Choke Cough Ski

If you read the blog you will know that I have amazing luck with the weather. When we need dry it usually is, when we need warm it usually is. This last weekend I needed snow and OMG, it snowed.

I leave Thursday for Valemount, BC for two days of cat skiing with Cariboo Snowcat Skiing. The weather calls for snow and it has to snow or the skiing will be marginal. It snows on and off through Wednesday and Thursday. When we arrive on Friday morn the guide, Bryce, tells us we are the second group of the year. There is enough snow to ski but it is the least amount of snow he has seen in the 8 years he has worked there.

group 2

The skiing is good, real good. The terrain and flora telegraph through the thin snow cover but we ski boot top powder all day and the rolling surface makes for interesting turns and the challenge keeps my interest. I am never complacent and have to pay attention the entire time.

long view 1Then, Saturday morn I go outside to load the car for the trip home after the ski day. I walk though the automatic doors and step into a foot of snow. The temperature is about 0 C and the snow is wet but it is deep and I am standing a few thousand feet below where we are going to ski today. I brush off the car and head in for breakfast. On the way to the restaurant I stop by a few other folks’ rooms and tell them to look outside. I can feel the anticipation build as soon as there is a crack in the drapes big enough to realize what is out there.

There is a lot chatter at breakfast. We eat fast and head for the cars in record time. When I arrive at the Rav4 there is another inch of snow that has accumulated in the short time it took to eat a couple of pieces of French Toast and a few pieces of bacon.

The trip up the mountain, first by 4X4 and then on the cat seems to take an inordinate amount of time. The avalanche danger is high and the guides need time to do their due diligence. Our first run is on a shorter run that should be stable. While we ski it, the other guide treks up further and digs a pit to check out the snow pack.

We gear up and point the skis down. Within 2 turns we are eating said snow as it flies up into our face. Each turn we rise up high in the powder and then sink back down. We don’t breathe when we have settled down because if we do we suck in so much of the floating powder we choke. On one of our rest stops I push my pole in to see how deep the snow really is. It completely disappears; 42” deep. Over the day we ski several other runs and the snow depth varies from mid thigh to over a meter. Every run is epic. I ski a lot and there are days in a skiers life where there is this much snow to ski, but they are few, very few. A quick calculation tells me I have around 1,200 ski days and less than 10 with snow as deep and good as today.

long view 2

The area owner, Terry, joins us for the last run. It is the longest run of the day and it has the deepest snow we have skied so far. I start behind the guide on the first pitch. When we pause to let the others catch up I know there is smile on my face is ear to ear. As each of the other skiers stop they are showing each and every one of their teeth. Terry glides to a stop just above me and his grin is no smaller than the rest ours. It is truly one of the best days any of us has had on skis.

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