A dump of fresh powder was all Chris Tatsuno needed to start doing his thing at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, British Columbia.
FAIRMONT HOT SPRINGS, BC — When I moved to Western Canada six months ago I was incredibly green to ski culture. At the beginning of the season I heard mutterings here and there about the "Ski Gods" and how each winter they bless Western Canada with an incredible season of powder.
Quite frankly, I thought the notion ridiculous, but now – half way through the season I've had – I'm starting to come around.
Given my earlier ignorance, the elusive powder gods have been extremely kind to me this season. I've covered the Olympic Torch through the entire province of Alberta, experienced the Olympics in person during a three week stint in Whistler, and now at the Family Ski Area of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia, I've skied with the Powder Highway's Ultimate Ski Bum.
The Family Ski Area is just that, a place for families to have a relaxing, leisurely afternoon on Fairmont's 14 runs. With the Ski Bum (Chris Tatsuno) on hand, however, the place was transformed into one big playground.
"The Fairmont is really a great family hill, but on a day like this, with all this fresh powder, any hill's an amazing hill," said Tatsuno, who is from Snowmass, Colorado, U.S. "Skiing's skiing. As long as you have the right attitude, you'll have an amazing day wherever you are."
I can't even describe the thrill of following Tatsuno down the hill. Three months ago I was just learning to ski, and now I'm hitting the same lines as someone who has appeared in several ski videos. Well, most of the same lines. True to his word, he managed to find some killer jumps.
Chris Tatsuno from Snowmass, CO., won the Ultimate Ski Bum contest which gave him three months of skiing at all the resorts along British Columbia's Powder Highway, including Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
With Fairmont's wide open slopes, there couldn't have been a better hill to showcase some of Tatsuno's tricks. He was skiing backwards, doing spinaramas, spread eagles, and more. It was fun to see everyone's faces as he horsed around. That's just what it was, horsing around.
The ease of which he pulled these off tricks was incredible. The man's The Ultimate Ski Bum for a reason.
Last year, Tatsuno entered and won the Powder Highway's Ultimate Ski Bum contest, netting him a three month journey along British Columbia's Powder HIghway, including free lift tickets at all of the eight resorts that make up the Highway, 16 days of heli and cat skiing, accommodations, and transportation.
"I knew that most people would be sending in the same old 'I live out of my car, I barely have any money' kind of deal," Tatsuno said. "But my dad was a ski bum himself, and he's taught skiing and snowboarding my whole life, so I took the angle of a second-generation ski bum. They liked it, and here I am."
When asked for a highlight of his trip, Tatsuno said that "Being able to see Western Canada has been my favourite part. I've been here briefly in the past, but now I've been able to really get out here and see everything that this area has to offer. It's been absolutely beautiful. And you've got some amazing skiing up here."
Skiing the Fairmont's Family Ski Area with the Ski Bum showed me that he was right; a ski hill is a ski hill, you can have an amazing time wherever you are if you just have the right attitude. Other people of Tastuno's stature might scoff at a 14 run hill and moved onto bigger and better things, but he was all about skiing at Fairmont. He had a blast. Just the look on his face was enough to make my day.
He loved it out there, and so did I.
My day at the Fairmont Family Ski Area was one of the highlights of my season. The hill was great, having gotten 10 cms the night before. It was just a nice leisurely pow day, and I got to ski it with a Warren Miller alumni. It doesn't get much better than that.
Oh, and the day was capped off with easily the best apres on the planet: a soak in the pools of Fairmont Hot Springs.
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