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Bliss and Blisters: Alpine Ski Touring at the Legendary Assiniboine Lodge

Backcountry, Assiniboine, Backcountry skiing, LodgeOctober 15, 2016 – Huffing and puffing — and uttering a few choice curse words — I slowly ascended an expanse of white, fondly recalling that about two hours ago I’d been awakened by the most charming wake-up call: “7:30 — hot water’s here.”

I had been wrapped in a fluffy duvet with the sun streaming through the snow-laced windows of my cosy log cabin. My breath mingled with the heat of the steaming water as I fetched it from the doorway, which was walled by two metres of snow. The sky was blue, the sun just peeking from behind the jagged peaks.

But what that morning greeting really meant was that I was about to begin a full day of backcountry ski touring at legendary Assiniboine Lodge. It was a first in my skiing CV.

And there I was on the side of a seemingly never-ending nob of a mountain — actually called The Nob.

One. Ski. In. Front. Of. The. Other. I kept telling myself. Still taking time to take in the majestic mountains all around me — even if I was cursing the one I was on.

I also kept reminding myself that after all this heavy-lifting, the climb was going to be a mere memory — kind of like child birth — and I’d be floating over pristine powder, through pine trees and hooting and hollering like a teenager.

Forest Service Road Closures

BLBCA_LatestNews_Sept29September 29, 2016 – It’s a difficult balance — protecting fragile alpine ecosystems versus providing road access to those areas.

The Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources has come under fire for closing access to high-elevation forest service roads both in the Kootenays and in the Sea-to-Sky corridor near Pemberton.

The ministry is closing roads to protect animals like grizzly bears, mule deer, mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

But backcountry recreation users — hunters, dirt bikers and 4-by-4 drivers — say closing those roads is a critical blow to their way of life.

Dump Sites Litter BC Backcountry

BLBCA_LatestNews_Garbage_SummerSeptember 11, 2016 – Four burned-out cars line a trail near Beaver Lake in the mountains above Kelowna.

At Long Meadow Lake in the Okanagan Highlands, hikers encounter ducks, a pair of herons and an abandoned camper.

Lac du Bois Grasslands near Kamloops is known for its sweeping vistas, marred only by the sight of a discarded hot tub in the sea of waving grass.

A Facebook page recently created by fed-up backcountry users in the B.C. Interior catalogues illegal dump sites and draws attention to what some say is a growing problem.

Member’s photos show pristine wilderness areas littered with debris — from abandoned vehicles to shotgun shells to camping equipment.

The page’s goal, says its administrator, is to educate and inspire people to help with cleanup efforts.

“I can’t find one clean logging road,” said Kane Blake, a Kelowna landscaper and avid outdoorsman. “There’s always garbage, vehicles, electronics, the list goes on and on.”

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