Coldsmoke Wrap-Up 2009
Wasn't that a party eh… The 3rd annual Coldsmoke Powder festival was again a huge success. Backcountry skiers flocked from all over North America and even Europe to convene in Nelson for this glisse pilgrimage of sorts. Fresh snow was limited but attendees came to soak up the sun and ski off-piste in shin deep powder dusted with surface hoar. The kaleidoscope of events, celebrations, comps, and clinics offered something for everyone.
Friday night's Coldsmoke Opener featured a breadth of great films. Some local and others from the far reaches. The Grasshopper featuring Nick Devore's fluid and powerful tele skiing started the films off. Then Timmy O'Neil told us the story of a comedic group reaching to climb and ski the highest summit of Morocco in the film Across the Atlas. Greg Hill was on hand to intro his film called The Unbearable Lightness of Skiing which profiled Greg and his gang of Revelstokians marauding the slopes of the Selkirks. The intermission did not let the attendees' drop their guard, for many got up on stage to compete in the National Anthems singing comp, and the Kootenay Break dancing comp. The last films shown were Daily Strips, a comic book look at life in the extremes of Chamonix. Lastly, Let it Ride, an amazing and inspirational biography of the late Craig Kelly was shown.
Saturday was chock o' block full of activities. Nils Larsen worked tirelessly to get a wealth of great instructors together to share the psych of backcountry skiing. Clinics on all things backcountry skiing and riding started Saturday. The ROAM Randonee Rally started to the rousing sounds of the bagpipes. The guns went off and rec. and open racers thread their way through the labyrinth of summits, chutes and passes, to travel approximately 5000 feet in the race division and 3000 feet in the recreational division. This year's winners were Benedict Boehm of Germany took the men's title with a time of 1:14:13, and Julie Matteau of Revelstoke took the women's race.
The afternoon featured the Valhalla Pure Powderkeg Booter. With the preserved Powderkeg stash, roped off, and saved by Whitewater's staff for the Booter. Skiers and riders lined up to dazzle with new moves and vaults from the cliffs and pillows that dot the Powderkeg. Riders young and old ripped up the slopes and inspired us all. Backcountry Access returned to host the beacon olympics again which got people out in the beacon basin, racing against the clock in the mock avalanche beacon rescue scenario. Recco sponsored Saturday nights Happy Hour and awards and paid for a round of Nelson Brewing Company beer for all the participants.
The sun set and festival go-ers descended back into town to Mary's Hall at Selkirk College for the Coldsmoke Buff-eh and Cold Shot Foto Face-off. Oh Man…the Buff-eh was above and beyond. The students from Selkirk College had a pig roast, salmon, oysters, crab legs, a gazillion different salads and a canyon of deserts. It felt like ancient Rome in there. Once the amazing food was devoured, the foto face-off began. A dream team of western Canadian photographers were invited to shoot during a 4 day window prior to the festival, to secure enough images for a 5-8 minute slide show. Photographers invited were Steve Ogle, Kari Medig, Jordan Manley, Niculas Teichrob and Lucas Jemieff. They inspired and aspired putting on an incredible show of unique and fun images.
In the end the judges deliberated and the winners were announced. Jordan Manley flexed his photographic muscles and won his fourth straight photo comp. His perception and ability to capture these people, places and stunts is unrivaled and his Kootenay travelogue took people to the far reaches of the area and showed it in a different light. Kari Medig took second. His portraits were the highlight, with his gritty subjects and backdrops. Then Steve Ogle tied off third place featuring a mix of hockey and skiing. As Steve put it, these are "the things I love". All in all the shows were amazing and the festivities were incredible. Naheed Henderson from G3 was also on hand to award the Ski Graphix Award to Nathan Waak of California for his great ski graphic design. Naheed passed on a pair of custom skis made special for him with the graphic.
Despite the late night before, folks rallied in at Whitewater for Sundays events. The SCARPA Poker Run participants darted off at 10:00 a.m. This event sees participants team up in twos and they embark on a five stage ski tour and collect cards at these stages. The best 5 card poker hand wins. The Gericks Banked Slalom was next and Whitewater spared no resources to put together a challenging course of berms and jumps that pushed people through the gauntlet of snow for a shot at Whitewater racing glory. Sunnto bought the round of beer for Sunday night, and folks happily celebrated another great Festival.
One final note on the famed King and Queen of the Kootenay's contest. These awards went to the top finishers in all the competition events at Coldsmoke. The Official Queen of the Kootenays is Brigitte O'Mally, and the official King is Scott Jeffery. What a tough comp! Both the men and the women battled hard at all events for these prestigious titles. The women's event was so hard to predict. There were 2 competitors, Jaimee Beaupre and Brigitte O'Mally, and they were very evenly matched. Jaimee Beaupre started with the lead by winning the Rec Division ROAM Rally by 14 seconds over O'Mally. Then in the Valhalla Pure Powderkeg Booter, O'mally took the win with 155.9 points over Beaupre's 89 points. Beaupre came back to win the overall Poker Run hand showing her prowess at the chance event delivering a 2 pair hand, with 10's and Aces. O'Mally placed 4th overall in the Scarpa Poker Run. In the end O'Mally, with her solid skiing expertise, easily took the Gericks Banked Slalom with a time of 48.02 seconds over Beaupre's 55.08 second run.
Because of the flip flop nature of this comp we awarded points for each event. Whoever won the event was given 100 points and then the runners up would get points based on where they ended up in the results in comparison to all the other competitors in the event. Brigitte won by a narrow margin in the hotly contested comp. The men's was a tad easier to decide with two front runners appearing early in the event. Andrew Mcnabb seized the win of the King participants with a 4th overall place in the ROAM Rally. Then Scott Jeffery of Nelson took 1st of the Kings in the next three events consecutively, in the Valhalla Pure Outfitter Powderkeg Booter, the Scarpa Poker Run and the Gericks Banked Slalom. Andrew was always a close 2nd or 3rd in each of the other events. Great job to all the competitors in the King and Queen comps. It was really fun to watch it all go down. Thanks to Charles Arnold for the great idea that gave way to such and event and thanks to all the event organizers for putting on such great comps.
We had a fantastic time putting this event together this year. Thanks to all who joined us this year. The vibe was great and all had fun. Very special thanks to Laura Fergusson at ARC'TERYX, Anne Pigeon, Robyn Mitz, Kirk Jensen and Brian Cusack from Whitewater, to Phil Bridgers from Mountain Gear, and Peter Moynes/ Mitchell Scott of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine for all their hard work in putting together a great event.
Lastly a huge thanks to our Sponsors. We could not have pulled this off without them.
- Black Diamond
- Gericks Cycle and Sports
- ROAM Shop
- Valhalla Pure Outfitters
- White Grizzly Adventures- giving away a Cat-ski trip for two-at the end
- Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine
- Nelson Daily News / Weekender
- Off-Piste Magazine
- POWDER Magazine
- Backcountry Access
- Dancing Bear Inn
- Nelson Brewing Company