Monday. It is -34 and here we sit. I have skied when it was this cold and it is not fun and I am old enough now to realize that no matter how much I try it will be nothing but labour to go out today. The sun has just crested the mountains and we are all standing at the thermometer watching the numbers shoot up. HA.
Yesterday, T and I had the company of the resident guide, D. He drags our butts up and down some really good terrain. This is T’s first day skiing this year and he is working on getting back his confidence but he skis well and we have a great day. It has not snowed in quite a few days and the snow is challenging in places, other spots it is great. We walk and ski for 4.5 hours with only a 15 minute break. D doesn’t seem bothered by the distance but T and I are knackered.
Sunday is a poor day from a skiing aspect. We arrive, have lunch and head out trying to find West Bowl. We never do find the run and only get a few turns on the way back to the lodge.
At noon we poke our noses outside the door and start our walk up. We aren’t going far; we want to be close in case the cold is not conducive to outdoor recreation. As we ascend, the temperature moderates and by the time we reach the highest point of our trip it is warm enough for me to take my hand out of my glove to adjust the camera. The snow is iffy, sun affected and wind blown. Somehow I manage to read the snow correctly and have quite a good run.
Thursday brought a good surprise. I am off in the afternoon with B. He just wants to go to the top of the next ridge and see what there is to see. I am not much into the touring for touring’s sake but I am going along anyway. B needs a partner and I need a place to go. We are heading for an existing uptrack but miss it and set our own track to the top. On the way up the snow looks and feels skiable. At the top of the knoll we get a different view from yesterday but to go beyond would not be good use of time as the ridge we can get to is the same as the one we viewed previously. We turn our skis down, the run is steep, and the snow is great. Didn’t think I would ski at all and have one of the best runs I have had all week.
Friday we awake to a balmy -25C. Starting the day 7C degrees warmer should make for a longer day. Strange that as we get more tired we get the opportunity to ski ALL day long. Short trip and back to the lodge for lunch. The usual procedure is to go out for the entire day and eat lunch in a nice sunny spot, it is not possible to go far when you return to home base at noon. The trip is to Wishbone Moraine not a long run but again the snow is good and the trip is well worth it. It’s steep, not scary but steep enough to notice. The afternoon is a tour to the top of Mista Vista. It is a really nice view from there and the highest point we have gone; with the split trip days we cannot travel big distances.
It is amazing how consistently cold the weather has been all week long. It has been -30 at 6am every day. Today we hope it will warm quickly and significantly. Even though I expect the weather to be warmer I think it will still be a split trip day. This morning I team up with D again and we go to the Wishbone Moraine and up to a place he does not frequent except when the avalanche danger is extremely low, the Cobra. It is quite steep and the wind has deposited a lot of snow in the area so although the snow is not deep it is also not wind affected and is very skiable. The last run is to the area I went to at the start of the week . The two Aussies, P & H, and H and I go north and head for a run I have eyed since we walked by it. The snow is good and the turns are not too tricky and well within the ability of the group. We all make it down, I enjoy it and I think the others do too.
The group is amazingly compatible. We all knew 3 or 4 of the others but only a couple of the folks knew everybody before we arrived. People from literally around the world, Australia and Aus/England, Victoria, Phuket, Banff, Calgary and Edmonton. All skiers of varying ability but all interested in the experience a backcountry cabin can provide.
Mistaya Lodge is first class, the operation is first class, the owners and staff are fantastic. D, the live in guide and owner is a perfect host. The terrain is challenging but perfectly skiable, the views are other worldly. We didn’t have any new snow while we were here but with a foot or two it can only be better than I have experienced. Come here any time and you will enjoy the time spent.