Just who is this Ryder dude?

Greetings, and welcome to The Ryder Report on Powderwatch.com, your source for up to the minute snow condition reports Sunshine Village (and occasionally other major ski resorts) in the Canadian Rockies.

It’s probably worthwhile for you to know just who is doing the reporting here. I have been skiing the Rockies for over 30 years, and I report for Powderwatch.com primarily on Sunshine Village. While I learned how to ski in Ontario in the mid 1970’s, I started skiing Sunshine in 1978, when there was no gondola and they still used busses to get up to the village. For 15 some years, I averaged 12 skiing days per season, all but one or two of which were at Sunshine. Then I joined the CFCN (now CTV Calgary) ski team, and that bumped me to almost 20 days per season, and took me to all the major resorts near Calgary, plus a bunch of minor ones, too (insert fond memories of a day at Hidden Valley in the Cypress Hills here).  A few years back, I bought a place near Canmore and jumped to 30 ski days per year. In early 2010, I retired, and during the 2010-2011 season, I got in 54 ski days. Now fully retired, I live near Canmore, and I ride 70-90 days a season, most of them at Sunshine. In 2012, I joined the hill’s SnowHost program (working mostly Saturdays), and am always be happy to say hi and take you for mountain tours on Saturdays during the 2017-2018 season. So, full disclosure: I am a part time employee of Sunshine.

However, as past readers of Powderwatch.com’s User Ski Reports will probably attest, SnowHost or not, my reports are factual and accurate. Here’s what I’ll tell you every day I ski:

  • 15 cm. Upper Bye Bye. 1 PM

    15 cm. Upper Bye Bye. 1 PM

    New snow depth, for real, measured at various spots, with my pole (which has depth markings on it).

  • Weather conditions. Was it so foggy you couldn’t see? Or so clear you could see Vancouver? So cold you couldn’t move? Or so warm the snow was turning to slop? So windy you couldn’t make it down the hill?
  • Time stamping on my photos. You’ll know what it looked like, and when.
  • How busy was it? Were there lift lines? How long were the lift lines?
  • Where the best tracks were that I found, and where you can find powder (since this is PowderWatch, after all!), complete with photos.
I post my reports immediately after skiing. Since I’m usually home by 4:30, you should see my stuff by 8 PM on the days I’m out. The odd Friday they may be late for other reasons.
In order to understand my reports, know that while I can ski anything Sunshine can throw at me, the reality is there are many places that I just don’t find fun, and I’m there to have fun. For instance, I NEVER report first hand on conditions in Delirium Dive. I’ve skied the Dive, and it was fun, but do not have the necessary training (AST 1) to use the gear (probe, shovel, transceiver) properly and safely. Not my thing (but I will report on Dive conditions if I get what I think is credible info). I also don’t take my skis off and climb. Too lazy. I don’t spend all that much time on Standish or Wawa; the runs there are great but a little short for me (it’s that “learning to ski in Ontario” bias). And I don’t poach boundary lines (and nor should you).
My favourite places at Sunshine?
  • Goat’s Eye’s front faces and trees (from Gold Afterburner all the way across);
  • Goat’s Eye’s South Side Chutes from the Road down;
  • Bye Bye Bowl
  • Viking Ridge, Hill 205 and the whole face between Boundary Bowl and the Pockets (including the Pockets)
So mostly, I’m an average joe pretty good skier and I tootle around the mountain looking to have fun – probably like 80% of skiers. But if you’re a hard core, poach the lines, take big risks, seek the pow kinda guy, you’ll find my reports kinda bland. OK, maybe the weather info will be useful.
As I mentioned, my reports are primarily factual, complete with photos. But I also run my own, more personal and opinionated blog where you can look if you want more, though I rarely post in the winter. Feel free to look there at the posts I made about conditions from 2007 – 2012.
The 2017-18 season marks my 7th season of reporting at PowderWatch. I hope you will find my reports — and all of the ski tips I post as well on Powderwatch.com — interesting, useful, and helpful. If they’re not, post comments. I promise to read them all.
And always remember: my reports are my view of the world, and don’t necessarily represent the views of anyone else at Sunshine, including Management, Ski Patrol, Lift Ops, my boss, any other SnowHost or even my partner. You’ll get inside info here but no corporate secrets. I talk skiing not politics, and I talk facts, not gossip.