Ski Bums: Trapper Jerry - Ski Mag

Ski Bums: Trapper Jerry

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"Trapper Jerry Kernan

Drop by Sunshine Village's Mad Trapper Saloon around 3 P.M. on most winter days, and you'll find the pub's mascot hunched on a barstool, his alligator-tooth cowboy hat on the bar, sipping his daily Molson Canadian, and telling the peach-skinned waitresses about one of the three times he shot a bear in the mouth. At 90, "Trapper Jerry Kernan isn't like most nonagenarians. The wisecracking Saskatoon native owns a twin-exhaust Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle, pilots a speedboat, and, several times each winter, drives 10 hours solo in his diesel Jetta to Sunshine Village, where he rents a house and logs up to 30 days a year on the mountain. But what really sets the former beaver trapper apart is his annual birthday plunge into Delirium Dive, Sunshine's notorious 45-degree, 1,800-vertical-foot test piece.

"I skied it in the early '60s when Sunshine first opened. But then they put it off limits for 35 years because too many guys were killing themselves up there, he says. "Nine years ago, when it opened back up, ski patrol teased me and asked if I was going. I said, 'I might as well try.'

Subsequently, every February 14, Trapper J. dons his classic blue-and-yellow Sunshine Village staff jacket, clicks into battered Salomon skis, and carefully picks his way through the bowl. Jerry, who never wears a helmet, credits a lack of fear and a lack of arthritis with keeping him nimble. Still, Sunshine sends a squadron of patrollers along, skiing on all sides of him. "They're afraid I might go over a cliff, he says. "If I start heading in the wrong direction they have orders to just knock me to the ground.

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Revelstoke, British Columbia, first developed as a transcontinental railroad boomtown in the late 1800s.  It faded and became a sleepy logging town for the next 100 years.  But last winter, Revelstoke Mountain Resort opened and the town's second boom officially hit.  The master plan: develop the only ski resort in the world to offer lift, cat-, and heli-skiing right from the village, and over the next 15 years, develop lifts, a projected 10,000 acres of terrain, and the longest run in North America at 5,620 vertical feet.  Photographer Matthew Scholl was there on opening day; click "Next" to see what he captured. Above: Skier Colin Puskas.

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