped cream. THE GUN BARREL COFFEE”: Big White Ski Resort This coffee with a kick, was created by Big White’s senior VP, Michael Ballingall, Robie Wylie, and owners of Snowshoe Sam’s, Brian and Glenn Spence. Ingredients: 1/2 oz brandy, 1/2 oz crème de cacao, 1/2 oz grand Marnier, fresh coffee, real whipped cream — served in a sugared rim 8oz wine glass. “THE BLACKCOMB SOUR”: Bearfoot Bistro WhistlerBlackcomb Ingredients: 1.5 oz vanilla infused whiskey, 0.5 oz homemade spiced fig liqueur, 1 oz freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice, 1 oz of caramelised pemberton honey/tea syrup, 1 egg white, 1 dash vanilla bitters.

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DECADENT GUT-BUSTERS Forget that fresh arugula and grilled chicken salad. Some ski resorts are letting us indulge with a new slate of warm, hearty comfort foods. They might not be the healthiest thing on the mountain but they are just what skiers are craving. Warm bowls of chili and greasy cheeseburgers are longtime staples of ski

cuisine, but these eats go beyond chicken fingers and curly fries. Copper Mountain: Little Piggies (maple bacon doughnuts) at Sugar Lip Donuts. Vail: That’s Just Wrong Dog; a beef hot dog wrapped in house-cured maple bacon with blue cheese coleslaw

and heirloom tomato ketchup, at Four Seasons. Deer Valley: Rocky Mountain Poutine — a twist on the Quebec specialty — at the Goldener Hirsch Inn & Restaurant. Stowe: Truffled pot roast of beef, with whipped potatoes, carrots, watercress and a horseradish

cream, at Stowe Mountain Lodge. Aspen: Three Little Piggies breakfast sandwich, served at Element 47 at The Little Nell, which has slowroasted porchetta, smoked and panseared pork belly and house-made sausage gravy, resting on a French toast waffle. — Canadian Press


Three-time World Cup winner and twotime Olympian Manuel Osborne-Paradis wore the Right to Play logo on his helmet at the World Cup races at Lake Louise in December, kick-starting a relationship with the humanitarian aid group. A large donation from anonymous donors was made to the charity in his name. “This is a really unique way for me to give back to a charity that I’m really passionate about and aligns perfectly with the values I believe in,” said Osborne-Paradis, better known as ‘Manny.’ RED EXPANDS WITH GREY

Red Mountain Resort is getting bigger and better, with the recent expansion to Grey Mountain now featuring a chair lift. In addition to the ski area’s Red and Granite peaks, skiers can now access one more peak, Grey Mountain by chairlift — with 360-degree skiing off the top. Grey adds 997 acres to Red, bringing the total skiable acres to 2,787.


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1. iON Air Pro 3 This tiny but rugged HD video camera is wifi enabled and captures 12MP photos and 1080p video. The camera can be controlled by a smartphone by wifi connection to its dedicated app. Easy helmet mount. 2. Moncler hat The slouchy-but-fashionable Moncler hat combines mountaineering style meets high fashion. 3. Probar Superfruit Slam Lots of good stuff in this bar, including “super fruits” like organic acai, mangosteen, purple corn and camu camu. 4. Giro Edit Super lightweight and sleek, this stealthy integrated GoPro-compatible camera mount allows you to easily attach and remove your camera without a trace. 5. Logger Plaid Embrace your logger-self — grab an axe and a 12-pack — and sport the latest from this energetic, youthful brand.

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6. Bogner women’s jacket High quality ripstop and weather proof fabric, warm down filling, along with the decorative patches and embroidery makes this down jacket extremely waterproof and breathable. 7. Mons Royale Unlayered These super soft merino leggings will keep you warm and cosy when riding and super comfy for yoga and relaxing at the chalet. 8. Tecnica Moon Boot The iconic original Moon Boots from Tecnica are perfect for heading to and from the mountain or just hanging out looking good while your feet stay super warm. 9. Sorel Tofinino Herringbone Herringbone amps up the textural interest of this dark, understated version of the Tofino while the faux fur lining lends a little bit of fun and flare. 10. Hillsound trail crampon For serious traction, when out hiking on the local trails or deep in the backcountry.


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The latest offerings from some of Canada’s finest resorts.

Island Lake Lodge There’s no denying that Island Lake Lodge is a true skier’s cat skiing outfit. You’ll enjoy it more if you have solid vertical mileage under your belt. Now in its 25th season of operation Island Lake, located just outside Fernie, B.C., has also perfected the art of catering to a luxury clientele. Here you can indulge in the finest eats and drinks that you can find on this side of the Rockies. But it’s the skiing that will have you hooked on the cat-skiing lifestyle, with over 7,000 acres of prime private bowls, valleys and gladed slopes. Monashee Powder Snowcats Monashee Powder Snowcats makes its playground in the deep, light powder that covers 17,000 acres in the ThompsonOkanagan based operation. Located near Vernon, Monashee is backcountry at its finest, featuring wide-open bowls, the more adventurous steeps chutes and some mellow terrain for those looking for a more slower pace.

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Selkirk Wilderness Skiing One of the originals of cat skiing operations, Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, just north of Nelson, has attracted a loyal following over the years. Powder seekers have been coming here for years to enjoy the 12–18,000 vertical feet of untouched track. Revelstoke

has a worldwide reputation as the mecca for heli skiing mostly due to its dry and consistent powder snow. Selkirk offers relatively inexpensive packages; another positive to make heli-ski adventure dreams a reality. Three-day packages starting at $2,640.

Top: Photograph by Damian Cromwell, Skier Mike Douglas shot at Mica Heli


Top: Photograph by Damian Cromwell, Skier Mike Douglas shot at Mica Heli




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BEST HELI SKIING Mica Heli Skiing Mica is one of the best in boutique, small group heli-skiing. Serving a maximum 20 guests, four groups of four skiers can use two A-Star helicopters in the semi-private tours and one group of four can use the Private Bell 407. The spacious and gorgeous five-star lodge, located one hour north of Revelstoke B.C., is accessible only by helicopter. Ample steep tree-skiing and seemingly endless pillow runs blanket this area. On the rare no-fly days, Mica fires up the cat-ski for backup. Mica is renowned for having an excellent safety record, friendly and helpful staff, which always enhances any adventure. Selkirk-Tangiers For over 30 years Selkirk-Tangiers’ half-amillion acres of terrain has lured powder junkies from around the world. Nestled in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains that border both Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, the heli-ski and ride outfit receives 40-60 feet of snowfall each year. The wide-open glaciers, high alpine bowls and massive old growth forests, spanning over 200 established runs makes it a safe bet. With packages from all-inclusive to heli-only, guests can choose trips lasting from one to seven days. The Eurocopter A-Star and Bell 205 helicopters pull their weight to access the most delicious terrain. CMH As legend has it, company founder Hans Gmoser paid a national parks permit fee of $2, filled out a short form, and voila, a heli ski operation was born. That was 1953. Shortly after, Gmoser surveyed the vast mountains in the province and selected 11 areas in the Selkirk, Monashee and Purcell Mountains that to this day are the core of the CMH heli skiing offerings. The massive quantities of dry powder, steep pitches above and below treeline and old-growth forests are what bring skiers to CMH. Pretty close to a guaranteed good ski.

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Photo: Chris Moseley

There are many reasons why this legendary place has become a defining destination for skiers and

snowboarders. Almost 8,000 acres of Rocky Mountain terrain. 30 feet of light, dry snow annually.

And 3 awe-inspiring resorts that you can explore on one tri-area ticket. Experience Mother Nature’s

version of perfection here in Banff-Lake Louise, because here in Canada’s Protected Playground,


nature rules. Visit


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Island Lake Lodge: view the Ski TV episode Jan.25, 2014, or afterwards at


Northern Escape Heli-Skiing RK Heli-Skiing Great Canadian Heli-Skiing Skeena Heli-Skiing Purcell Helicopter Skiing

Snowwater Heli-Skiing Eagle Pass Heliskiing   Canadian Mountain Holidays   Chatter Creek Stellar Heli Skiing Last Frontier Heliskiing Powder Mountain Heliskiing

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Courtesy Island Lake Lodge

Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing

Courtesy Island Lake Lodge

By Gordie Bowles

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The Sisterhood of the


Travelling Skis

Quebec trio learn the value of a supportive rivalry to become a triple threat on the trail to Sochi

Photographs by Paul Morrison Apparel by Columbia


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It has been said that in the sports arena, nobody can be friends. Survival of the fittest. Might makes right. KILL OR BE KILLED. ANYTHING GOES. But in the case of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, a Montreal trio on the Canadian moguls team, all seeking an Olympic berth on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games roster, the art of balancing competition, sisterhood and support was a skill learned. “We wouldn’t call ourselves rivals,” say’s the youngest sister, Justine, the second ranked moguls skier in the world. “We are sisters who compete at the same competition. If Chloé or Maxime go on the podium, I am happy for them. When I’m not feeling good they will be there for me.”

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Occasionally finishing each other’s sentences — as you might expect from sisters who spent most of their youth on a sail boat together in the summer and on the slopes of Mont-Gabriel in the winter – Maxime, the oldest sister, finishes her thought. “Instead of being rivals, we push each other in a very positive way so that we can all improve so that the three of us all can be the best in the world.” With stars aligned, the trio could sweep an entire World Cup podium. They did it at the national championships in dual

moguls in 2010. But they have a far bigger platform in mind to one-up that performance: Sochi 2014. “I think it could happen,” says the 19-year-old Justine. “We’d like to have that picture of all three of us on the Olympic podium ... but yes this is a big dream.” With five years between them, which can be a lifetime or a career in sports time tables, the three Montrealers are constantly at each other’s side, on podiums or shopping outlets. “We’re pretty much always together,”


says Chloé, the middle sister who landed a world championship silver medal and a fifth place showing at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. “We like to go shopping, hang out together. We do have our own friends at home but then sometimes we meet up.” Shopping? “Yeah!” Justine shouts as her voice elevates a few octaves. “We shop around the world and also at home. But what we love about shopping is buying stuff that we don’t see in Canada or in Montreal. We want people to say, ‘Oh my God, where did you get this?’. ‘Yeah I bought it in Barcelona, or Japan ... “And it has to be a good price,” jumps in Maxime, considered the more cerebral and practical of the bunch. “But even if we’re not together we’ll send each other pictures to get opinions. We do shop alone, but serious-

ly, most of the time I second guess myself so it’s much easier when we’re together.” Chloé, patiently waiting for her turn to speak on the subject of fashion, jumps in to express her more serious interest. “I would like to work in fashion, to design styles or even clothes for sport. But I would also like to do high fashion. I’d like to someday create my own line.” With slightly different fashion styles – Justine, with the skater-punk look, Chloé, with a sultry sassy appearance and Maxime with a more elegant, polished style – all agree they also have a different approach on the hill. Slight variances in technique and tactics that separate their skiing styles. “Chloé’s strength is finesse, she has a very beautiful skiing style and is consistent with her jumps,” says Maxime. “Justine is the tiger. She has loads of energy and you

NICKNAME: Djoue AGE: 19 HOMETOWN: Montreal, Que. YEARS ON NATIONAL TEAM: 3 COACHES: Marc-André Moreau and Jean-Paul Richard FREESTYLE CLUB: Mont-Gabriel SUPERSTITIONS: I change my lucky outfit every year. I used to think my wolf T-shirt was lucky as I had good results so I kept wearing it but the year after I had it on and I fell. So I said, ok the lucky clothes are good for only one year so I change every year. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Second in the FIS world ranking, gold medal at Mont Gabriel in 2011 as a 16-year-old. MY MOTTO: Give your all and never give up! FAVORITE FILM AND TV SERIES: The Hunger Games, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy EDUCATION: CEGEP distance learning in humanities HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Photography, shopping, surfing, cooking I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT… My iPhone, lip balm, camera, and my Oakley sunglasses. FAVORITE YOGA POSE: I don’t do yoga. IT WOULD SURPRISE YOU TO KNOW THAT … I have a very sophisticated system for storing my shoes that includes photographs and numbers. FAVORITE WORLD CUP STOP: Mont Gabriel, since it’s in my backyard, and Deer Valley for the shopping outlets! SNOWSPORTSCULTURE.COM

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I would like to work in fashion, to design styles or even clothes for sport.


Helmet vogue: With a keen sense of style it is no surprise that the Dufour-Lapointe girls design their own helmets. Choosing characters and symbols to represent their own personalities, along with some space for their personal sponsor Saputo, the helmets became a special project for the sisters.


see that in her skiing and in her jumps. She gives a show. My strength is my fitness and jumps, I like to push the limits in the air. And I’ll never stop. I just go until someone tells me to stop.” Getting into the sport was part luck, part life, for the Dufour-Lapointe family. Skiing was considered just family time until Maxime, then 10, watched a friend in a moguls competition. She was “blown away” by the jumps and wanted to try it. The spark was created, as it often does with athletic-minded children, and soon she was competing with a team. Then her

sisters, seeing the travel and fun she was having, wanted in. “I did get through some life experiences first so yes I did pave a path for my sisters,” says Maxime. “I think now we’re all on the same page and growing together but at first I lead the way to the point we are now.” Maxime’s window for elite status in the sport may be beginning to close – and with so few Olympic spots available for the women’s moguls team (likely three) the chances of qualifying is slim – but the spark for her is alive and well. “I was a forerunner at Cypress (Vancouver

AGE: 21 HOMETOWN: Montreal, Que. YEARS ON NATIONAL TEAM: 5 COACHES: Jean-Paul Richard and Marc-André Moreau FREESTYLE CLUB: Mont-Gabriel PERSONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 5th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in dual moguls. LIFE MOTTO: Live in the moment. TV SERIES: Sex and the City; it’s a light TV series with plenty of comedy and fashion content. EDUCATION: I am studying social sciences with an administration component. HOBBIES/INTERESTS: I adore surfing and fashion. HEROES/ROLE MODELS: Jenn Heil is my model, she inspired me when I was very young. GOALS OUTSIDE OF SPORT: To do what I love with passion. SNOWSPORTSCULTURE.COM

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MAXIME DUFOUR-LAPOINTE NICKNAME: Max AGE: 24 HOMETOWN: Montreal, Que. YEARS ON NATIONAL TEAM: 6 COACHES: Jean-Paul Richard, Marc-André Moreau and Paul Gagné PERSONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Forerunner at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, 4th at the World Cup in La Plagne in 2009 (dual moguls) MY MOTTO: Always give my best TV SERIES: The Big Bang Theory BOOK: Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman EDUCATION: I study natural sciences at Ahuntsic College HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Surfing, horseback riding, sailing and drawing GOALS OUTSIDE OF SPORT: To become a doctor IT WOULD SURPRISE YOU TO KNOW THAT… I am one of the first women to execute a back flip with a full twist in competition, I did it for the first time in 2009.

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I got to see both sides, as an athlete and a spectator, and at that point I knew that

I HAD TO BE THERE FOR SOCHI. 2010 Games), after just missing qualifications, and it was really one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she reminisced. “I got to see both sides, as an athlete and a spectator, and at that point I knew that I had to be there for Sochi. It was my turning point. I’m a late bloomer but I realized that I wanted to become an Olympian.” For Chloé, she feels that stress management is the key to her success. “Jennifer Heil (Olympic silver medallist in Vancouver) has always been my idol since I was young and I still talk to her about things, how to prepare, how to manage the stress and

to get ready for my second Olympics. The pressure is the hardest part of it.” The most likely scenario? Justine will face stiff competition from reigning Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of the United States, and perhaps from older sister Chloé, for the gold medal. But as Chloé noted, it could come down to nerves of steel that win the ultimate prize, but the one sure thing will be a sisters arms awaiting arrival in the finish area, win or lose. For more on the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, go to


SO WILL YOUR SKIS ( 3 mountains, 126 trails, endless options ) Unbeknownst to many, Sun Peaks is the second largest ski area in British Columbia, with close to 4,000 acres of terrain. You won’t find crowds here, nor will you end up waiting in lineups. You’ll spend time where it matters—on the mountain. That’s three mountains, to be precise! Our terrain encircles the ski-through village in a unique 360° layout letting you slide right into a restaurant, café, rental shop, or your accommodation at a moment’s notice. The snow is dry and effortless, conditions that are famous to this region of the province. Talk to any passionate local and they’ll let you in on the secret stashes. Our community will have you feeling at right at home and smiling in no time. Consider visiting during the 16th Annual Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival, January 11–19, 2014.


Mt. Tod

2,152m (7,060')

Mt. Morrisey

1,675m (5,495')


1,730m (5,676')

Burfield Base 1,198m (3,930')


Photos: Adam Stein, Kelly Funk


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PARADISE Old-world skiing in Portillo, Valle Nevado and the Chillean backcountry is the “happiest place on earth” for loyal guests and ex-pats

By Mark Kristofic “Ahh Portillo, my favourite place on earth,” was a phrase that was repeated in some variation by a few different people to me prior to my departure. To suggest that Portillo’s reputation preceded it would be an understatement. And the consistency of the reference as “my favourite” was surprising. That is, until I arrived. Despite the 15-hour trip from Toronto, show producer Steve Simons and I felt 34 S–Magazine


When Ski Television started its planning for a road trip to the southern hemisphere, I saw an opportunity for this sales guy to pretend he is a real journalist ... and so I inserted myself in the trip. After a stretch of seeminglyendless unreturned sales calls, no family vacation or air conditioning in the office, I was getting restless. A South American jaunt which would include a few days in Portillo, cat skiing at Ski Arpa, a bike tour through wine country, and then more skiing in Valle Nevado topped off by playing tourist in Santiago for a day, sounded like the perfect tonic for the late summer blues. So while trying to convince my wife that this was “work”, I packed my bags and headed south to join the crew.

remarkably refreshed upon our arrival in Santiago, mainly as a result of staying within the same time zone. After connecting with Ski TV host Edith Rosza, who flew in from Vancouver, we ventured onward two short hours — 120 kilometres of freeway and 24 switchbacks — towards Hotel Portillo’s iconic yellow structure that is instantly recognizable. Trips to Portillo are booked in the old “ski week” fashion, where guests arrive and depart on Saturdays. Guests from all over the world, especially from the Northern hemisphere searching for winter snow in the summer, often re-book the same week, year after year, resulting in many life-long international friendships. With a mid-week arrival, we skipped the hustle and bustle of the Saturday changeover day and were greeted by a relaxed atmosphere of guests lounging about the giant family room with kids playing backgammon, adults reading in a general air of relaxation, where books replace laptops and board games replace iPads. Edith, who last visited Portillo in the 90s as a ski racer, said not much had changed at the hotel in the 20 plus years since her last visit. The main family room, the dining room, the hallways and rooms drip with history and nostalgia that make every guest feel like they have arrived somewhere truly special. We arrived just in time for lunch where we were greeted by the tuxedo clad maître d’ Juan Beiza, who has been serving guests for 45 years. After meeting up with our host for the week, Richard Savage, the Canadian rep for Portillo, a quick lunch and checking into our small, European-styled rooms which overlook Laguna Del Inca, we geared up to get down to business. Sort of. After a short team meeting, we decided it was best to


HEAVEN: TIO BOBS I intend to go to heaven when I die, which will look and feel exactly like the deck of Portillo’s Tio Bobs on a sunny afternoon. The perfect lunch or après restaurant is just a short ski off the top of the plateau lift where the deck of Tio Bobs is drenched in sun, offering spectacular views of the Andes, Lake Inca and Hotel Portillo. While occasionally being buzzed by the resorts Euro-copter (which shuttles the heli-ski guests) and listening to the international symphony of happy chatter from guests in English, Spanish, French and German, I broke my own rule of Instagramming food photos when served the jawstretching Portillo Burger consisting of all the fixings, beef, cheese, peameal bacon and a fried egg. 

Philippe Mendoza (skier). Photograph by Tero Repo/Red Bull Content Pool.


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THE AUBREY Any road trip through Chile should include some time in Santiago to take in the city’s rich history and breathtaking scenery. The Australian-owned The Aubrey is the perfect place to stay during your city stopover. This small boutique hotel is truly spectacular with old Mission style terraces, incredible stone stairways and archways and exotic gardens, all just a stones throw away from bustling nightlife, restaurants and patios. Originally built as the home to an influential Chilean politician in 1927, The Aubrey has been transformed into a unique urban oasis.

Clockwise from above: The Aubrey; Ski TV host Edith Rosza; Hotel Portillo. Opposite page: A skier enjoys summer powder above Hotel Portillo; Ski TV producer Steve Simons; cycling in the Chillean wine country.

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spend our first half day skiing and exploring before starting to shoot for Ski Television. A SKIER’S PARADISE The skiing at Portillo is vast but feels like an intimate setting with the bulk of the terrain funneling towards the hotel and lake. Although the area is not large, terrain is accessible off a few lifts than ensures a variety of ski experiences. And with the limited number of guests on the resort at any one time, the hills and lifts are rarely crowded. The Plateau Chair runs right from the hotel for a true ski in and ski out experience, giving skiers access to long groomers as well as off-piste access. Always understanding the need for camera-friendly footage, Richard arranged for Edith to ski

with Shannon and Amber, two gorgeous instructors from Ski Portillo’s snowschool, over the next few days of filming. We began our mountain exploration with a few runs of ripping groomers off the Plateau chair to ensure that our legs were good and ready for some of the corn snow we would be skiing with a few traverses off the same lift. After a number of runs we were introduced to the first of Portillo’s three unique Va et Vient “slingshot” surface lifts, which is essentially a four person poma-like lift used to access the steeper terrain. After watching some keeners skin up past the Condor to some incredible terrains, we decided to traverse over towards the Lake Run, an unique experience where skiers feel the sensation of being pulled

towards the deep-blue waters of Laguna Del Inca. The trek back to the hotel was half ski, half walk which took twice as long as we stopped frequently for picture taking and general view gawking. After a short break — Heineken and a Portillo Burger at Tio Bob’s (see sidebar) — we moved over to the other side of the resort to the Roca Jack to another slingshot lift. Greeted by some incredible corn snow and amazing steeps, the choice of terrain felt endless by traversing either way off the Roca Jack. We skied a variety of short steeps and some corn snow steeps followed by long easy rolling groomers. A RACING TRADITION Most in the ski racing world know about Portillo as a top training site for speed teams from around the world. Teams not only love it because of the incredible support from the resort and the quality training, but for the same reasons the guests love it: It’s a home away from home, where they can train in peace, mingle with the guests without over the top attention and focus on performance. We spent a little time with the Austrian ski team, taking in their giant slalom training on the Plateau Lift early in the

morning before heading over to the Roca Jack where they had top-to-bottom speed training on a water-injected course. At the end of the ski day, athletes lounged in the family room with guests. While the Austrians are normally treated like rock stars in Europe, they are treated with respect by the guests of Portillo. In taking in the scene of athletes mingling with guests after skiing in Hotel Portillo’s family room, I begin to understand why so many call this “my favourite place on earth”. AWESOME ARPA After reluctantly checking out of Hotel Portillo, while saying hi to the Canadian and American ski teams as they checked in, we moved on to Ski Arpa, a cat-skiing operation run by Santiago Adventures’ Brian Pearson, an American who figured correctly that skiing is more fun than working in health care, prompting a fairly drastic career change. Cat skiing day trips here actually begin the night before with a stay at the Casa San Regis in Los Andes, a 300-year-old Hacienda bed and breakfast with old-style Spanish architecture, open-air walkways and a center courtyard with palm trees. Over a mouth-watering dinner of smoked

salmon salad, chicken and curried rice, Brian and the proprietors entertain us and our fellow American guests with stories of the building and legends that come along with the San Regis. The following morning, we prepared for our destination for the day — Ski Arpa. I was told ahead of time that the drive up to Arpa — about an hour from the palm trees of the San Regis — is as much a part of the adventure as the skiing itself. True to its reputation, the ride did not disappoint. One part beautiful, one part terrifying and one part suicidal, the drive is a series of switchbacks up the side of a mountain on a five-foot wide trail — calling it a road gives it too much credit. After a few hours we arrived at the Ski Arpa base camp, which is manned by a series of American guides and cat drivers who split their time between the U.S. and Chile to ensure the endless winter, as well as Ski Arpa’s owner, 80-year-old Austrian Toni Spooner. The hard-core staff spend days and weeks at a time in their bunkers around Ski Arpa ensuring all guests get the most out of their experience. It’s late in the season for Chile, snow is sparse, but we were greeted by some cooler temperatures and a rogue storm that


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“ It’s a unique experience where skiers feel the sensation of being pulled towards the


Check out the two episodes on Portillo and skiing in Chile at

provided fresh snow, or in other words, perfect conditions for some great spring skiing. After an afternoon of turns, we decided to hike the extra 100 metres of the Diablo Negro peak and then hiked to the Travessia Cabalaro — a series of chutes that open up into wide-open terrain. As we treked over wind-swept copper-coloured shale rocks, the clouds begin to open to expose the amazing views of the towns of San Filipe and Los Andes, set amongst the mountains stretching all the way to the Pacific Ocean. UP HIGH IN VALLE NEVADO During our cramped drive, Richard began to panic. Normally, Ski TV and S-Magazine cover the finer things of ski travel for the discerning skier. However, our trip landed us in Valle Nevado right in the middle of a Brazilian holiday, meaning we were not able to get into the resorts finer accommodations, like the Hotel Valle Nevado. But we found the Hotel Tres Puntas, a more budget-minded option. Rooms are very small, but clean and comfortable (and with their own bathroom). Most importantly, walking distance to the lifts. Valle Navado is like a mini ski village, a cluster of hotels set among amassive area

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of skiable terrain, all above the treeline. Valle Nevado is 7,000 acres of skiable terrain compared to Portillo’s 1,235 skiable acres. To add to the size, neighbouring resorts El Colorado and La Parva are accessible on skis from Valle Nevado. Our first day of skiing was sopped in fog and crusty conditions and overcast skies, so we decided to cut the ski day short to take in the amenities ... along with a session of yoga (you read that correctly). In the evening, it began to snow and our final day of skiing was warm with blue skies and 20 cm’s of fresh fluffy-white snow. The perfect way to end the trip. After a day of frantic filming, skiing the back bowls, taking in incredible views of Santiago from the top of the mountain, Steve and Edith went off to film the show closer in Hotel Valle Nevado pool, where Edith was being hit on by a dozen or so Brazilian men in the pool. LUSH WINE COUNTRY AND RELUCTANT JOURNEY HOME Packing up and heading down to Santiago from Valle Nevado, sun kissed, tired and happy, we checked into Santiago’s The Aubrey (see sidebar). We hooked up again the next day with our new friend Brian Pearson

from Santiago Adventures. Brian drove us down into wine country, about 90 minutes outside of Santiago, for a biking tour of the San Antonio Valley, part of Chile’s central valley. Cycling the private farmlands of the Matetic Winery, we explored the properties antique winery — which thrived in the 1940s supplying Chile’s coastal region – and then we moved on to the vineyards and wine cellar for the ever-important wine tasting. Understanding the beauty of their operation and their rolling vineyards – combined with the lush grounds of ponds, pools and palm trees — Matetic has integrated tourism into their wine operation to balance the daily toil of life with the serenity of the countryside that include a five-star hotel and restaurant. When comparing lying on the beach, travelling around Europe or taking in the number of experiences and stops that I had on this ski trip, including haciendas, urban adventures, quality wine, I concluded that skiers seeking a finer adventure, this is the ultimate summer road trip. Headed back to The Aubrey for one last night before our flight home, I was again faced with the reality of trying to figure out how to convince my wife that this trip really was work.



Overlooking Vermont’s scenic Mad River Valley is a place where legendary skiers have come to experience the best New England terrain, and tradition pairs with elegance to form the most modern base area in the East. Four seasons of limitless adventure, luxurious amenities, and exceptional service await you. We invite you to experience Sugarbush. Direct flights fly 4 days a week from Toronto City Airport to Burlington, Vermont with connecting ground service to Sugarbush. Ski and Stay Packages at Clay Brook Hotel and Residences are available from Porter Escapes. Visit for details.


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beast of the east

SUGARBUSH Gateway: 45 minutes from Burlington International Airport Nearest town: Burlington, Vt. Annual snow: 6 metres Vertical: 769 vertical metres Trails: 70 kilometres SUGARBUSH.COM

Vermont’s finest resort is more like two big eastern mountains stacked on top of each other. The postcard-perfect destination is chalk-full of character, charm and variety. A solid blend of natural and manmade snow, glades and tree-skiing and wide open runs; the views are the cherry on the whipped cream. MOST CHARMING HOTELS Round Barn Farm: This B&B style farmhouse is small (12 country-chic rooms) but the 1810 home comes equipped with elegant luxuries such as skylights, whirlpools and breakfast in a sunny parlour. Inn at the Mad River Barn: Another throwback to simpler times, this 19th century barn welcomes you with a crackling fire, moose-head mount and likely a barking dog. Cozy and comforting, The Barn serves — you guessed it — comfort food and sit down dinners on long tables. The owner is a dedicated Mad River skier, and has his sights set on getting you ready for a big ski day;

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The Sugarbush secret may be out ... not a single traffic light or fast-food joint in sight, the skiing is vast and the visitors SEEKING LUXURY ARE IN FOR A TREAT.


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best off-piste skiing

JAY PEAK Gateway: 1.5 hours from Burlington International Airport Nearest Canadian town: 1.5 hours from Montreal Vertical: 656 metres Annual snow: 950 centimetres Trails: 77 (including 40% advanced) JAYPEAK.COM

With some of the largest annual snowfalls on the East coast, Jay Peak’s 77 trails will keep you busy. But it’s the nooks and crannies that really set Jay Peak apart. With an abundance of in-bound skiing and some backcountry options — in addition to the family-friendly learning areas — there’s a little something for everyone. BEST COFFEE SPOT Buddy’s Mug: Named after the former mountain operations manager, Buddy

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Loux, who liked coffee as much as the next guy, this friendly coffee stop serves a great cappuccino, espressos and — Buddy’s favorite — regular black coffee. Located in the Hotel Jay. BEST APRÈS Tower Bar: This slopeside après spot draws it’s name from the chairlift towers from the Green Mountain chair. Located in the Tram Haus Lodge, beside Alice’s Table.

most terrain variety

SUNDAY RIVER Gateway: North of Portland, Maine Nearest Canadian town: 4 hours from Montreal Vertical: 2,340 feet Annual snow: 167 inches annually Trails: 135 trails and glades SUNDAYRIVER.COM

With eight interconnected mountains and 743 acres of trails, Sunday River is one of Maine’s larger ski resorts. The mountain also encourages off-trail exploration, as long as it falls within the perimeter of the property. The park and pipe culture here is prevalent, with rails, pipes, jumps and jibs for that type of thrill-seekers. On-site dining options range from low-cost food courts to high-end dining at The Peak, an upscale restaurant at the top of the Chondola, a chairlift-gondola hybrid. The resort maintains two hotels within the shadow of the mountain, Grand Summit and Jordan Grand, both with easy slope and trail access. BEST LODGING Bethel Inn Resort: Maine’s Premier Four Season Resort in the heart of historic Bethel Maine. Country elegant accommodations and townhomes, award winning fine and casual dining, health club with an outdoor heated pool, whirlpool, hot tub and spa services. 18 hole championship golf course. 40km Nordic Ski Center. Just 6.8 miles from Sunday River Ski Resort. Whether it’s a ski or golf vacation or corporate meeting, retreat or wedding, The Bethel Inn Resort offers unsurpassed amenities, accommodations and recreational activities.


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best night skiing

MONT. SAINTE ANNE Gateway: 40 km from Québec City Nearest town: Beaupré Vertical: 2,526 vertical feet Annual snow: 670 centimetres Trails: 52 (including glades) MONT-SAINTE-ANNE.COM

Part of the RCR family, Mont Sainte Anne lies in the Laurentian mountains. The ever-improving resort opened its first lift (a gondola) in 1966 and ever since the locals and mountain operators have strived for improvement. Today with 69 trails, an average snowfall of 475 centimetres and a solid vertical drop of 2,051 feet, Sainte Anne has become a stand alone ski destination. One other feather in the cap is the resort has the highest vertical for night skiing in Canada. APRÈS-SKI AND NIGHTLIFE Right at the base of the mountain is the Chouette Bar, a good hang out pub with pool tables, music and dancing. The nearby T-Bar at the Chateau Mont-Sainte-Anne is a good party spot, with a slightly more mellow atmosphere. But if you have the energy after a big day on the slopes, Québec City rivals any ski resort in North America.

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best boutique hotels and culture

STONEHAM Gateway: 30 minutes from Jean Lesage International Airport Nearest town: Quebec City Vertical: 420 metres Annual snow: 6 metres Trails: 39 trails on four mountains. 19 trails cover 16 kms STONEHAM.COM

A short drive from downtown Québec City, skiers have plenty of options en piste, with 39 trails, an Olympic halfpipe and four large snow parks that cover three mountains. Like its neighbouring Mont Sainte Anne, it has one of the largest night skiing terrains in the country. Stoneham is also renowned for the vibrant atmosphere at the Bar Le Quatre-Foyers and the delicious food served at the Feu-Follet Restaurant. It’s an ideal combination of skiing, great food and après. BEST HOTEL Auberge St-Antoine: You’re in Quebec, you must stay in the old city! This charming hotel oozes history, with stone walls from a 19th-century warehouse surrounding your every move. Artifacts dating back to the 1600s, many of which were found during an expansion are now encased in glass displays in the public areas and guest rooms. Antiques and contemporary pieces fill the bedrooms, some with fireplaces, large terraces, or river views.

Shopping and fine dining are an art form in Old Québec. Stroll the rue Saint-Jean and rue Saint-Louis, where European charm adds A DASH OF FLAIR TO ANY OUTING.

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»the best of the rest

mountain is also renowned for its impressive annual snowfall. The best option for lodging are the many charming boutique hotels, however there are options for the larger luxury hotels or cottages closer to the mountain.

BLUE MOUNTAIN, ONT. Ontario’s largest mountain resort which is spread over the Niagara Escarpment, Blue has over 250 acres of skiable terrain. Located 90 minutes from Toronto, the village is developed like a mini Whistler village with a terrific selection of restaurants, bars and cafes. LE MASSIF, QUE. Less than an hour from the uber-charming Québec City, Le Massif has skiable terrain and slopes that seem to plunge straight down into the sea. With the highest vertical drop east of the Canadian Rockies the

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MONT TREMBLANT, QUE. Tremblant is a picturesque resort set in the breathtaking Laurentian Mountains in Quebec. Over 600 acres of skiing serviced by 14 lifts and plenty of lodging and après options. Vibrant and energetic, Tremblant also embraces its rich history that dates back to 1939. MONT ORFORD, QUE. Consisting of three summits — Mont Giroux, Mont Orford and Mont Alfre Desroches — this stop in the Eastern Townships (a few minutes from Magog, Que.) has vast terrain options. The main summit, Orford, is served by a state-of-the-art hybrid chairlift that brings skiers and riders to the best slopes on the mountain. Orford is home to Olympic medallist Nicolas Fontaine.

SADDLEBACK, MAINE Saddleback might be bigger than you think. Known primarily as a family resort, this New England destination has over 2,000 feet vertical and 66 trails and glades — as well as some rugged black diamonds — making this an honest alternative to the large resorts. KILLINGTON, VERMONT This Vermont classic resort is a fourseason destination that sits on 3,000 acres in the heart of the Green Mountains and boasts more than 70 miles of diverse terrain spread across six peaks and offers the most expansive lift network and snowmaking system in the East. SMUGGLER’S NOTCH, VERMONT The bread and butter of this Green Mountain destination is family skiing. Three inter-connected mountains in this northern Vermont stop, located 35 minutes east of Burlington, is a great choice for varying abilities. With 78 trails and 2,610 vertical feet — and quality instructors — it’s a


a New England treasure

great place to learn. Off the slopes options abound:from snow tubing to wellness centres and everything in between. STOWE, VERMONT Idyllic Vermont images come to mind when you think of Stowe — soaring church steeple, covered bridges, no chain stores in sight. It is the darling of the Green Mountain ski resorts, with a Main Street that is postcard-worthy. But despite its size and statue, Stowe still feels like a quaint Vermont town where no one locks the door. WHITEFACE, N.Y. With the highest vertical east of the Rockies, Whiteface is just down the road from

Lake Placid, the site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. This fifth-highest peak in New York State, near the town of Wilmington, offers 86 trails and over 35 kilometres of skiing amongst the Adirondacks. Off the hill, try a thundering bobsled or stomach-dropping skeleton ride or a family fun race on an 800-foot snow tubing chute. CANNON MOUNTAIN, N.H. Home mountain to Bode Miller, Cannon is a state-owned ski area in the White Mountain of New Hampshire within the Franconia Notch State Park. With 9 lifts that service 165 acres of terrain, Cannon boasts the most vertical in New Hampshire.

It’s hard not to spot a few on the way to most Vermont and New Hampshire ski resorts. Serving the purpose as bridges and historic monuments at the same time, the covered wooden bridges are charming and iconic; a right of passage, shut off to the outside world, making a sort of tunnel that you have to pass through. Why are these bridges closed off? The answer is simple: for preservation. As the bridges are made of wood the covering protects the structure from the elements. But quite apart from their historic and architectural interest, the most striking thing about these bridges is their beauty. They can be found in many Eastern states in the USA, and those in Vermont — perhaps in part due to their context — are particularly evocative, and the object of many special tours and visits. Most of these structures date from the 19th century. During this period, the north-eastern United States had a chronic shortage of bridges, and this solution seemed to be the best. They were quick to construct, solid, and easy to maintain. Adopting the architectural styles of the time, they turned into genuine, proper works of art.


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WH20 By Julie Nieuwenhuys Photographs by Caroline van ‘t Hoff

It’s more than skiing the deep powder; Nelson’s pure stoke and genuine work-loathing, artistic, life-loving folk make Whitewater a place to behold

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“I forgot that you work here,” our handyman Jack says to a friend. “I try not to use that four- letter word,” the friend replies with a chuckle. This laid-back mentality sums up the easy-going attitude that is the norm in Nelson. Dotted with Victorian gingerbread cottages, the B.C. town in the Kootenays is home to dozens of artists, musicians, yogis and of course powder junkies. Some of their hairstyles give new meaning to local colour, and everyone leads a no-stress lifestyle. They seem to embrace a collective fearlessness when it comes to taking the roads less travelled; there is a genuine sense of “anything goes”. Passionate, well-educated ski bums do odd jobs such as tree planting, mining or growing a particular green plant in order to be able to ski full-time. For us, two Dutch women, it is extraordinary to be surrounded by skiers and, unsurprisingly, we immediately feel at home in this paradise.

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PURE, SIMPLE AND REAL … DEEP “Go Dutch girls!” I hear someone call out enthusiastically from the chairlift as I hurtle a little too fast past a huge pine tree. The speed makes it feel like I am flying as the snow blows across my face. Everything about this descent seems aligned. It is the perfect powder run and the quintessential moment I daydream about during summer. The snow is so light it turns my spray into a cloud that lingers in the air for a couple of seconds, which around here is referred to as “cold smoke”. The excitement during a powder day like today is positively palpable among the skiers. I hear people laughing loudly and see them glow as joyful shouts echo from the trees. It just so happens that this is the weekend of the Coldsmoke Powder Fest in Whitewater. Only a 20-minute drive from Nelson, the small ski area is a way of life for many locals. During the festival, backcountry skiers and boarders celebrate life in the mountains. Ski touring is immensely popular and sports-loving locals

proudly take us to their favourite spots just outside the ski boundaries. We put on our climbing skins for a short tour almost every day, and weeks after a typical snowfall we are still skiing freshies. Even after nearly three months we have barely made a dent in our “to-ski” list, so we will be back! SIZE DOESN’T ALWAYS MATTER Despite the fact that Powder Magazine readers voted Nelson, together with the neighbouring town of Rossland, “Best Ski Town in North America,” in some ways time has stood still in this powder paradise for the past 30 years. Whitewater, with the cool moniker WH2O, is an authentic ski hill; it’s the exact opposite of a crowded European resort, which is refreshing in an age when it seems like everything has to be bigger and better. In Nelson, less is more. The three old-fashioned, rickety secondhand chairlifts take you up to extremely steep and challenging tree runs. Thanks to this remote location – both Calgary and


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CAT SKIING Using centrally located Nelson as our home base, Caroline and I explored the region as guests of neighbouring cat skiing companies. To get everyone in the mood, the folks at Valhalla Powdercats show skiing films on the bus each morning. That was all it took to turn the stoke for the entire day on! We skied 7-13 runs across pristine powder fields, challenging couloirs and steep tree runs.

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White Grizzly (cat-assisted touring):

Together with our guide, the cat drove us to just above the White Grizzly tree line. Getting a lift up to 2,350 metres sure makes things easier. By avoiding the long run-up to the peak, we had time for plenty of runs; talk about a win-win situation! Retallack What kind of cat skiing outfit has an antihangover drink called ResQwater for a sponsor? We attended their legendary staff party and if the parties are as good as the skiing, you know you are in the right place!


Vancouver are more than eight hours away by car — it is nice and quiet around here, and we seldom have to wait in line. When we do, those few minutes are nothing to us Europeans and we grin at the locals who are up in arms about how “crazy busy” it is. According to marketing manager Anne Pigeon, there were 2,200 visitors on the busiest day last season. The only restaurant on the mountain is a simple; a cozy timber-frame day lodge, where young and old mingle and everyone seems to know each other. We stand out in our colourful gear and are quickly known as “the Dutch Girls”. Every day we enjoy their healthy, delicious and affordable food. The food is so popular that Shelley Adams — the former owner of Whitewater who also worked there as a chef — has published several cookbooks with recipes from the lodge. These include the Glory Bowl, my favourite, with marinated tofu, brown rice, caramelized almonds, greens and a heavenly dressing. During lunch, I always have to ask our new ski friends what brought them to Nelson. An oft-heard response is: “I came here for a few days and just never left.” I certainly cannot blame them; the deep powder, pure stoke and genuine atmosphere make WH2O a special place. Dedicated ski bums of all ages make me realize that skiing is

more than just a sport here; it is positively a way of life. I feel privileged to be out there with such fervent and fanatical skiers and to be able to share my passion. Out of all of the places I have skied around the world, I have never felt so proud to be a skier as I do here! LIGHT MY FIRE Baker Street is the main street populated by everyone from dreadlocked buskers to groups of hippies sporting colourful mohawks. Nearly everyone clutches a thermos coffee mug. In addition to powder snow and marijuana, coffee seems to be one of life’s necessities in these parts. We get our fix from our favourite coffee place, John Ward, where we meet interesting people over a cup of blissfully foamy cappuccino. Such as Nick Waggoner, one of the filmmakers from Sweetgrass Productions. Their unique, artistic style fits perfectly with the unconventional Nelson, which is the backdrop of their latest film, Valhalla. He spontaneously invites us to a barbecue in the woods of Whitewater that night. Later, we gather unsuspectingly at the Sweetgrass house, where we are asked to select a bohemian 1960s outfit from the box of dress-up clothes. Kitted out in floral dresses, retro print robes and knitted vests, we drive in darkness to WH2O, where the


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psychedelic music of The Doors booms from the forest. Much to our surprise, we have landed on the set of Valhalla. Together with 30 or so other “bohemians,” we are asked to dance wildly around the crackling campfire. Which is exactly what we feel like doing, and the party only gets wilder as the night progresses. Items of clothing are removed and a fire dancer does this daring number with a burning hula hoop. While this is one of the most far-out parties I have ever been to, at the same time I realize that it is not all that unusual in Nelson! OLD-WORLD CHARM The lovely Victorian cottages and Baker Street’s heritage buildings dating back more than a century make Nelson a charming city. Fortunately, unlike most cities in North America, you will not find any Starbucks, McDonald’s or other fast food chains here. It is no wonder that The New York Times named Nelson the “prettiest small town in Canada.” Situated on the shores of the Kootenay Lake, which itself is surrounded by white sandy beaches, Nelson is an outdoor sports paradise year-round. In spring, skis and boards are gradually replaced by mountain bikes, kayaks, SUP boards and hiking boots. The environmentally-conscious residents pursue a healthy lifestyle, something to which the wide variety of organic prod-

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ucts sold here testifies. At parties we were repeatedly offered “Scooby Snacks,” an organic stimulant made from magic mushrooms. The locals swear up and down that it is a completely sensible choice; after all, it also contains ginseng and goji berries. We cheerfully took a pass, preferring the genuine natural high. Like its residents, nightlife in Nelson is unconventional and surprising. All of our expectations were exceeded during an intimate living room concert where guests choose the price of admission. We were utterly enchanted by the two young musicians with angelic voices whose personal, emotional songs were delivered with both vulnerability and power. PEOPLE OF THE POWDER Sipping a coffee in the sun it hits me: for the first time in my life I am not bummed that the winter is almost over. Nelson is so much more than a powder paradise. It is a closeknit community where money is simply a means to fund your passions, and not a goal unto itself. Quality of life is the main thing, and people here wholeheartedly enjoy themselves. For us, the combination of breathtaking nature and mountains of powder in such a friendly and creative town makes Nelson the best place for us to live. After all, where else are people so laid-back that they refer to work as “the four-letter word we try not to use”?

BACKCOUNTRY LODGES We explored this vast backcountry on touring skis, staying in two different remote mountain lodges accessible only by helicopter. Surrounded by expansive valleys with ice-blue glaciers and imposing summits, we climbed several peaks each day and skied hard-earned powder miles away from the manmade world. We visited the following two cabins: Mount Carlyle This rustic, comfortable lodge is situated at 2,190 metres in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains, an hour’s drive from Nelson. Accompanied by Brian, the bearded owner with a twinkle in his big eyes, we zigzag through the larch trees at an easygoing pace and ski deep powder in steep forests with abandoned mine shafts nearby. During one season in the late 1970s, this lifelong ski bum camped out in an old bus in the Red Mountain parking lot. Now, some 35 years later, he still looks forward to the next day of skiing, and his youthful enthusiasm is contagious. Later that night in the lodge over beers and a simple pasta meal, we hang on to every word of his many ski stories and already start dreaming about what the next

morning has in store for us. Unlike many backcountry lodges, at Mount Carlyle you can choose between bringing your own food and doing the cooking yourself, or hiring a cook and/or a guide.

Selkirk Mountain Experience The Durrand Glacier Chalet at 1946 metres near Revelstoke was built by the legendary Swiss mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger. Do not expect a physically relaxing holiday; Ruedi has a very clear vision. He wants his guests to get what they came for, which means climbing mountaintops and covering at least 1,200 vertical meters every day. This experience is not for everyone, and there were days that we reached our limit. As he explained, “Everyone has their own Everest and I want to help people find it if they are interested. I can coach them to reach their goal.” selkirkexperience. com British Columbia has 27 mountain lodges where you can stay on a selfcatering basis or with meals provided. You have the choice of booking a guide, too. backcountry


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LIVING Living the mountain high life BY MICHAEL MASTARCIYAN

SPLENDIDO AT THE CHATEAU THE FIRST THING you notice when you sit down for dinner at Splendido in Beaver Creek is the menu — and how it very well might be a copy of the ship’s manifest from Noah’s Ark. There are all matter of game, fish and fowl available at this Rocky Mountain culinary gem, but as Executive Chef and owner David Walford stressed when we dragged him out of the kitchen to sit down for a quick chat, he’ll make you a grilled cheese sandwich if that’s what you really want, because his ultimate mission is giving the customer what he enjoys eating most. My introduction to Splendido, and tip-off that it is Beaver Creek’s most prestigious eating establishment came from a woman whose opinion I value highly – English ex-pat Diana Mathias, a local with intimate knowledge of the finer side of life in this exclusive alpine community for the rich and famous.

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“The best meal I’ve ever had in my life happened at this restaurant,” Mathias told me when I asked her where THE place to eat in Beaver Creek was — and after a 9-course tasting extravaganza (more on that later) I could see why she was so emphatic. So, as I was in Beaver Creek for the men’s alpine skiing World Cup, I decided to take Miss Mathias and another West Coast foodie, my old ski racing pal Joe LaBarbera, a former restaurateur connected to one of LA’s most popular Italian eateries, for a little frontier fine dining. Regarded as the Mecca of “Rustic American” high-end mountain cuisine in Beaver Creek, Splendido is located in the heart of The Chateau, an ultra luxurious condo resort built by Canadian auto magnate Frank Stronach. At first glance it looks like you’re entering an Austrian or French alpine chateau when you walk through Splendido’s

doors, but don’t be shy or put off, all are welcome here. “We try very hard not to be pretentious and stuffy and that’s why l like the term Rustic American, because we’re trying not to be too elegant and unapproachable,” Walford explained. “When Frank Stronach built this building, he made it really solid and spent a lot of money making it look like a true European chateau, and that can be a little bit intimidating to people. The food is very serious at Splendido, we don’t hold back at all, we use the best ingredients, and the best techniques we know, but ultimately it’s fine dining without an attitude. There’s no dress code here, we love children, you can talk and have a good time, be boisterous if you like, you’re on vacation after all.” Chef Walford and Splendido are shining examples of how great food and a great attitude can make a business last for decades.

Portrait by Peter Arkle, photograph courtesy of Splendido

Beaver Creek’s finest on-mountain restaurant is elegant yet approachable, with high-end cuisine

PACKAGES AND PROMOTIONS AVAILABLE AT MONT-SAINTE-ANNE.COM Only 30 minutes from the city, this extraordinary mountain is renowned for impeccable snow conditions. The skiable terrain includes 69 trails spread across 3 sides of the mountain. After sundown, 19 trails remain floodlit and become the highest vertical drop for night skiing in the country. Mont-Sainte-Anne offers one of the most consistent snow seasons in the area, which generally starts mid-November and lasts until late April, with its spring madness ski festival.


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OMG! I’D ORDER THIS ENTREE JUST FOR THE PERSIMMON JAM ALONE. After studying and working in France, Walford worked for two San Francisco culinary legends, Masa Kobayashi and Udo Nechutnys during the 1980s before moving to the Rocky Mountains to work at Sweet Basil, one of Vail’s top restaurants. Then, in 1994, Walford joined Splendido as Executive Chef, and by 2007 became owner. In keeping with Splendido’s “Rustic American” theme, main courses include wood-oven roasted Maine lobster, balsamic glazed Alaskan black cod, pan roasted Iowa rabbit, Dakota buffalo steak au poivre, roasted New Zealand elk, and wood oven roasted Colorado rack of lamb. Needless to say, grilled cheese was the last thing on my mind, but I was thankful Chef Walford would have panned one up if I so desired. NECTAR OF THE GODS My meal started with a glass of Ruffino Prosecco to wake up our palates. I love Prosecco, and dinners usually go right when I kick them off with a little bubbly. Nibblies were next in the form of house-marinated olives, paprika and parmesan encrusted lavash crackers, carmelized onion focaccia, and semolina baguette — a little Mediterranean flavour to start off a meal rich in game, fish and fowl, inspired and much appreciated! Loved the lavash, but then again you’d expect that from a writer of Armenian ancestry. Speaking of inspired, our waiter Aaron Robinson, hit the bullseye. I’m normally not a big fan of white wine, but Mr. Robinson blew me and my guests away with a dry Alsacian 2010 Willm Riesling, with hints of apricot, peach and pear, perfect acidity

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for raw fish, which just happened to be the next course, Japanese Sashimi in the form of ahi tuna and hamachi with a small kale salad with a toasted sesame oil dressing. Next up, porcini soup with tête de moine cheese, the mushrooms picked by the staff from local hills, paired perfectly with a creamy, almost buttery, 2011 Simi Reserve Russian River Chardonnay. This soup made my top-3 soups of all time list, so I asked for seconds. One of the biggest highlights of the night was next, a braised crispy pork belly, dusted in rice flour and seared, dressed in apple cider caramel, paired with an un-oaked Friulian Chardonnay with a floral orchard fruit/lemon zest quality to it. And then moved to the next course: balsamic-glazed Alaskan black cod, served with locallyharvested chantrelle mushrooms, sauteed spinach and sorrel. Diana’s description was perfect: “delicate, delicious with substantial flavour.” The 2010 Grochau Cellars Pinot Noir, with a strong bouquet of chocolate, was an ideal match. Elk loin wrapped in guanciale (pickled pork jowl) was our principal course. Served with the mother of all jams — spiced persimmon and house-made yogurt. The elk, and accompanying Cote du Rhone, was

fantastic but the spiced persimmon jam ... OMG! I’d order this entree just for the persimmon jam alone. Still hungry for game, I asked for some buffalo and was treated to a deliciously decadent dry-aged bison striploin au poivre with tellicherry pepper, seared and served over sauteed spinach and porcini mushrooms, with a pomme puree with parsnip and pork wine reduction, served with a Napa Valley Rutherford Ranch cabernet — I’ll be dreaming of this combo back east — where bison is not readily available locally. BRING IT HOME We cleansed our palates with a magical concoction called Passion Fruit Snow, which can only be described as cotton candy made from ice by Santa Claus himself. Paired with a very refreshing tropical Moscato d’Asti, it was the perfect set-up for the dessert, and proof of the existence of God. Butter pecan profiteroles, textures of chocolate mousse cake, and lemon souffle with blueberries. But I suggest forget all the desserts on the menu and finish off an amazing dining experience with one ofthe most perfect lemon souffles you will ever have the good fortune of tasting, and it may even bring you closer to God, as it did me.

Ion Cameras


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Suggestions and tips from the pros BY JOSH FOSTER


tainly worthy of the quest. When you feel it, you’ll remember forever. It’s like a perfectly struck golf ball from the head of your driver or a homerun ball right off the centre of the bat, pure ... effortless. The perfect carve is is much more achievable than a homerun and certainly more achievable than a well struck golf ball. There are a few details to keep in mind to consistently repeat the perfect carve. First, balance is critical. It is in all skiing turn shapes, and it needs to be active balance. A mentor used to say to me, “balance is the dynamic process of not falling over”. The key word in that statement is “dynamic”, to be balanced on a pair of skis you need to be moving and not just down the hill either, you need to move with the terrain, constantly adjusting to the changes to always seek out balance. In technical lingo, we balance in four planes, fore and aft (front and back), lateral (side to side), vertical (up and down) and

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rotational (twisting). The rotational plane can be thought of as more of an axis rather than a plane. But try not to get bogged down in that lingo. You can move your feet ahead and behind you, you can move them side to side, up and down underneath you by bending in your knees and hips and you can turn them. There you go; three planes and an axis with your lower body and not your upper body. What does this mean when it comes to carving? To have your skis carve cleanly and smoothly through an arc you need to be active and moving from your feet up, almost sensing the changes in snow and terrain through your soles. The adjustments are constant – front and back, side to side, up and down and the amount that you’re turning. Being active with your feet to the front and back is important so that you can work the edge of your ski through the turn – just like how you work the knife through bread – from the tip to the tail. Side to side balance (lateral) is relative

to speed – the faster you go the more you can move laterally or to the inside of your feet. This is going to dictate how much edge angle you can create. Speed is your friend when it comes to carving and think of your legs like shock absorbers; If you’re starting to bounce or chatter, soften the suspension, if you’re not feeling the performance you want, stiffen it up. The last thing to pay attention to is the rotational axis. If you’re letting your upper body lead the way then you’re more than likely going to end up out of balance to the inside of your turn and moving away from being balanced against your outside or downhill ski. Like most things in life, perfection is achieved through balance. The situation is dynamic, always changing so you need to change with it. Find your balance and you’ll find the perfect carve.

Josh Foster is the director of snowsports for Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, B.C.

Portrait by Peter Arkle

Carving cleanly comes from active and dynamic leg motion and four-plane balance

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FASHION BACKWARD: Swiss ski racer and sports store owner Roger Staub poses with two fashionably-dressed (Staub design) ski models in Arosa, Switzerland, in 1962.

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S Magazine - Winter 2014