MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Winter 2019

WINTER 2019 ML BLUE 79 THE SEARCH FOR ONTAR IO’ S DEEPEST & STEEPEST BACKCOUNTRY SK I ING BACK COUNTRY ALGOMA BOUND words & photos :: Colin Field As we clamber up the last few metres, I turn around to see Mark O’Grady below me. We’re both struggling around switchbacks that are steep and tight. One wrong move sends us crumpling into the waist-deep powder where getting back on our feet is an energy-sucking debacle. Way off in the distance I see Lake Superior. Getting here has been a serious mission. We were towed behind a snowmobile (on an ancient rig that eventually broke down) for ten kilometres, then broke trail up nearly 700 feet. This was a place Bellevue Valley Lodge owner Enn Poldmaa had been telling me about for years: an Ontario couloir. I didn’t really believe any Ontario couloirs existed, but Enn’s hype lived up to what we’ve found. We’re surrounded by frozen waterfalls and 40-foot-high cliffs on three sides. But it’s the view back down that we’ve come for. Not the glimpse of Lake Superior, nor the rolling hills of Algoma District that stretch out into the distance. We came for the view right below our feet: a 400-foot vertical rock slide, clear of trees and obstacles. And it’s covered in chest deep, blower dry powder. In other words, it’s everything we could have possibly dreamt of. Juliet Tanas finding the steep and the deep at Bellevue Valley Lodge.