April 6, 2008

I’ll Get Back To You When HeliSkiing Freezes Over

Good Monday and welcome to a special edition of Sunrise Santa Cruz. On Friday I mentioned the possibility of some major snow action on the blog and today, despite the presence of major league baseball, reality TV and global warming, I am bringing you the motherlode. Today (April 7) is my youngest brother Brad’s 49th birthday. He is the President, General Manager and the head Pastry Chef at People Productions in Boulder, Colorado. So in honor of the day he popped out of our mother’s womb he is going to honor us with a guest blog. So here now is a fine young man who has been like a brother to me, Brad Gilbert, in his own words.

My name is Brad and I have a problem. I’m addicted to powder (no, not that kind). I’m a snowboarder and I can’t get enough of the white fluffy stuff otherwise known as snow. To feed my addiction, I live in Colorado and spend all winter chasing storms around the state. However, when Colorado hits a dry spell or I really need a big fix, I head north of the border to the province of British Columbia, Canada to do a little heliskiing.

British Columbia is the birthplace of heliskiing and skiers and boarders from all over the world flock their every winter for good reason. The combination of tremendous snow (typically 40-60 feet a year) falling on relatively low altitude mountains (easier for the helicopter and people’s lungs) makes for ideal heliskiing conditions. Add to that the easy access and very friendly locals and you have a powder mecca.

The first time I went to BC to heliski I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience. At the end of the first day I said take my credit card and do whatever you want with it but don’t stop flying. By the end of the trip, the once in a lifetime experience had turned into a once a year requirement. As my friend Kevin says (photo # 5) – “51 weeks of anticipation, 1 week of heaven.”

When I sent Geoffrey some photos of this year’s trip, he said whoa – looks like a guest blog. So here it is…Photo #1 is the view from the lodge out to the helipad. Those mountains lit up in the background are where we head first thing every morning. Since this year’s trip was in January the days were short but the sunrises long. So shot # 2 was actually taken mid morning. Photo #3 is your typical landing spot for the helicopter leaving you on top of a mountain with nothing but peaks and snow in every direction. The typical view from the landing zone would be shot #4 both breathtakingly beautiful and a preview of where we’ll soon be skiing. Photo #5 is what we addicts live for – that’s my friend Kevin living the dream. And shot #6 is me – flying through the air with the greatest of ease – and looking forward to that soft soft landing in the never ending pillows of snow.

So although I just skied two feet of powder this week at Vail, just looking at these pictures has me pining for BC again. Only 40 more weeks to go.

Thank you, brother. Normally I daredevil like myself would be on the next copter with Brad but turns out I’m allergic to avalanches. But wait, there’s more. Not only is today Brad’s special day but it is also the birthday of my favorite son, Jason. He is an 8th grader with a very nice crossover move who attends the #2 public high school (Pacific Collegiate) in the country. He is a tremendous son who still hasn’t beaten me one on one in basketball (although he is getting damn close-it’s humbling when your son blocks your shot) who I couldn’t be any prouder of. Well, that’s not totally true. He told me after the first day of volleyball practice that his coach will having him touching the basketball rim by the end of volleyball season. We’re hoping he’ll be the first Gilbert to dunk. That’s our Everest.

So that’s it for the Gilbert family saga for today. I hope you enjoyed these fabulous snow shots because unless you go up by copter these are views you’ll never see. Personally, I hadn’t seen this much white powder since the early 80′s but that’s another story for another time. So enjoy the Canadian peaks, tonight’s NCAA Finals Game and we’ll catch you for sunrise Wednesday. Happy birthday, boys. To quote my youngest sibling, “BCing you later.”

1 Comment »

  1. Happy birthday boys. Wishing son J the hops he needs to touch the rim, and brother B endless powder and many more heli-adventures. Enjoy your days as the author of Sunrise Santa Cruz and I do annually on 12/12.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 7, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

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