In mid-January, a group from Armada Skis, including Riley Leboe, Ian Provo and Dania Assaly, went to BC's Retallack Catskiing and produced the video below. Having ski media and pro athletes coming from far and wide to shoot and ski is practically part of the daily routine for Retallack. When I visited in January, I happened to hit a lull in between the Sherpas filming for their upcoming release All.I.Can and Tanner Hall's arrival.
It's no wonder this remote catskiing lodge -- located in the Selkirk Mountains on a lonely BC highway a couple of hours from the town of Nelson -- is a magnet for ski industry VIPs. It's partly owned by two of the biggest names in freeskiing. In September 2007, Tanner Hall and Seth Morrison became investors in Retallack and since then, they've both spent quite a bit of time there.
Retallack's lodge -- an 11-bedroom structure with a bar, a sauna and a hot tub -- is built on a former mining site where 7,000 or so people used to mine for gold, lead and zinc. "Without mining we wouldn't be here, but now we mine powder," said Chris MacNamara, one of Retallack's owners, as he showed me a collection of rocks containing ore, a map of the former town's zoning, and some photos. In one of the photos, a miner named Walter sits in an ore cart, between rounds of going more than a mile into the earth to carry out ore. Walter currently works at the catskiing lodge, and is always smiling. Not surprisingly, Walter says he likes his new job better.
Nowadays, the place is known for its steep terrain and fluffy pillow lines. The cat will take you up incredibly steep ridges, with massive drop offs on either side, and deliver you to the top of huge bowls, steep trees and seemingly bottomless snow (they recently got 20 inches in 24 hours).
No wonder all the pros go there.