Going Where the Crowds Don't Go: Wolverine Ridge

I’m on a quest this year. A quest to stop going to the same old places and instead explore areas I haven’t been before. This Saturday we headed out to Wolverine Ridge - an area remote enough that it doesn’t even show up Doug’s map, but close enough to the highway to make for totally reasonable day.

Nearby Christiana Trees is one of my favourite places to spend a mellow day in Rogers Pass. It’s far enough from the Bostock Parking that you generally only have one or two other parties in the area and big enough that you can avoid getting in each others’ hair. Every time that I’ve skied Christiana Trees, I’ve looked across the drainage at Wolverine Ridge and thought to myself that given that the whole area looks like such perfectly gladed trees that you’d be excused for thinking it was a ski resort over there.

Touring across a bench on Wolverine Ridge

Saturday morning Christine, Kyle, Skyler, and I found ourselves sharing Rogers Pass with Splitfest so we wanted to head to an area that would be truly awful for a splitboarder to get to in an effort to escape the crowds. Finally wandering back to Wolverine Ridge to go explore seemed like it would fit that bill pretty perfectly.

To get there, we started in the Bostock Parking lot and then toured up the drainage just like we would for Christiana. The difference is that we blew right past Christiana and kept on going. To get to the bottom of the good skiing was just over a 5km tour with about 400m of elevation gain. Without pushing terribly hard it took us about 2 hours. The whole way we were following the summer trail so the going is nice and quick.

Higher up the trees were completely encased in rime

Once near the bottom the ridge and at an elevation of about 1400m, we started climbing in earnest. Touring up through the trees it was immediately apparent that this was going to be great skiing. The angle was mellower than I’d expected based on the rest of the drainage but steep enough to be good if not thrilling skiing. Think blue run at a ski resort.

Skyler hamming up a turn through the somewhat wind blasted upper slopes of wolverine ridge

We toured right up to the top of the ridge reaching just shy of 2300m. For those of you doing math at home, that put us 900m above the drainage and a full 1300m above the parking lot setting us up for a great run back down. We’d had a late start and early January comes with short days so we only had time for a single run, but with a less than two hour approach I could definitely see us heading back and doing a couple of top to bottom laps giving us a 2000+m day.

Skiing back down we started right at the very top of treeline. In fact it was more alpine than anything. A strong temperature inversion gave us a layer of clouds down in the valley but blazing sunshine and above zero temperatures at our elevation so we were treated some incredible spring skiing style conditions. Deep pow will always be my favourite, but this was way too good complain. We ripped down into progressively denser trees slowly making our way into the drainage.

Kyle, Skyler, and Christine ski across a bench on Wolverine Ridge in Rogers Pass

The trees are perfectly spaced for skiing (actually, I like stupid tight trees and would call these too open, but I think a lot of people would call them perfect) - it was sort of tree-line spacing (which comes with tree-line avalanche hazard) and there were no awkwardly tight sections to navigate between patches of rad. Wolverine Ridge was high speed, super fun skiing top to bottom.

Once we’d skied into the drainage we hooked back onto the summer trail we’d followed on the way in. We had to put on skins for a few hundred metres, but after that we ripped skins and then cruised out a nice and fast bobsled run to the car. With better line selection I think we could have avoided any use of skins at all. The ski out - even with having to transition twice and skin a short distance - took us only 40 minutes so regardless, it was a fast exit.

Kyle charging through one of the wide open patches on Wolverine Ridge

Rogers Pass has tons of shit your pants scary lines. Wolverine Ridge wasn’t one of those. What it was was just straight up enjoyable skiing without another party in sight despite it being a super busy weekend.

Grumpy, cantankerous, wildly opinionated and so much more! Getting really tired on skis is what makes me happy.