Once again it was OAKLEY Week in Whistler and we were invited to tag along for some Heli boarding and a one-day touring clinic.
The Heli day was all-time. The rider list from Oakley is made up of some of the top snowboarders in the world. In the lineup was Rusty Ockenden, Charles Reid, Craig McMorris, Tyler Nicholson, Sean Pettit (the pro skier rode his snowboard all day), and very recent Olympic gold medalists Jamie Anderson and Sebastien Toutant. We all took off from Whistler and touched down in the Mt. Currie area close to Pemberton, BC in only about 5 minutes.
As we landed the last of the clouds parted ways and it was game-on. The snow was better than expected, and so was the weather. The speed of the pickups and drop-offs was amazing. This was hands down the most high-quality alpine runs I’ve ever ridden in one day. Even living here, you get to ride one or two of those top lines like that in a whole day on the resort, or maybe a couple more with snowmobile access, but these were completely effortless and we did close to ten dream laps in a few hours. I see now why dedicated boarders spend so much money on their Heli budgets. It’s difficult to sum up how amazing it was. I just hope everyone gets to experience that at least once in a lifetime.
Tyler Nicholson, Sean Pettit, Charles Reid and Seb Toutant having the... Best. Time. Ever.
Sean Pettit, blowing smoke with the snowboarders.
Olympic Big Air gold medals are nice. Blank canvas' of powder? Even better.
Seb Toutant and Charles Reid, real snowboarders that happen to be Olympians as well.
Pettit on the tri-pod press.
Fresh off the mic. Craig McMorris gets to do what he loves to talk about.
Touring the following day is definitely something that most snowboarders can get into any day without breaking the bank. And you should, at least once. Here's where you earn every turn by hiking into your desired terrain on a splitboard. Essentially a splitboard is a snowboard that turns in to two skis that you can attach skins (a grippy carpet-type layer) to and hike a lot easier through the backcountry. It’s easier, but still a lot of work. It was the Rusty and Charles show with Caley Vanular and myself following suit. Although a super fun experience, we got very little riding done and had to turn back due to weather coming in and time running out.
All in for Oakley Week Whistler.
Rusty Ockenden, Charles Reid and Caley Vanular. One foot in front of the other.
Step by step.
Overall, these two days were very different, but still both insanely fun and very educational. If the opportunity presents itself again to go Heli boarding I knowingly will probably drop almost anything to do so, and I’ve gained more respect for people that self-propel themselves touring in the backcountry. And touring? Honestly, I have to say that I love letting the chairlifts do the hard work for most of my boarding, but I would be into exploring new zones with a split board.
Huge thanks again to everyone at OAKLEY for making this week in Whistler an experience we won't forget. – [o] Rob Lemay
Rusty Ockenden, earning turns.
Jamie Anderson, stepping off the podium reap the rewards of snowboarding.