Where: Vancouver Island, two hours north of Campbell River.
Why: Ski right into the backcountry, explore all day.
Suggested ski: Black Diamond Route 105
Mount Cain is located a mile above the ocean on an island in the Pacific, so it’s no wonder that in a good winter the ski area sits near the top of the deepest snowpacks in Canada. Use the funky community hill’s two T-bars to access backcountry touring literally right under the rope. From the boundary, hike to chutes, bowls, tree lines and ridges that empty into even more options.
by RYAN STUART in December 2017 issue
Black Diamond Route 105
BEST FOR: Powder laps * LENGTHS: 165, 175, 185 * RADIUS: 21@175 * SIDECUT: 132-105-119 * $799
Like most of us, the Route 105 wanted to go high and rip knee-deep powder in wide-open terrain. Testers found it performed best when unleashed, compared to restrained in tight confines like couloirs and bushy trees. “It’s not the most reactive ski, but it held up well popping off little pillows and floating smoothly in a few centimetres of fresh,” wrote Caitlin Burge, after trying the ski at Whitewater during the Coldsmoke Festival. “A good all-round tourer.” Black Diamond calls the Route 105 a workhorse that’s built to last for hundreds of days. Made in Austria, it forgoes the lightweight carbon in most touring skis for tougher and less expensive fibreglass. The rockered tip and tail meet at a traditional camber underfoot for versatile performance in all types of snow. Paul Karchut would have liked a little more rocker in the tip. “It struggled in sun and wind crusts, submarining on me a couple of times,” he noted. But in better snow it “smeared mid-size turns beautifully and performed well in schmooey springtime corn.” And the Route 105 could do light resort work, too, reported Jenna Burge, Caitlin’s sister. “I trusted this ski on groomers. It remained solid underfoot in every situation.” The Route 95 and 88 complete the line.Tags: backcountry, Black Diamond Route, Ski Canada Test, ski test, ski test 2018