Record Ridge

On 26 December 2021, Zosia Zgolak and I skied partway up Record Ridge near Rossland, British Columbia.  The ridge is most easily accessed via the Seven Summits Trail, a popular but challenging mountain biking route.  Our plan for the day was to start from the trailís southern terminus and simply ski as far as time and energy would allow.  Recent heavy snowfall in the area meant that we were likely facing some strenuous trail-breaking, but there was also some uncertainty about whether we could even drive to the trailhead.

From the junction with Highway 3B at the west end of Rossland (near the visitor info centre and mining museum), drive west on Highway 22 for 400 metres and veer right onto Rossland Cascade Road (2WD gravel).  Drive 12 kilometres and park in a pullout for the trailhead on the right opposite a rough road branching off to the left.

As luck would have it, Rossland Cascade Road was freshly plowed that morning, and Zosia and I had no problems driving to the trailhead.  In fact, we actually caught up to the grader just as it finished clearing the snow at the trailhead pullout.  Unfortunately just as I had feared, the Seven Summits Trail was completely blanketed by fresh snow, and although we could still follow faint traces of old ski tracks, we would be breaking trail right from the get-go.  For the next 3.5 hours, we slowly grinded our way up the south end of Record Ridge.  Zosia did a tremendous job of breaking trail most of the time, but even following in her tracks, I was often sinking deeper into the snow.  Our route also entailed a lot of annoying undulations which would prove to be problematic later on during our ski back out.

About 1.5 kilometres from the trailhead, Zosia and I lost the trail and ended up bushwhacking a bit before getting back on track and reaching a sign prohibiting motorized vehicles.  Past this sign, we immediately dropped into a small dip and were suddenly faced with a very steep slope in front of us.  We then mistakenly traversed to the right (east) and soon found ourselves on a somewhat exposed hillside with some potential to slide.  Fortunately, the snow pack was generally stable, and we quickly climbed out of there to safer terrain on the ridge crest without incident.  We had no more serious issues in reaching a nondescript high point a little more than four kilometres from the trailhead.  Had we made better progress with a broken trail and had the weather been clearer, we might have considered pushing further and higher up the ridge, but the cold temperatures and lack of far-reaching views made it easy to call it a day and turn around.  Besides, I was tired of skinning and was itching to finally do some downhill skiing.

Our return ski was a bit of a mixed bag.  The aforementioned undulations really undermined much of the fleeting enjoyment Zosia and I got from skiing in fresh powder.  Without re-attaching skins, we spent an inordinate amount of time and effort sidestepping or post-holing up every uphill section--both big and small--on our way out.  Where we had inadvertently traversed onto avalanche-prone terrain earlier, we descended the very steep slope we had avoided on the way up.  This turned out to be more difficult than expected due to the surprisingly thin snow pack here, and we both scraped over a few hidden rocks while carefully zigzagging down the slope.  After returning to the sign prohibiting motorized vehicles, we easily cruised the remaining mostly downhill section back to the trailhead.
It's gonna be a long day...

Zosia breaks a fresh trail through the snow right from the trailhead.

I wasn't expecting much of a view anyway!

Sonny makes his way past the first of many snow-covered trees.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

I would have turned around already and gone to a pub! Zosia continues to tirelessly break trail through a winter wonderland.
Strong with the dark side of the Force this tree is! Zosia passes under a huge tree completely covered with frost and snow.
Avi danger is always a concern when backcountry skiing. Zosia climbs to safer terrain after traversing some avalanche-prone slopes.
Looks kinda like a giant skeleton! Some of the snow-plastered trees look rather eerie.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

If the trees could talk... These snow-covered trees stand over Zosia like silent sentinels.
I think I'm just about done for the day! Zosia climbs up to a high point along Record Ridge.
Good enough for today after all the trail-breaking we did! Zosia and Sonny stand atop a nondescript high point (1750 metres) somewhere along Record Ridge.
Surprisingly, there were still a few "sharks" here and there. Zosia skis down from the high point.
Embarrassingly, I did a face-plant here! Zosia cruises down a very enjoyable section of Record Ridge.
Watch for sharks on this slope! Zosia pauses briefly just before descending the steepest and most difficult section of the ridge on the ski out.
Leaves a lot to be desired as a ski tour...might be better with a mountain bike! Total Distance:  8.0 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 49 minutes
Cumulative Elevation Gain:  515 metres

GPX Data