Frequency, The Snowboarder's JournalDownload PDF
March 22, 2010
Freq Week 2010 -- Deep Pow, Norwegian Special Ops and Irish Car Bombs
posted by: Colin
Perhaps the best thing about Baldface Lodge is the trees. Case in point: while the rest of the Kootenays suffered a ‘twitchy’ snowpack and limited riding options, the Fifth Annual Freq Week celebration at Baldface was blessed with fresh powder in the trees, freshly groomed mini-park sessions in the afternoon, and freshly poured Irish Car Bombs through St Patty’s Day. And with 32,000 acres to ride, the tenure stayed fresh through the week, despite a lack of new snow. The dance floor, however, got pretty tracked out...
Freq’s from across the continent arrived Sunday, March 14 under lakeside blue skies for the ten minute helicopter ride to the confines of Baldface Lodge, six chalets and a lodge perched at 6,750 feet in the Selkirk Mountains. The crew was made up by the full freq staff contingent, veteran freq weekers like Martin Watterson, Graham Mueller, Maxx von Marbod and Marcel Dolak, and fresh faces like subscribers Mike Hattrup, Patrick McQueen, Matt Bain and Dave Billinghurst, just to name a few. Team Canada snowboard coach Mark Fawcett joined us for a post-Olympic decompression session and a group of Special Ops Norwegians dropped in shouting “Skaal!” and raising their glasses to what lay in store: four days of pristine powder shredding.
Day 1 saw Cordell's cat head out to the north zone—a thirty minute ride, but well worth the wait. A warning to future freq weekers: take it easy on the booze the first night in. Dizziness and numb arms suck when you’re about to drop into 1,000 feet of fresh. Snowboard guides Demian Whitley and Laning Andrews kept the crew safe in somewhat sketchy conditions—natural slides were evident throughout the terrain, but knee-deep tree laps were served up every run, with abundant pillow poppers and tree tappers around every turn. As the guides became more comfortable with the crew and the snowpack, we were able to open it up into some steeper terrain and find a few fun drops before making the drive back for the day.
Despite warming temperatures through the week, shaded north shots turned to crystallized blower while hot pow and corn developed on south facing slopes for the afternoons. The Baldface rhythm set in nicely: ride 8-4, return to the lodge for hot snacks, warm up with a few cold ones at the bar, sit down to a gourmet meal ranging from red wine rib eye to fresh pacific salmon and quinoa, shoot a game of pool and watch the slideshow from the day, repeat. It’s easy to forget about the outside world as the dream state takes over; you don’t have to worry about anything besides where to slash next and what flavor of beverage to consume during extended après.
Three days deep, Freq Week culminated with a requisite St Patrick’s Day party. The homies and resident maintenance man and former firefighter Jamie found a couple beetle-afflicted trees and built a ten-foot bonfire out front of the lodge. Ignited by diesel fuel and roman candles, the Norwegians raised their glasses early and often and dove headlong into the fray, and the snowbank. A sasquatch began dancing by the bonfire before the party moved inside and master of activities Jessie Carlson got the lodge shaking with a hits-of-the-90s-inspired dance party into the wee hours of the morning.
Although the previous night’s festivities meant the cats were carrying a slightly lighter load for the final day, the riding was heavy, with north side powder shots culminating in a perfect corn shot through burned-out trees. Demian lead the crew on a classic “see you at the cat” lap through the wide-open gullies of Third Degree Burn, which left everyone grinning wide and stoked for next year; a fitting finish to Freq Week #5, and evidence that, as Galbraith put it, “sequels don’t have to suck.”
Thanks to Jeff Pensiero, Stella Molnar, Demian, Lanny, Jamie, Cordell, Homie J, Hayden, Dave, and the whole guide, kitchen, bar and house staff. You guys rock like Sabbath.
Look for more photos and video dropping later this week...and call the lodge to book your spot for next year.