Chasing Golden: A Gnu Crew Blazes Through BC

Words: Caley Vanular
Photos: Erin Hogue

What happens when you bring together an Olympic gold medalist, the North Face Freeride Tour Champion, a former TransWorld Snowboarding Rookie of the Year and an award-winning snowboard adventurer? Quite the badass trip. It all started in Calgary, AB, with everyone coming from different locations. Erin Hogue (photographer) came straight from hanging out of helicopters in Alaska and Mary [Rand] came straight from hitting handrails on the east coast. The crew joined together with one common interest, to ride powder. It was late in the year and we were rolling the dice on if we could score the good stuff or not, but we had hope and a couple potential storms were supposed to roll through.

To get to Golden, B.C. from Calgary, AB you drive west for about three hours. The drive goes through the beautiful valley of the Rocky Mountains. We pulled up to our accommodations late at night and were surprised with some seriously lush digs at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

It was all of our first trips here and we couldn't be more hyped to check out this zone. We loaded up the gondola and set out.

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Dropping in at Kicking Horse.

To our surprise we found a little hidden gem, the bike track. The track filled in with snow and created a banked slalom course from the top to the very bottom. It was like 30 minutes of banked slalom, zipping in and out of the trees. It was so much fun. We lapped this run until our legs turned into dust, and we crawled ourselves to the lodge for bacon-infused Ceasers and celebrated our epic slalom find.

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Testing the butter-ablity at Kicking Horse.

After we boarded our faces off at Kicking Horse we headed back into Golden. It’s a mountain town with a cowboy twist. Surrounded by mountain ranges, there is no shortage of backcountry lodges accessible from here. Lucky for us, Chatter Creek Lodge invited us to come cat boarding on a three-day trip. With their tenure at a higher altitude and in a different mountain range than Kicking Horse, we were hopeful to find the fluffy stuff.

We headed to the heliport, where we were picked up and swooped over the city of Golden. It was so beautiful sightseeing this area of British Columbia so high up in the sky. The mountain ranges span forever and the rivers were so bright. When we landed at Chatter Creek everyone had a smile on their face. The lodge is huge and made from trees that were cleared for their cat skiing roads. They showed us to our room and put us through the safety meeting so we would waste no time in the morning.

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Caley Vanular pokes through the pow.

In the morning we raced through breakfast and hopped in the cat headed for the good stuff. Our guide brought us to a ridge littered in features that were perfect for what we were trying to do. We spent most of our day riding powder, pillows and cliffs on the ridge and were fueled by the endless snacks provided by Chatter Creek. We did this on repeat for two days at the lodge, and after each day riding, we headed back for 'yoga by Mary', got in the hot tubs, and a had a serious feast by Chatter Creek. Too quickly our days were up and our random group of snowboarders left with an awesome appreciation for the ultimate girls trip. Till next time Golden…

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Crew at Chatter Creek

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