I am walking across a ridge, the sun is out but it is cold, the wind is howling from the north and the snow is blowing around me like I’m in a perpetual blizzard. It is times like this that you put your chin a little further in your jacket, pull your hood up and just wonder what and why. A day of touring or skiing consists of anywhere from a few of these moments to a lot. Moments of contemplation of one’s self, that require you to dig a little deeper. With little feeling in your toes or fingers and the sharp wind blowing against your face, it might seem stupid but these are the moments that make you feel alive. It is that ability to push through a little pain and a bit of suffering that gives you a sense of accomplishment. The ability to come home after withstanding the elements and mountains. Part in thanks to amazing technology (thank you to all my sponsors) and part in knowledge of the outdoors.
Any day in the mountains brings you out of your shell, your senses are heightened, you feel better and you can think clearer (well, at least about skiing). The worlds problems fade behind you and you can fully enjoy mother nature’s beauty.
It is very interesting how snow and mountains work. Take for instance the past couple of days. We had a big storm depositing over 50cm of snow. Immediately avy danger goes through the roof, my friends and I are perfectly content to ski deep perfect powder in the trees out of harms way. The next day with a little time for the snow settle, we slowly and tentatively make our way up to the alpine. To our surprise we find perfect blower snow that is not wind affected by any sort. With no slab to be seen we start making our way onto smaller slopes. By the end of the day we are getting onto bigger slopes and the confidence is going up.
The next day is supposed to be sunny, so with some expectations of a great day, Greg Hill, Connor Hurley and I get up early and head out to the pass. We have lots of ideas floating around but nothing is confirmed with the conditions ever-changing. We head up and up and up, things are looking perfect. While Greg skis laps around us banging off vertical at an astonishing pace, we make our way up Ursus Minor. We scramble up a rocky ridge to the top of the mountain with shouts of joy and excitement, we know this run is going to be amazing. Greg slowly leads the way into a chute on the NW side of the mountain and we have the run of a lifetime. Perfect stable snow in the sun on a huge face, it just doesn’t get any better.
This drops us down into no mans land and it is a cold, arduous journey to the top of 8812. Digging deep I make it to the top, to an amazing view of the surroundings mountains and our way home. A quick ski down and another quick skin and we are standing at Bruins pass. The moon is out, the peaks are pink and we have another epic powder run out. This has probably been my biggest day of touring yet. We managed to climb 8500’ feet and ski about the same in perfect powder.
The next day feeling slightly fatigued but with sun still in the forecast I head out with Joey, Jeff and Chris. Confidence and expectations are high from the day before. The plans are vast and bold, but as we drive up to the pass, something has changed. Is that snow pluming from the ridges? It takes a long time to set in because of the realization of its effect on the snow. We gear up and head out, beautiful skinning through the trees and sun but as soon as we hit alpine the winds hit us. The low density snow we have been skiing for the last couple of days is blowing all over the place. It is instantly clear that our expectations will be set a lot lower today. We gingerly make our way up a ridge before pulling the pin and heading for the trees. Two amazing runs later we are skiing out in the dark with shit eating grins on our faces. We didn’t make our initial goal but we were alive and skiing powder.
Tell next time, keep fit and have fun!