STORM CYCLES DAY 5 & 6: Adventures with Greg and Glacier Adventure Guides
Our first day with Greg was an awesome adventure; a grunt of a tour up through the woods of Essex Creek, manoeuvring between and above cliffs into a zone we dubbed Waterfall Creek that was a steep gully littered with rock and pillows. Greg was showing us around and we also had along with us was a Whitefish local David Steele and a photographer from the area Craig Moore. Greg has been guiding here based in Columbia Falls for nine years, his company Glacier Adventure Guides has been around since the early 80’s. He’s got a good thing going; Columbia Falls backs right onto the impressive Glacier National Park that runs from Montana up into Canada. He has some amazing terrain right in his back yard.
Greg said he has never showed a film crew around, and I could tell he didn’t know what to expect, but he got a glimpse of what was to come right away. As we were heading up the skin track to more of a more open zone known by the locals as the Backdoor Chute, we saw more of what we were looking for which was an obvious creek in the summer but quite a unique zone with all sorts of options nicely covered in about 15 cm’s of light Montana powder. We all started getting amped as we looked up at the stuff to jump off of.
The toughest part of the day was the approach, it was quite the adventure. It was a technical skin track, I love when it’s like that; I end up being so focused on making it up that small section that I don’t think about how tough it is, or how tiering it is. After a bit of steep bush whack touring we made it on top of the zone we scoped from below. There was a bit of a crust underneath and having only had a quick glance at what we were above it was a tricky zone to work but we milked it hard, got a bunch of shots, some worked, others didn’t but we all had a blast, walking around in the woods, jumping off cliffs with only our fellow skiers to guide us over the blind take offs. Craig got some really cool still shots of us too, and who knows, sounds like his photos get published, maybe one of those will surface up in the next year or so.
Our second day was also a grand adventure, following Greg and David down an old narrow road, which was almost a tunnel, due to the Lodgepole Pines that had bent over on either side from the snowfall. We skinned up through a forest that had burned in 2002, a huge chunk of that forest was devastated, now what was left was either perfectly spaced burnt stumps that were still 30 feet tall, or super dense saplings that were three feet tall which we had to make our way through to get to where we wanted to shoot. That part was both interesting and humorous. I was stoked to ski in a “burn” and to be able to capture it on film was exciting and rewarding, the shoots are going to turn out well.
It’s been a blast working with the crew we have; everyone is super positive, easy going and just plain talented. I can’t say too much about it but we’ve had some logistical hick-ups since the beginning of the trip, times that almost seem like it might be over for all of us, but we’ve all pushed through, made adjustments and kept the stoke high. What are we going to do? Go home? Heck no, not yet we haven;t finished what we started! And it’s off to a great start; we’re creating quite the buzz with our social media.
The big story here in Montana had been Greg. I am looking at him now as he drives us in the short bus we’ve been using the past few days to get around to all the zones. The other six are fast asleep in their seats. Our train got cancelled out of Whitefish due to the cold weather. That train was taking us to our next destination, Steven’s Pass where we have two days to make a six minute webisode, which is not a lot of time. This is where Greg comes in; after putting up with our shenanigans for the last four days he’s driving us to Coeur d’Alene where we have rental car waiting. We’re going to cram six dudes with six ski bags, six duffle bags, six backpacks and multiple bags of camera gear into the Dodge Caravan so we can drive the rest of the way to Leavenworth where we have a condo booked out for the next two nights. We all agreed that Greg is a legend, and a big reason this trip is still on it’s feet.
With the way everyone is skiing and shooting, we’ll be able to make that episode no problem. Plus, it sounds like it supposed to snow a lot in Washington anyway, up to three feet! We’re hitting the storm cycles perfectly.