I find myself at the top of Video Peak (a classic Rogers Pass line) for the second time that day. Our first run was completely out of this world. I managed to hit a huge rock followed by a wicked face plant sans goggles to start it off. But I wouldn’t let that deter my thoughts of silky smooth pow. The run down was one of the best that I can remember, blower knee to thigh deep perfect powder. Slightly sketchy due to the fact that this blower powder is pretty much all we have for a base. Face shots and cores shots is quickly becoming the motto of November around here. This is day three for me and I’m spending a truly wonderful day above the clouds with Joey, Greg Hill and Chris Payne.
Hill is at the top mentioning that he would like to do one more, smaller run on the way out. It seems his desire for vertical is more than infectious because I can’t think of anything I would rather do! With powder this good, my legs feel invincible and all I can think about is getting some more of that white stuff on the face.
After another epic run down Video to a short skin up a ridge., we pop over the ridge we see a huge crew of skiers and snowboarders that we passed on the way up. They are making their way down the bowl hooting and hollering. An amazing effort to get all the way up there, with many of them being on snowshoes . Greg and I were pretty stoked to watch the group have an amazing first run of the year that was well deserved. This group looked fairly green to the whole touring thing but I am sure they will be talking about this day for years to come. For people like Greg and I, it has become like a drug and we get/need our fixes much more often but they wear off much quicker and by then we already thinking about how to get the next one.
So after this day the brain went straight into ski mode with no looking back. The next four days suddenly became ski time. I needed to get something out of the system. I had a wicked day on Sunday skiing the Halloween Chute from last year on Cheops! Then in the afternoon on Sunday the temperature plummeted and the North wind that had been hollowing in town for two days made it to the mountain tops.
Calls made Sunday night confirmed what I thought, “Too cold to work”! I was pumped too cold to work, not to cold to ski. Apparently it was too cold to ski too, but avy conditions were bad too, so I will blame it on that and feel at little tougher. Monday morning I headed up to the pass with Dave Sproule and Greg. We started making our way up the Connaught Drainage in hopes of skiing the STS chute off of Cheops. It quickly become evident with the strong winds, that climbing the ridge would be misery and avy conditions were not in our favor. So far we had our winds at our backs so it wasn’t too bad minus some cold butt cheeks. We decided to head up towards hospital bowl and maybe hit Ursus Minor or Video peak. Climbing up through the trees wasn’t so bad but as soon as we hit the open bowl we felt the full grunt of winter. We struggled forward for a while but then the avy conditions got downright terrible and the minus 25 with 50km/hr winds got old! We tucked our tails between our legs and headed for the warmth of home.
The next day was supposed to be colder but the winds were suppose to die down. Still too cold to work might as well try to ski something. A big crew of us woke up early and headed for Begbie. We managed to drive fairly high up the logging road so the slog wasn’t so bad. A couple more hours of skinning we had made treeline. The wind had died down to light cold breeze and some of the skinning in the sun had been very enjoyable. At treeline we hit the same windslab but below looked good to go. Skins off and into the run of the year. This side of the valley has way more snow, all of a sudden pillows were being dropped dongers were being donged and hollers of excitement filled the valley. No body could believe how good the run was, no rocks, lots of air, good times. We made it up for two more runs before a bit of slog/bushwack out. By that time the sun was setting and the cold was creeping into the body as a dull ache. Or was that tired legs from 4 amazing days.