Outdoor Research- Sidecountry Sessions Episode 4 Whitewater BC

Link to VIDEO on Teton Gravity

Words by Molly Baker

When you find a place that’s good, stay there. The ski dream tells you that traveling from snowy destination to winter wonderland is the guaranteed way to find powder. Yes, you may see the world of ski areas and communities. Just make sure you’re there long enough to enjoy a few storm cycles. Once you’re out of the pattern it becomes more and more effortless to miss this storm or that one. For the tiny house and crew, driving away from Whitewater before a 70-centimeter cycle was our pattern mistake.

We may have not skied the best day in five years at Whitewater, but we did meet all the folks who would once we left. One of those folks was local patroller, Orry Grant, otherwise known as OG. A blonde hair, blue-eyed, hiking-machine, and unassuming bad-ass, Mr. Grant is without a doubt skiing powder at this very moment, regardless of what moment you are reading this. As a patroller and member of the avalanche control crew for Kootenay Pass, the Nelson native breathes ski-lifer.

Orry Grant embodies Kootenay mountain culture being born in Nelson, living in Revelstoke for years, and knowing the nooks and crannies of the best ski zones in the Koots. Coincidentally, one of our first impressions of the OG was in Kootenay Mountain Culture, a beautifully designed magazine that pays homage to the people, places, and centimeters that make BC a skier’s heaven. The Kootenays are a blessed place. For people like Orry Grant, that place is home.

Choosing Orry was really just another gift for the tiny house crew. We missed the major, epic storm, but we got to feel like we were helping make things happen for the Whitewater local. With a recent G3 sponsorship and a spot on the ambassador program for OR, Orry’s life just became that much more entrenched in the world of skiing. And for that, the skiing community should feel grateful.

A smile goes a long way. Orry’s kind demeanor and smiles (plus his assistance as a patroller) will undoubtedly keep many people out there skiing. It will definitely bring us back to Whitewater. That and the hopes of hitting the storm we missed.

Outdoor Research- Sidecountry Sessions Episode 3- Nelson BC

With no snow in the lower 48, Zack, Molly and I had no choice but to tug the tiny house north of the border to one of my favorite places on earth, Nelson British Columbia. The minute we arrived i knew we were in for a good trip.
The snowbanks were stacked high and there were fresh cm's on the road up to Whitewater Resort.
Check out the video!

Link to VIDEO on Teton Gravity

-Words by Molly Baker-
Whitewater is a mythical place for an American skier. Not too distant, but yet so far out of reach. As we drove north, I heard the boys talking of finding a Canadian girl to marry. There’s that option and then there’s ex-pat status. How does an American stay in Canada, land of epic powder for the winter? Or even a lifetime?

As we drove further north, our question went from how we could stay in BC to how we were getting into the country. With a house on wheels and amounts of ski gear that could outfit the entire town of Nelson, our odds seemed low. The border patrol was sure to find something wrong with our situation. But without even a mention of Ullr and his presence in the lower 48, we went north to the border anyways. It would be worth trying and getting turned around.
At least we’d have tried.

We negotiated the border an hour before the crossing in rural eastern Washington closed, hoping the officer wouldn’t want to bother with questioning at the end of his shift. Of course, they pulled us out of our trusty old truck, Rusty Deluxe, and asked us to step inside while they inspected the tiny house and our bags of gear. The two solemn, but friendly (dare I say friendly? Canadians, it’s a stereotype to be proud of…) gentlemen threw our names in a Google search, watched the Sidecountry Sessions videos, laughed and treasured the spectacle of the tiny house, and sent us through to the land of “Neldor”.

Nelson, British Columbia serves up a fruitful combination of new age yoga/hippy culture, fresh prideful food, and Canadian quaintness. The Outer Clove, Baba’s, Oso Negro Coffee, and the two natural grocers in town could feed our crew for a lifetime without dispute. A vanilla chai from the town’s hobbit hole eatery, a.k.a. The Preserved Seed, could satiate our palette after every shred day. Life is easy in a ski town like Nelson. No desire goes unsatisfied.

More importantly than the food, is what quenched our skiing appetite. According to one local gent, “Whitewater gets more fresh centimeters than any resort in BC, eh?” Although this particular winter has been drier than last year’s strong La Nina, centimeters of fresh were common. The skies didn’t clear for our first week in the Whitewater parking lot. Every morning we peered out hoping to see Ymir Peak from the tiny house, but a low ceiling of clouds obscured any such view. We stuck to the trees and enjoyed the BC powder.

Our original schemes of staying in Canada for as long as possible panned out in an inevitable issue with Rusty D. After parking the tiny house in the first row at the ski area, we drove Rusty into Nelson, only to have the 1991 brown Ford catch on fire. Two extinguishers later, plus an appearance by the local fire department and police squad, and Rusty was totaled. We learned we weren’t just “stuck” to the trees.
We also happened to be stranded in Canada, just fifty feet from the lift at Whitewater.

This kind of occurrence had happened once already in Silverton—a tiny house near epic skiing, with no vehicle to tow it away. Luckily, this time we’d fallen down the rabbit hole to Whitewater, a wonderland of sidecountry lines and charming characters—people who smile from ear to ear, yelp, and scream to their friends to come check out the little cabin on wheels.

The tiny house has made it home.

Looking up to Ymir peak from the parking lot as it takes in the last light of the day. Our tracks exiting the cuba chute on the left. Hope to make it back to wh20 to hit that face!

Pray for Powder and pick up a pair of OR mitts on the link below!

Outdoor Research- Sidecountry Sessions Episode 2

Link to VIDEO on Teton Gravity

Epic trip to the San Juans! Thanks for having us Silverton!

Words by Molly Baker
Silverton, Colorado is exactly the kind of place you want to spend the Yuletide season. Especially if you are a group of five ski bums living within 112 square feet—no shower and ski gear avalanching from every nook of space. The locals are blushingly generous, the streets caked white with snow, and the surrounding mountains a gift unlike anything that comes wrapped in waxy paper covered with Santas.

“People tour for miles and miles to get views like this,” said new friend and Silverton local Steve Mead.
“Here in Silverton we get to walk to the grocery store with these sights.”

Surrounded by peaks like The Grand Turk, at 13,160 feet, and Sultan Mountain, at 13, 368 feet, mountains towering thousands of feet above the town are the standard canvas. It’s precisely the kind of wall art we needed for the tiny house.
Looking out of any of the teensy windows, snow-covered goliaths fill every inch of glass.

Two weeks ago the Outdoor Research crew graced the San Juan Mountain town of Silverton and parked the tiny house at a secluded 9,138 feet after an intense drive over southern Colorado’s Molas Pass (intensified by a melted accelerator cable in a truck pulling a 5,000 pound trailer/house on wheels). The winding, icy mountain road ended abruptly in Silverton. Our planned five-day trip turned into over 14. At this point, we still don’t know our departure date. But, it has become apparent, there are worse places to get beached.

Built in the late 1800s, Silverton never experienced a devastating fire like many mining towns in the West during that time. Many of the original buildings in the town are still standing (along with the secret underground tunnels from Main Street to the original Red Light District). There are two streets in the “business” district: Main and Blair Street. These days there isn’t much taking place. But, during the town’s glory days, Blair Street was the home to over 40 saloons and brothels. Today only a few shops are open. Blair is where the tiny house has lived for the past two weeks, just down from the town’s hostel and the Avalanche CafĂ©.

With a year-round population of 500, the mornings are quiet albeit the occasional snow machine or dog sled drive by. Waiting for the sun to turn up the valley furnace, we’ve woken up to many negative temperature days. But the tiny house has been toasty.

A few days up at Silverton Mountain and even more out in the San Juan backcountry, we’ve found rocks, the deepest facets we’ve ever skied, and challenging avalanche conditions with no patience for skier complacency. Every line feels like your running from the bank with bags of money only to evade the cops by chance. Maybe it’s just because we hail from places like Washington and Utah, but the snowpack makes you feel like you are getting away with something everyday.

Eventually we are going to need to escape Silverton, although being on a first name basis with the owners of the cafes, the guides at the mountain, and the ripping mountain folk that thrive in this place, is going to make that a difficult move. All we need is a biblical storm to hit Jackson, Tahoe, SLC, Whistler—somewhere. At this point it’s the Jet Stream, or the mechanic’s decision, if the tiny house ever leaves the San Juans.

Support my adventures and pick up some OR gear on the link below!