Video: Jumbo Hut Pow (Spencer Romanchuk)
The guys spent time in the Jumbo Valley of British Columbia in early December. Staying in the remote Jumbo Hut they explored the big mountains and deep pow that the valley supplied. With several glaciers at the head of the Jumbo valley, the area was proposed to be a mega-resort, euro style in size, but has been battled hard by many. It is a rad place in every aspect, but is First Nation territory as well as a major North American wildlife corridor; the main battles against the development of the valley and the proposed mega-resort “Jumbo Glacier”.
"Patagonia are the real drivers behind the Keep Jumbo Wild, the movie that just came out. Patagonia is a huge supporter of preserving areas like Jumbo around the world..." - Spencer Romanchuk
'For decades, First Nations, conservationists, backcountry skiers, and snowboarders have fought a proposed large-scale ski resort deep in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia. After 24 years of opposition, what more will it take to keep Jumbo wild for good?'
Check out the Norst Q&A:
D: Why Jumbo?
S: Well we usually ski off our sleds, and so lots of the zones we sled ski also get used by other snowmobilers, which is totally fine, the mountains are big enough for everyone. But yea we just wanted to get away from all of that noise and do things a bit different for this trip. There is just some type of mystique almost around the Jumbo Valley, untouched and preserved wilderness at its finest.
D: What challenges were there if any?
S: Carrying in your beer and booze. That adds some weight to your pack man. Haha. No really, that was a challenge. But probably just ski touring for days on end, hauling your gear in, earning your turns takes a toll on you for sure, and dealing my friend's terrible personalities, that is tough too. Oh, yea and the huts pack rats, watch out for pack rats.
D: How did you overcome the challenges?
S: The body definitely gets used to it after the first day, so you just gotta keep the stoke up and let the stoke drive you in a way! Don’t think about the labor of climbing, just think about the sweet pow your about to shred!
D: How long where you on the mountain for?
S: We did a three/ four-day trip in there, and we barely touched the terrain that the valley offers. You could spend years in there exploring I am pretty sure. What a massively amazing place.
D: What did you pack?
S: Besides the basic ski touring gear we also brought a glacier travel kit (harness, crampons, rope, ice axe, and some crevasse rescue gear), a good headlamp with extra batteries, dehydrated meals to decrease our carry in weight, and beer of course. I repacked a few times trying to make more room for beer. Priorities right. The beer was like gold up there, I think id pay 20 bucks for a beer in the middle of nowhere three days into a trip. Always bring the beer.
D: What was the funniest between you and the guys?
S: Probably hunting the pack rat that lives below the cabin in the wood room. That was some funny shit to watch.
D: What was the scariest moment with your pals?
S: The farts man. Three days of dehydrated meals. Haha no really, we rolled in with high avalanche warnings and we really weren’t too sure what to expect, so we worked with that for the first day or two and then the snow really set up, it ended up all time!
D: What was the most memorable moment?
S: Just the skiing in general, and walking back into the hut every evening in the dark to talk about how rad the day was with the boys. Knowing my old man had stayed in the same hut and skid the same mountains with his friends was pretty cool too. That struck home with me.
D: Did you learn anything out there?
S: Yea, earning your turns took on a whole new meaning to me, I've always enjoyed ski touring but had never really done the big multi-day ski tours. Your body just gets into this zone and I loved that! But I also really learned for myself why there is such a drive-by many to protect the Jumbo Valley. I can see both sides of the story… a big resort, cool man, but I think the preservation of places like this is more important, mainly for the animals. Maybe my kids will ski tour up the Jumbo Valley one day and get to experience it in the same way we do now…
D: What would you do differently next time?
S: Not really anything, just to spend more time exploring. Now that we know a bit more about the layout of the zone the next trip in there is just going to be crazy. It took us some time walking around in there to find the big lines and the hidden pillow fields, so now we will have a better idea of where we want to be heading the next time were in there. And bring more beer.
Keep up with Spencer on his Instagram: @SpencerRomanchuk