White Queen alder tamed
White Queen is a go to backcountry ski route just outside the boundary of Whitewater Ski Resort here in Nelson. For the last half decade or more the lowere section of White Queen has been un-skiable until a settled base of at least two plus metres had fallen. This meant that it was typically February or later until one could enjoy her 2000' sustained fall line descent. Last season however the story was even more grim. White Queen was not skiable all season,… sure the top 3/4 held great turns but it was the last 1/4 when you hit the alder fields that made passage a 'no go'. Trying to ski into the woods was no alternative either as the downed trees, stumps and holes made things über dangerous.
With rumours of another less than average snow year, we decided that something had to be done to ensure White Queen was navigable top to bottom this winter. Over the course of the past two weekends a crew of three of us armed with chainsaws and hand saws set out to cut an exit line through the alders on the lower flank of White Queen. This proved to be more work than anticipated since the alder had grown to over 12 feet tall and covered the entire lower face. After many hours and considerable hard work we'd cut a line 20' wide from the cross country trail to the boulder field which covered a distance of about 400-500 vertical feet. While this won't provide any epic turns in its own right it will provide an exit after skiing the top 3/4 and require only about a metre or more of base to make things skiable.
On your next drive up to the ski hill have a look at the bottom of White Queen and you'll see what I mean, then get out there and enjoy the fruits of our labour.
This is how things looked before we got started.
And after the first day the job was ony half done.
The complete line from the cross country trails up to the boulder field.
A person at 6'1″ is dwarfed by the alder that would require more snow than we now get in a season to cover them.
Slow going on day one.
A look up the new line to the boulder field.