Some folks are early risers, some late. The early risers congregate downstairs by the fire, the warmest spot in the lodge in the mornings. Yoga, meditation, reading, waking up.
We are a self catered group, which means we have brought all our own food and prepare it too. The group has been divided up into small groups and each smaller group assigned a number of breakfasts and suppers to plan, purchase groceries for and prepare.
The group assigned breakfast starts their preparations and has a delicious breakfast ready for 8:00. The breakfasts range from yogurt, granola, fruit salad and toast to frittatas and bagels. The skiers eat heartily preparing our bodies for the exertions of the day.
During breakfast, the Avalanche forecast is consulted and a discussion of where to ski that day is had. The decision is made and everyone is in agreement.
Once dishes are done, lunches made (everyone makes their own lunch), we gear up and are out the door.
We climb, and climb and climb. Our skis have skins on them that prevents us from slipping backwards. Our toes are locked into our bindings but our heels are free. We can walk easier this way. We are breathing hard and our heart rates are up. About an hour later we almost reach the top of the “hill”, called Heather Ridge, beside the lodge. The trees have thinned out and there are pure white slopes, dotted with small trees waiting for us. We climb more and end up on what feels like the top of the world. The views in very direction are stunning.
We take the skins off our skis and prepare to ski down. Since J broke trail at the top, he gets to go first into the untouched whiteness. One at a time we swoosh and turn down the hill. We stop at the point where the trees start to thicken. Some of us stop there, skin up and head back up. The others ski down further into the trees, stop, skin up and head back up.
Almost at the top, we find a lunch spot and everyone sits for a break and lunch. Skis are laid on the snow, a sit pad is place over the skis, a hole is tromped down where your feet are, and there you have a nice little seat to eat at and enjoy the views. I say to the group that this is what my idea of backcountry skiing is. The sky is blue, it is warm and the view, well, it is amazing.
After lunch, we climb again and ski down again. Some make the trip down to the lodge and some keep going for more runs. By 4:00, everyone is back at the lodge.
There is a sauna here and we take turns in groups getting warm and showering. There are buckets of water heating in the sauna that we use for having a very quick shower. The system works well and it feels absolutely therapeutic after a hard day.
Another small group prepares appetizers and then supper. Stories are told, laughter shared. Dishes are cleaned up and we all relax until the eyes start to drift shut.
Another great day at Mistaya Lodge.