Block Breakers

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Bouncing down pillows in the Duffy for Block Breakers Episode 1.

It’s no secret that Squamish is a mecca for outdoor recreation, in fact its official tagline is “Hardwired for Adventure.” The opportunities here are seemingly endless when it comes to getting off campus and recuperating from all that time in class. I’ve written before about traveling 10 hours to Smith Rocks, Oregon for a block break, but theres plenty to do around here as well. Recognizing this, a few of my friends and I put in a proposal to the Student Representative Council (SRC) to get funding for camera gear so we could document our block breaks – the 4 days we get homework-free between each block.

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Andrew Would getting sendy at Whistler

The first block break that we had our camera gear for was between January and February block. Being skiers, we had high hopes of traveling deep into the backcountry and skiing some big lines, Martin Lentz style. However, the snow stability was such that two days before the end of the block, Andrew and myself made the call to cancel our original plans as the avalanche conditions were just too high. We instead went to a much closer hut in the Duffy, about two hours north of Squamish, just past Pemberton. It’s easy access and has plenty of low elevation skiing, just a bit more mellow.

The low elevation didn’t make a huge a difference for snow quality, and we were happy about our decision to stay low when we met some skiers coming through the hut who had been caught in an avalanche just above the treeline. We stuck to skiing all the pillows that our hearts could desire, and successfully pulled off Block Breakers Episode 1.

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Jamie Fisher attempting the ultimate photo bomb at Whistler.

The following block break, between February and March, the avalanche conditions were even worse. I wasn’t going to make the trip anyway, because I had a meeting set up in Tofino, a small surf town on Vancouver Island, for a potential future Keystone project, the Senior Thesis that all Quest students must complete in order to graduate. Andrew was headed back to Smith Rocks, so Jamie and Hayden, our two other block break members, were in it alone.

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Hayden Wyatt forgot how to ski forwards.

For Episode 2, they took advantage of the heavy snowfall that was making the backcountry so dangerous and spent the 4 days at Whistler, with fellow Quest student and Elite Athlete snowboarder (*gasp*) Andrew Would. Whistler is just a short 30 minute drive from the Quest Campus, and their video shows all the deep powder and slash potential that it holds.

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