Words &pictures: Leanne Wren

I was lucky enough to win a trip through Transworld Snowboarding to Baldface Lodge in British Colombia, Canada. I had read reviews before going and most people claimed this was “A Trip of a Lifetime”; it truly was. After a flight from Denver, CO to Spokane, WA and then a 3 hour drive through the Canadian boarder we ended in Nelson, Canada. At the Nelson airport we waited for our helicopter to pick us up and bring us to the lodge. The heli landed and dropped off some real heavy hitters like Gigi Ruff, Peter Line, and Jamie Lynn, who had just gotten done with UltraNatural (a new annual event with all natural slope style features). This trip was already getting good and I hadn’t even gotten onto the helicopter yet.

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Once we arrived at the lodge we were greeted with smiles, a bowl of soup, and a beer! It was on, my trip of a lifetime had begun. That first night it snowed about 6 inches on top of the snow they had been getting all week. We met up with our guides and the 12 man crew that we would be riding with for the next few days then had a quick avalanche safety lesson. Now with avy safety fresh in our heads and beacons on our bodies we headed out for our first day. It was DUMPING on us all day. We rode tree line after tree line from 9am to 3pm. There was lots of pow slashing, high fiving, and smiles all around the whole crew. We were stoked! When we returned to the lodge once again they had a bowl of hot soup waiting for us and the bar was open for business. After a hot shower and a slide show of one of the other crew’s day out we all sat down for a massive group dinner. 2 big tables, low lights, and food fit for a king, I felt like I was in a kingdom meeting with my fellow knights after returning from an adventure. Everyone shared stories, laughed, and passed around bottles of wine. I was among strangers and somehow also among friends. We all shared such a special bond after riding in such an awesome place.
Day 2 was just… AMAZING. It had snowed almost 2 feet in the last 24 hours and the sun had come out. I could finally see all of the Selkirk Mountain Range around us. We got to ride a little higher in the mountains so we could head into the bowls and make HUGE powder turns. The Baldface photographer hung out with us that day so I was even more determined to get pow face shots. After a long day of powder turns all over the mountains, including next to the UltraNatural course, we headed back to the lodge. I requested that we stopped at the Craig Kelly memorial to pay respects to one of my snowboard idols. The massive cross was beautiful. It was high on a hill looking over the lodge and the rest of the mountains surrounding it. Not only did we get to pay our respects, we also got to ride under the cross to the lodge below. That moment was the closest thing I’ve had to a religious experience. As I looked back at my tracks underneath Craig’s cross, the moon peeked up behind the ridge. Just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. After my moment with the moon I headed back inside and got my party on! What just had happened to me was a great reason to celebrate.
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Day 3, our final day. We knew it was coming to an end. Once again the clouds had rolled in and it was snowing. Our guides must have known that we were a little bummed that we were going to leave that day so they took us to some of the most fun riding spots that we had ever been to. Saved the best for last. We rode everything from open bowls, to tree runs, to pow fields, to pillow lines, and cliff bands. The runs I took that day will stay with me forever. As we were standing on the top of our final run for the day every person in the crew went down one by one. Hoots and hollars followed each of us as we watched each other take our last run at Baldface down to the helicopter. To say this was a trip of a lifetime is an understatement. This trip was on a whole other level. Baldface, what a magical place.