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Thursday, March 31, 2005

In the south of the Chatter Creek cat skiing tenure there are a number of large alpine bowls. This photo shows three of many.

In the top third of the photo lies South Park , to the left of the distant trees on Lodge Ridge . South Park slopes from left to right , almost into Lakeview, which is the next bowl closer to the camera . Lake View is a drainage that empties to the left of the photo. Next closest bowl to the camera, just below the center of the photo, is Harbourview, partly in the shadow of its southern rim. The area at the bottom of the photo has not yet been been opened up for cat skiing. The sides of these bowls offer many powder skiing lines, some quite steep. Use the links above for more detailed views.

Click here for a version of the photo with these areas marked.

Photographs by courtesy of Steve Neill of Alpenglow Aviation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Chatter Creek's Tenure

Many offshore visitors to Chatter Creek Snowcat Skiing are intrigued with the concept of tenure. Some people confuse "tenure" with "terrain". Rather, it is a legal right conferred by Government to the exclusive use of certain Crown Land for a specific commercial purpose.

Click here for a layman's attempt to explain the concept.

Backcountry Skiing at Chatter Creek Cat Skiing
Phil Fortier catches Chatter Creek photographer John Dougall popping some bumps on Mommy's Run on Lodge Ridge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What is Cat Skiing?

Our Cat Skiing Articles tell all about it.

Watch for the Oyster

Cat Skiing at Chatter Creek
This is the cat road through the Clamshell at Chatter Creek. Many Chatter Creek cat skiing guests will well remember the powder skiing here and on the Forbidden Fruit and Table exits. However, now the road will go all the way to the top, to the Pearl that is the col in the west ridge. Beyond the Pearl is a really big Oyster. Stay tuned for more. Thanks to Are Tallaksrud for this photo.

Click here for an aerial view of the Clamshell, Forbidden Fruit and Fruit Loops.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Powder Skiing in Chatter Creek's South Park
South Park is a large bowl in the southern reaches of the Chatter Creek tenure. Here's another shot from the same area. The powder skiing at Chatter Creek usually continues well through April.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Arc'teryx Supplies Chatter Creek Cat Skiing

Chatter Creek Cat Skiing Staff Jackets
Chatter Creek cat skiing tailgunner Pete Tashman and lead guide Ken Black with cat driver Pete Willott. We wonder if Pete still trades baseball cards.

Arc'teryx, the Vancouver-based manufacturer of superior outdoor gear supplies Chatter Creek staff with high quality outdoor jackets, complete with the Chatter Creek Cat Skiing logo.

The distinctive yellow and orange jackets are a favorite among Chatter Creek's guides and outdoor staff and make it easy for guests to identify staff and to maintain visual contact with guides while cat skiing Chatter Creek's deep powder.

In the past, Arc'teryx has used Chatter Creek's spectacular alpine terrain as a backdrop for photography for it's clothing and equipment catalogue.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ski Photography by John Dougall
Chatter Creek photographer, John Dougall catches Alex Orr "dropping in". To check out more outstanding ski photography by John Dougall, click the link. John skis with Chatter Creek guests and takes great "ego" shots of almost everyone.

Click on any Chatter News image to enlare it. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to the Chatter News.

Harbourview and SX3 at Chatter Creek

Chatter Creek Cat Skiing Alpine Terrain
An aerial view of some of the Chatter Creek cat skiing terrain lying south of Vertebrae Lodge. Lodge Ridge, East Ridge and Vertebrae Ridge are visible in the background. Shown here are parts of the SX2 (right of center) and SX3 (center top) drainages, and part of Harbourview (on the left). Here's a better view of SX2 and SX3.

For this view, with names of cat skiing areas added, click here.

Chatter Creek is deeply grateful for the wonderful aerial photography of Steve Neill of Alpenglow Aviation. The Chatter News will soon be displaying much more of Steve's photography.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Swiss to wrap up shrinking glacier

Click here to see what the Swiss are doing about global warming and receding glaciers. Fortunately, these problems do not yet seem to be affecting the powder skiing at Chatter Creek.

Chatter Creek has three glaciers in its tenure, the Vertebrae glacier, the Clamshell and the Chatter glacier. The first two provide good powder skiing, whereas the third has insufficient gradient.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ski Photography at Chatter Creek Cat Skiing
Anticipation Peak, on the back of MCO, with lots of tracks visible. Sometimes the skiing is so good in an area, guests just don't want to move off to try other areas. It's rare for areas to have more than a few "lines" skied at any one time.

These three photos are the ski photography of John Dougall. For a closer look at Anticipation Peak, click here.

Click on any Chatter News image to enlarge it. Use the browser's "Back" button to return.

Ski Guides at Chatter Creek
A recent shot of Chatter Creek guide, Josh Milligan enjoying a little powder skiing at Chatter Creek. Your Chatter Editor has just returned from Chatter Creek and can report lots and lots of powder, just like in this shot. There seems to be no end of terrain at Chatter Creek. After five years of operation, Chatter Creek is still opening up large new areas in their original tenure, and a huge expansion is expected shortly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dispatch from Chatter Creek

Your Chatter Editor is on the last day of a 4-day tour to Chatter Creek. In a couple of hours the helicopters will start to ferry our group back to Golden.

The big news from Chatter Creek is that the long-awaited tenure expansion has been approved and some exploratory trips will soon be made into this vast new area. The expansion adds 43 sq miles to the existing 50 sq. miles to provide a total of 93 sq. miles. The new area is huge. We will have much more information to share with you shortly. Stay tuned.

The first day of our tour was sunny and clear. We enjoyed an outing on Vertebrae glacier. The higher elevations were a bit wind-slabbbed, but quite skiable. The lower elevations offered sublime powder. On the return trip, we had a number of runs on Megahooped and on the Windlip, which had patches of sun/wind crust and pockets of very nice powder. It was a good day.

Day two was snowy, with 10 - 15 cm accumulation and limited visibility. We skied the Clamshell, Forbidden Fruit and the Lower Table before moving to the East Ridge and the Phatt, the Skinny and Percy's Knob. The skiing was very good with great powder. At the lowest elevations, sun crust became apparent under a snow cover of a few inches. At the end of the day, we moved to Lodge Ridge for a tree run followed by a couple of great runs on Mommy's Run.

Day three had overcast well below the peaks and fairly heavy snowfall. The day was similar to day 2, with very good tree skiing. On the west side of upper East Ridge, we skied "Super Spruce" and "Super Bowl". two large open slopes that have been opened up this year with the extension of the "Super Road" higher on East Ridge.

Day four was much brighter with high oveercast and occasional sun. Yours truly sat the day out with a tweeked knee. More news on the skiing later, after the cats return. However, I believe they got into the new terrain.

Please watch for more updates about Chatter Creek cat skiing.

Post Script: The fourth day took the group into a large new alpine area. There have been a number of new areas opened this year, in the original tenure. Apparently the snow was great and everyone felt the day was exceptional. Our Australian visitors, Ian and Ingrid, were very happy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Alpine Terrain at Chatter Creek Cat Skiing
The Chatter News will be quiet for a few days while your scribe has a last fling of powder skiing at Chatter Creek. I hope I will have some great cat skiing to report to you next week.

Meanwhile, enjoy Phil Fortier's photo of tracks in "Sunnyvale" in the southern reaches of the tenure. This is all part of the "SX3" drainage. The col to the right is "MCO Pass", below which lies the "Bowling Alley" on the right, "Oh My Gord" in the center (named by Chatter Creek guide, Gord Irwin) and "Head Smashed In (HSI) Buffalo Jump" on the left.

Click here for an annotated aerial photo of the SX3 area.

Scroll down a couple of posts for a link to Phil's Chatter Creek cat skiing photos. Adios.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chatter Creek Cat Skiers, Send us your Ski Photos

Please, please, please send us your favorite ski photos from your cat skiing tour at Chatter Creek. We can't get enough good scenery and powder skiing photos, especially from "South Park" or "Super Spruce". You might not achieve Phil Fortier's high standard (next post), but we would like to have your Chatter Creek shots anyway. Send us your "people" shots from the lodge and we will make a collage for the Happy Campers site. Don't forget your tales of the Pink Purse.

One way to send us your ski photos is to upload them to Webshots or Ofoto and then tell me where they are. Use the email link in the column to the right to find our email address.

We're looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Monday, March 14, 2005

Marvelous Ski Photos from Chatter Creek

Powder Skiing at Chatter Creek
Chatter Creek tailgunner Ian Kirschner on a slope in South Park. Where do you get better powder skiing than this?

Check out Phil Fortier's great ski photos from his Feb 18 cat skiing tour at Chatter Creek. Some of the best powder skiing photography by a guest that I've seen. The captions are a little hard to read, but the photos are amazing. Thanks Phil.

Phil presents his material in five groupings, "Fluffy", "Cat", "Jumped", "Various" and "Mountains". There are also a couple of amusing video clips on the main "Chatter" page. You won't want to miss any of it.

in "Cats", Phil has some good shots from the "Super Spruce" area at the top of the "Super Road" extension, north on East Ridge. I think Phil and his mates enjoyed their cat skiing at Chatter Creek. I'm sure he would want you to enjoy his great ski photography! Phil sets the standard in guest photography.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"Chow down" at Vertebrae lodge. Chatter Creek cat skiing guests share their tales of powder skiing, a few bottles of wine and a great meal. It's all very relaxed and after a day or so, everyone is like an old friend.

After dinner, the daily award of the Pink Purse encourages impromptu speeches and provides amusement for all.

For more views of the Chatter Creek lodges, look at our Lodge Life and Interior Construction photo galleries (scroll to the end).

The construction of the remarkable Chatter Creek lodges is described in our Mountain Lodge Construction gallery.

Joni B enjoying a few turns in the Chatter Creek powder. Joni normally skis at Snowbird, Utah and this was her first trip to Chatter Creek. She must have liked it, because she's coming back next year for more Chatter Creek cat skiing.

Some of the best powder skiing your Chatter Editor has ever had was in mid-December, a few years ago. We arrived at Chatter Creek to find 150 cm of storm snow had fallen in the prior couple of days, on a good base. It was the lightest and deepest snow any of us had ever encountered. What a blast!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Chatter glacier viewed from upper Lodge Ridge. We like to think of the peak behind as the "worlds largest half pipe". There is not much powder skiing on the Chatter glacier itself, it's too flat. The glacier skiing at Chatter Creek is done on the Vertebrae glacier.

Upper Lodge Ridge offers a huge selection of lines into the Chatter Creek watershed to the left of the photo. These include Dewar's bowl. A pickup road can be seen near the middle of the photo. Click the following link for a view of the Chatter Creek watershed.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mommy's Run in a very skied-out condition. There are a number of other "lines" on this slope, but this area won't be skied again before the next snowfall. It's such a great slope that guests often want to go back, tracks or no tracks.

Chatter Creek has an enormous amount of cat skiing terrain and manages to continue to provide "fresh tracks" even after weeks of drought. Mommy's Run is a fairly steep, very interesting run on Lodge Ridge.

The "Super Road" that climbs the back of East Ridge has been extended further and further north towards Stovepipe Mountain and the slope that contains Megahooped. This has opened a large amount of alpine terrain on both sides of East Ridge. We don't yet have an understanding of this area, nor many photos. On the west side, the new slopes include "Super Spruce" and "Super Bowl". These drop from the ridge top into the Spruce Slide area. Thanks to Marty Wagman.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pink Purse Award

Powder hounds who visit Chatter Creek for it's great cat skiing are all familiar with the infamous Pink Purse, a source of much fun and entertainment. Please take a look at "The Chatter Creek Pink Purse Award" and leave your comments and suggestions.

If any Chatter Creek client has a tale to share of unbecoming behaviour by any guest (or staff member), and a photo or two to help the story along, we do wish you would let us know. Please send your photos and tales of misdeeds to the Chatter News. Use the link in the right hand column to find the Chatter News email address.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cat Skiing Terrain at Chatter Creek
A marvelous shot of the West side of Lodge Ridge and the Chatter Creek drainage. Dewar's Bowl lies in the snowfield above and beyond the trees. The Chatter glacier lies in the shadow at the left of the photo. Spruce Pass can be seen to the far right of the photo, with the Golf Course below, in the shadow of upper Lodge Ridge. Vertebrae Lodge lies is hidden at valley bottom,roughly directly below the lower right hand corner of the photo. Thanks to Isabelle.

Click here for a photo from Dewar's Bowl, looking back in the opposite direction of this photo.

Click on any Chatter News photo to enlarge it. Use the browser's "Back" button to return to the Chatter News.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Pink Purse Spurned by Jay Peak Ski Patrol

In an earlier posting, we suggested there had to be a story behind guide Herb Bleuer carrying in this ugly pink purse like it was a dead skunk. Some guides do come by the Pink Purse by honest mishap, but not Herb, who does not have "mishaps" on skis. Now, the sordid truth has been revealed and we know there was a story! It involves a Jay Peak Ski Patrol member. He's been "outed". The story has been told! Click the following to read more about the Chatter Creek Pink Purse Award.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Cat Skiing Report

In case you missed the earlier notice, Dave Hanson has published a great illustrated trip report from his Jan 28 Chatter Creek tour. A Snowbird skier, Dave and his wife have already signed up for next year's cat skiing trip to Chatter Creek. He just can't get enough of that powder skiing. Or, perhaps it's the Canadian beer! Another Snowbird skier, Gene Myers is also coming back for more Chatter Creek powder skiing.

Another report from the same trip can be found on the Powder Magazine Community Travels Message Board and on the Web site (scroll to the bottom of the HeliPlanet page).

Glacier Skiing at Chatter Creek
This spectacular panorama by Christopher Stratas has been added to our "Glacier Skiing at Chatter Creek" photo gallery.

Chatter Creek offers the largest and highest glacier in North America that is regularly accessed for cat skiing.

Click on any Chatter News image to enlarge it. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to the Chatter News.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Tree Skiing at Chatter Creek
Some very open tree skiing at Chatter Creek. Snowbird skier, Gene Myers and Chatter Creek cat skiing lead guide, Andrew Prosser. For views of more tree skiing terrain at Chatter Creek, look at our East Ridge and Lodge Ridge photo galleries.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Cat Skiing Trip Report - Jan 28 to Feb 1 2005

Cat Skiing at Chatter Creek
Dave Hanson has completed his illustrated trip report describing our Chatter Creek cat skiing trip at the end of January. Photo credits also go to Paul Henderson and Chris Underwood. Dave and most of his companions are regulars at Snowbird, Utah.

This is the same cat skiing trip that has been the subject of many of our recent postings about powder skiing at Chatter Creek. Thanks for the great job, Dave.

This photo shows Dave skiing one of many lines in the huge South Park area in the south of the Chatter Creek tenure. Click on the image to enlarge it, use the browser's "Back" button to return to the Chatter News.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

February Cat Skiing Archive

End of the March cat skiing posts.
Click here to see all of the February posts.
Click here to see the most recent posts.