The Pro, The Amateur & The Powder Highway

Enak Gavaggio
The pro. Nickname Dark Lord or more recently Rancho, and even Nanak, Hey! Nak!, Nanouchka or Gavaggiouille as christened by Quentin. Ski cross racer and freeride legend. Lives in Les Arcs, France.

Quentin Chopard Lallier
The amateur. Nickname TicTic or Balourd. 21-year-old student studying for a degree in microprocessing. Ski nut and winner of the 2014 Julbo White Session. Lives in Besançon, France.

WhiteSession_Canada_2014_©www.jeremy-bernard.com-4731
Nanak (L) and TicTic ready to drive the Highway. Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

It’s an understatement to say that BC’s Powder Highway is one of the world’s freeride and backcountry meccas. All the way along this iconic route, evocative names such as RevelstokeWhitewater, Kicking Horse and Golden welcome ski bums from all over the world to their virgin slopes. And with 15 metres of snow every year, they’ve got plenty of it to go ’round.

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Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca
Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

Just imagine you’re in Besançon, France. A while ago you posted an off-the-wall video for a competition inviting the winner to go riding in Canada with Enak Gavaggio in person. And you wait and wait and wait some more. But unlike the other entrants, you’re the chosen one! And it’s you who’s off for an insane week on the Powder Highway! So you can imagine TicTic (his official nickname for the last 11 years) jumping, jumping and jumping for joy… all the way to Calgary airport.

Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca
Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

Once in Canada, the wild team take possession of their flagship, a superb motorhome with a number plate that says: LET’S GO! And they’re off on an 800 km road and ride trip on the Powder Highway. Golden, Kicking Horse, Rogers Pass, Revelstoke, the ghost town of Sandon, Nelson, and Calgary to finish. From “craziness to insanity” is how Quentin describes it.

WhiteSession_Canada_2014_©www.jeremy-bernard.com-0047
Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

Not long after his arrival in Canada, Quentin discovers the country’s philosophy of skiing. Here, it goes like this: you walk to get to the areas that are “open”, in other words marked but not groomed, with a ski patrol hut at the start. Obviously, the further you walk, the less skied it is. And it’s best not to venture onto prohibited areas as the consequences are immediate: withdrawal of your ski pass! And anyway, there’s already so much to do in the open areas that there’s no need to break the rules.

Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca
Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

Some of the best spots of the week were T4 and T5 (T as in Terminator!) at Revelstoke. Practically unmarked slopes, each higher than the next, that are really worth the hour’s walk in. Our comrades also adored North Bowl where very little walking was required for lots of superfast couloirs.

Quentin has a head full of great memories: the ribs, the headache from leaving the gas on for a whole day in the motorhome, his bare butt in the cool air of the forest at sunrise, the pine trees that he sometimes struggled to avoid, the ribs, the games of pool, the axe throwing, the ski sessions with Enak, their R&R time and the great laughs, the ribs, and yet more ribs!

Kicking Horse. Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca
Kicking Horse. Photo ©jeremy-bernard.com/courtesy Julbo-canada.ca

Reblogged from Julbo Canada.

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