TFTH SPECIAL EDITION TR - Dog Day Ski Adventure, 1/31/12
Every ski story should start with a happy dog picture, if only to illustrate the local snow conditions.
Do you do warm up exercises before skiing? I accomplish this by walking the dog and playing a rousing game of "ice chunk." In this game, the human finds a suitably-sized piece of snowplow debris, taunts the dog with it, and then hurls it over the snowbank.
The dog then leaps up the snowbank and tries to retrieve the ice chunk. Generally, there is a lot of frantic digging involved. Sometimes he runs around in sub-freezing temperatures with the chunk clamped in jaws. This blows my mind.
Once Telemark Dave arrived, we had to do some fiddling with bindings, because, as we all know, fiddling with bindings is an essential element of telemark skiing.
Finally, our weapons of powder slayage were ready to load into the Taco. Harken back to the time when a ski like the Rossi T4 was considered "fat." They look positively svelte compared to TD's shiny new Elan Boomerangs, which, despite their 195 cm length and 140-120-130 dimensions, seem to slarve on a dime.
It's only a 10 minute drive from SBRHQ to the trailhead for this particular destination, so, despite various delays, we arrived before the snowplow. I figured that he would just plow us in and I would drive out, thanks to 4WD. Right after we got our ski boots on, the plow arrived, stopped, beeped at us, and indicated that the truck was in his way. It was at this point I learned that I cannot drive a five-speed in four-buckle plastic tele boots.
Editor's note: picture taken later - I did not want to annoy the plow guy any more than he already was. You can only take Trip Reporting so far.
Fortunately, we had been chatting with a local resident, and acquaintance of TD, who was out walking his dogs and had come over to see what we were up to. "Hey, Matt, can you drive a stick-shift?," I yelled above the plow's thundering diesel. Waving madly at the plow driver and pointing at my boots, I offered to hold one the dogs, while TD held the other. Happily, Matt complied. I cannot imagine the blood pressure spike of snowplow guy had I sat there and changed footwear.
Maverick the husky was not impressed. Especially when I had to push her through the bars of the road gate when plow dude hollered at us again. I think he was power-tripping at that point but resistance would have been futile.
The truck safely parked again, we installed our skinny skins. They work well enough for our application, and hey, skins are expensive.
SBR taking yet another picture. It was the first outing for my snazzy new K2 Sentinel ski pack, which has a very handy camera pocket on the hip belt. It was a good deal and ninja-turtle green was the only colour choice.
All the ski talk got Matt inspired, so he returned home, got his skijoring rig and quickly caught up to us. Of course, he was in a bit of a hurry since he had to finish delivering the mail.
The dogs were primed to run so Matt couldn't chat long. This got us thinking - what great way to get around in the backcountry! Except that I would need about 12 versions of Utah to pull me around.
Eventually, we arrived at The Pipeline. We call it that that because, well, that's what it is: a big natural gas pipeline runs under that hill on looker's right. To think that we might have skied over the gas that is heating your home! TD's tracks from the other day are still visible.
If you want to go down, you first have to go up. No chairlift here and we blew our heli budget on new skis.
The conditions were very surfy, especially when your skis are like surfboards. Mega-thanks to the pipeline workers who clear-cut all the brush off the hill back in the fall. You can pretty much open it up and ski the whole hill, as long as you avoid the big rocks here and there.
And up we went again.
Look, I'm up to my knees in snow! And wearing my lucky Raven Ski Club hat, which I have had since I was 14. Unlike the rest of me, my head has not expanded too much, so it still fits.
At the summit, there was further fiddling to be done.
Some of the big rocks you need to avoid. Makes a nice focal point for a powder turn, doesn't it?
"Hey look, an eagle!" Another highlight of the day was seeing a bald eagle fly overhead. Eagles are a rare sight in our neck of the woods. Don't bother looking for the bird in the picture, it's not there.
Another nice surfy turn by Telemark Dave. He forgot his iPhone, so there are no pics of me.
It's kind of nice having one's own private powder bowl. All these turns are ours. When we tell most other people (especially skiers) about this kind of activity, they just scratch their heads in disbelief. Oh well, more snow for us!
Well, it's looking a little skied out, maybe we should call it a day.
The ski out was made easier by the rising temperature - we actually got some glide out of the skins.
One disadvantage of mega-fat skis. They hold a lot of snow and get pretty heavy.
Thanks for tuning in to this special edition of Tales From The Hinterland. We'll keep you posted on further developments...
Re: TFTH SPECIAL EDITION TR - Dog Day Ski Adventure, 1/31/12
Yet Another well spun yarn from the Hinterland SBR !! Luv the zeal my man.. The pics and humor are much appreciated 'specially for those of us who are living in the Ice Palace that exists along the Mighty St . Lawrence . Nice doggy shots too and that vert looks pretty fair for the amt of 'dumpage " the Hinterlandia received .