Last year Ben started telling me about this place where he can actually snowboard near his little logging camp, called Mount Cain. As he described it, it's like if you were to pick up Falcon Ridge (my little family run ski hill here in Manitoba) and plunk it up in the mountains. Well this winter I made it down to experience the splendor, and turns out, it's true! Well mostly. It's more like Falcon Ridge is Cain's more awkward little sister, blessed with much less of the natural graces of her sibling, but makes up for it with a good attitude, an appetite for good times, a quirky sense of humor and a little creativity.
With Mount Cain, you indeed get that incredible throw-back après ski vibey community run feel. The lift tickets are cheap, the lodge and basecamp village (there's even a little trailer park at the bottom of the lifts) is cozy and authentic, and the perfect amount janky. Everyone chips in and takes responsibility for this place they love, and it's full of a bunch of beautiful weirdos. Everyone knows each other and are a part of the community that is mount cain. It's wacky and full of characters and a community place. That is what makes it beautifully reminiscent of Falcon Ridge. Oh and it's all just comprised of two t-bars (loooooooong t-bars).
Where it certainly is not similar to an inherently ironic ski hill in Manitoba is the fucking amazing mountain elevation, terrain, and snow. I absolutely loved what those t-bars gave you access to. A beautiful mountain of so much snow and ungroomed tree runs. And great backcountry access.
So, yeah. I really fell in love. And was incredibly fortunate for the opportunity to get to know some of the sweet folks who make up the Mount Cain community, and to spend a couple of nights at Nahum's beautiful schoolbus-turned-palace in the trailer park. I even competed in the annual "Blueberry Jam" boarder cross, and came second in the Women's category (results were somewhat compromised by a mid-competition t-bar breakdown that eliminated half the competition).
Here are some photos I took when I was there. I didn't really bother taking my camera up the mountain because I was so preoccupied with shredding all that sweet mountain terrain, but I took a bunch of pics of the trailer park, Nahum's place and good times in the main lodge. And then a few months later I came back again, and took more photos (scroll even further down if you still have an appetite for it, and I'll write a bit about that adventure too).
CAIN » PART II
So to recap thus far, Emily hears about the legend that is Mount Cain, Emily flies to Van Island in March to experience the legend, Emily wins second place in the Blueberry Jam and then Emily flies home to Manitoba to finish of the flatland ski season. Ok, I'll talk in first person again.
Upon my return, everyone back home had to suffer through me comparing everything at our hill to Mount Cain, "Mount Cain this, Mount Cain that, blah blah blah in Mount Cain they do this, in Mount Cain they ride the t-bar like this". We finished off a sweet Falcon Ridge ski season, took down the t's , took down the rope tow ropes, sprayed the rental shop boots and had just enough time to rip out west to catch the last of the mountain season. With a crew of 17 Falcon Ridge staff we toured through Fernie and Whitewater (where we hit their closing day which featured 40 cms of fresh overnight snow), lived it up at the Hotel Ymir and then I was able to convince a small group of liftees and rental shop babes to follow me all the way back up the Island to hit closing day at Cain (Alfie the camper van is still recovering from this mighty trek). And Ben even took the weekend off from logging to come shred it with us <3.
I couldn't have asked for a better closer to a real magical ski season. And I'm thankful for the beautiful people I had to experience it with. The snow was soft and sloopy and came down all day big wet flakes. We had the mountain to ourselves. So much fun. We rounded up the day with beers in the trailer park, a fun session on Nahum's new Bull Mountain Pow Thrashers, followed by a damn good dance party in the lodge with DJ SKIAN (Oouf that was good).