One van, two men and 40 ski hills.
Sounds like a recipe for one incredible ski season road trip and a few great videos along the way.
Two best friends, Oliver Berger and Morgan Day, long time employees of Mt. Timothy Ski Hill in Lac La Hache, B.C., decided to pack up their 1970’s Chevy van with their snowboard and ski gear and attempt to hit every ski hill in B.C. in one season.
Now, with 40 ski hills across this massive province, the pair had their sights set on a fairly epic feat, especially given the one of them needed to be back at work sometime in March, meaning the pair won’t be able to keep going through the late season.
But on Feb. 22 they arrived in Fort St. James, in order to hit up Murray Ridge Ski area – hill number 28 on their epic journey.
“It’s always been on Ollie’s bucket list to ride all the hills in B.C. and it’s really been something I’ve wanted to accomplish as well,” said Sullivan. “It was perfect timing for both of us being able to take some time away from work for the winter and we were like ‘why not try and ride them all in one season?’”
So they resurrected the van Berger had bought years ago with friends, a vintage blue Chevy van with a bed in the back and room underneath for snowboard gear.
They had to dig it out of a snowbank, and weren’t sure just how far it would make it, but they prepped it well, flushing the fluids and checking all the breaks and tires before setting out.
The van, named Bluebird in honour of every skier and boarder’s term for a blue sky day sun-filled day on the snow, has already taken the two over 7,000 km down through the Kootenays through the northwest and back.
Already having covered most of the northern hills, with only Purden Mountain to go, the two rested up to hit the Ridge on Sunday, Feb. 23, with yours truly as a local guide.
It was a chilly start to the day, with an early-morning hockey game to start things off, then a follow-up nap before the riding.
When we made it up to the hill, the sun was shining and it was warmer up at the hill than it had been down in town, and we got to work right away.
Riding all day, with one stop to eat a late lunch in the lodge, the two rode some great Murray Ridge terrain,, and seemed to enjoy themselves, though Berger did crash and hurt his shoulder before lunch.
In true Ridge style, while there had not been fresh snow for many days, there was still some great tracks to be found, and we did the walk out along the ridge to some perfect fresh tracks.
The two left with smiles on their faces, heading for one night in WIlliams Lake (their home) before leaving for Vancouver to knock the north shore mountains off the list.
Day said the trip has opened up his eyes to traveling and they have had some great encounters along the way.
“(It’s been) an unbelievable experience so far being able to do an adventure like this with one of your best friends,” he said.
Heading south, Day seemed optimistic.
“We should be able to get the final 10 without too much problem,” said Day. “If any get missed this year I see it being the island.”
The biggest challenge for the two has been the temperature in the van, which can be a bit cool during winter drives, due to drafts from the aging seals.
But they braved the cold temperatures (-20 C that evening) to head south after a day at Murray Ridge, to get one night at home in Williams Lake before hitting the road once again.
Check out Shred the Nar on Facebook, where they post videos from the many ski hills they visit along the way, from Hudson’s Hope’s tiny rope tow to Red Mountain in Rossland, B.C.
Postcript: Unfortunately, due to the shoulder ligament injury Berger sustained at Murray Ridge, he did end up having to take a week off of riding, so Day had to head to the coastal mountains with another friend of theirs, but he expected to be back on the board the following week.