Lake Louise is looking fantastic today, judging by the featured shot.  They’ve only had 10cms for the week and nothing for the last 2 days so I suspect we must be looking at some new terrain on the back side that just opened up.  But it’s enough to get me itching to get on the boards.  I was planning to head out to Louise this weekend but I may be grounded by a nasty head cold.  I’ll just keep popping vitamins and see how it goes.

Sunset on Louise at 5pm today.

It’s been 17 years since Powderwatch (PW) launched and for 15 of those years I posted reports at least once a week.  In the early years, I was manually updating my snowfall summary table using daily snowfall reports from all the resorts.  It would take me about 20 minutes a day but the benefit was that I was always on top of it when a resort got dumped on.  As I was grabbing the snows stats, I’d check the snow forecasts and provide updates on the site if storms were moving in on the rockies.  It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed doing it.  When I saw that a resort was getting a ton of snow I’d be itching to hit the road and get some sweet powder.  Sometimes I’d recruit friends and we’d book off work on short notice.  I’d even head out on my own if I couldn’t coerce one of my friends into joining me.  I’d take pictures on the mountain and later write up my adventure on PW.  Those were good times!!!  I had a small fan base but strangers used to see the Powderwatch logo on my old Outback and tell me they loved the site.   Some of you may remember that I used to put PW cards on people’s windshields every time I was at the resorts.  Some people weren’t so happy with that form of advertising – but it was cheap!  Early on, I had a dream that the website would make some advertising money and that would allow me to retire early, ski a lot, and just work on the web site because I loved doing it.  But life doesn’t always go as planned and I was missing the entrepreneurial instincts that enable that kind of story to actually happen.

It hasn’t escaped me that Derek Ryder is retired, skis a lot and loves talking about ski conditions on the Ryder Report.   For 7 years he’s been reporting on PW and he’s even continued on his own when I dropped out of the picture due to a serious illness in my family.  He has the life I was hoping for!  I on the other hand find myself skiing less every year.  But I still get some powder McLovin’ when I can.  This shot is from a backcountry trip in the Kootenays last February.  We had some epic snowfall to the point where it got too dangerous to ski above tree line.

It’s true that I don’t get out the resorts nearly as often anymore and that makes it difficult to put up reports on PW.  When I do ski, I’m often too busy when I get home to write the report and I end up doing it days later (a late report isn’t that helpful because snow conditions can change so fast).  I can do simple updates on who’s getting snow or what the forecast is looking like for the weekend.  But I think the real value comes from a guy like Derek who is out there several times a week and is giving up to date reports on conditions.  Sadly, I can get busy at work and don’t even notice that Fernie or Kicking Horse had a big midweek powder event.  I stopped writing for PW because I didn’t feel like I was providing much value to my readers.  I was also overwhelmed by life’s challenges at the time.

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