Mountainwatch.com kicks into overdrive. Ben Murphy talks Surf/Snow conditions on Vancouver Island.

2 Jul 2009 0 Share

With waves like this who wouldn’t want to live on Vancouver Island

With waves like this who wouldn’t want to live on Vancouver Island

As the unseasonably mild northwesterly winds of the past few days shift straight west and start dumping snow in the alps what better time than to remind Coastalwatch readers about our new sister site Mountainwatch.com.

Developed by the team behind Coastalwatch.com, Mountainwatch.com delivers up-to-date weather forecasting, expert snow reports, gear guides, event calendars and extensive resort information.

Mountainwatch.com brings the mountains to urban skiers and snowboarders with live video streaming web cams from resorts in Australia and New Zealand.

Dedicated Mountainwatch.com snow cameras are now live at: Perisher; Thredbo; Charlotte Pass; Falls Creek; Hotham; Mt Buller; and Mt Baw Baw revealing up to the minute conditions for travellers looking to hit Australasia’s snowfields. Add Australia and New Zealand’s most formidable team of snow forecasting experts and skiers and snowboarders can expect honest reporting with up to date forecasts from those in the know.

Australia’s world cup ski champion, Steve Lee, brings his wealth of snow knowledge and mixes it up with professional storm chaser and photographer Tony Harrington. Also joining the team is Ben McCartney, the man behind the coveted Coastalwatch.com surf reports. Making up the fourth member of this fantastic forecasting team is Aaron Cook from New Zealand’s respected Metservice.

Professional snowboarder and editor of Transfer Snowboarding magazine, Russell Holt, is the founding editor of Mountainwatch.com.

We figured right now when its snowing is an appropriate time to give Coastalwatch regulars a taste of Mountainwatch editorial. Here’s a current Q and A with surfer/skier Ben Murphy. It’s a most appropriate crossover piece penned by Chill Factor editor, SW/Coastalwatch senior contributing editor, and radio personality Reggae Ellis to whet your appetite. For more features and of course all the up to the minute snow forecast and cams do log on.

Ben Horvath.

Ben Murphy talks Surf/Snow conditions on Vancouver Island

An Interview with Ben Murphy
By Reggae Elliss

Ben Murphy was one of the main players on the Australian Freeride scene until he moved to Canada full-time in 2001. He has spent most of his time coaching in the resorts near Calgary (www.tourismcalgary.com) and competing occasionally in Big Air and half-pipe comps. Ben grew up in Wollongong and is also an accomplished surfer. The need for waves and snow has seen Ben make the move from Calgary to Tofino on Vancouver Island where he coaches skiing in the winter and manages a surf shop in the summer.

What led you to moving to Vancouver Island?

I wanted to get back to the ocean. I have spent a long time living in Calgary and needed a change of scenery. I came out here to the island quite a few years ago and fell in love with the place and this year I had the chance to move here.

I spent the winter in Nanaimo (www.tourismnanaimo.com) which is 1 hour and 20 mins from the ski hill and and surfed and skied on my days off depending on what the snow and waves were doing. In March I got a call from the owners for Pacific Storm and they offered me a position managing their surf rental business so I packed up and moved to Tofino.

What do you like about living there?

I get to ski and surf! I had some days where I was surfing some fun 4 to 6 foot waves and skiing pow the next day. It’s not like Calgary where it’s -25 most of the winter. It’s more like -5 and ocean around you and the summer here is sweet – the rain forests here are amazing.

Didn’t know Canadians ripped so hard

Didn’t know Canadians ripped so hard

Are you still coaching skiing?

I am coaching out of Mount Washington (www.mountwashington.ca) which is one of the resorts on the island. It's way more low key than whistler but it still has loads of great terrain. I am coaching with Jamie Tanner (www.canada.com/sports/2010wintergames/videos/Video+Athlete+profile+ Jamie+Tanner/1278280/story.htm) who I know from way back when I was in Ontario (skicentral.com/ontario.htm)l he just retired from the Canadian national freestyle now we are coaching the local team on the island. It's a awesome club - the parents are great and they get right in there and help build jumps, courses and even shovel snow for me.

What's the skiing like on Vancouver Island?

It’s pretty sweet. This past season wasn't so great for snow but on the pow days we had it was incredible. There's some wicked terrain here and the backcountry is sick too. In the past years the snow accumulation on the island is pretty high I heard stories of up to 10 metres of snow.) The snow is a very different density here way more moisture in the snow pack so it sticks to the steeper pitches and is a bit heavier than the snow in the Rockies, but it is still epic for the steeps. You just have to be careful of avalanches in the backcountry.

What about your skiing - what are you into now?

I'm surfing quite a bit now. I have been doing the odd comp here trying to get involved in the Canadian surf industry www.surfingvancouverisland.com/surf/st209.htm. There's some good surfers here - one guy, Pete Devries, rips.

I still love skiing, no question about it, but I think I was coaching way too much in the past so it became more of a job than a sport. Just before I moved from Calgary I went to a ski film premier and saw a clip from the Travis Rice movie, “That's it, that's All" (www.thatsit-thatsall.com) . It’s the only snowboarding movie I have ever purchased and after watching that, mystoke was on powder, big lines and backcountry booters. Oh Yeah!!

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