Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bruins Pass and Sifton Traverse

Weeks of persistent valley cloud in the Okanagan had left us craving sunlight. Saturday had a promising forecast and as we toured up the Connaught drainage that promise became a reality; bright sunshine warmed both our faces and our souls.

We climbed up Bruins Ridge and had a short run down the cold and shady north side before climbing back up and skiing down 8812 bowl.

The avalanche control teams sometimes go through an exercise of "ranging" their guns. This was going on full-tilt Saturday afternoon as the air was rent apart by the BOOM! of the Howitzers and the WHOOSH! of shells flying through the air. One can't help but feel a visceral response to such power and potential destruction despite knowing perfectly well that they weren't firing anywhere near us. We occasionally smiled at each other a bit uneasily.

Fred and Steve joined us on Sunday for a trip up and over Sifton Col and back down Hermit Meadows. The day started out brilliantly again and then clouded over and snowed a bit by mid-morning, but the visibility held and we enjoyed the 1400m run back down Hermit Meadows.

This is the descent just below Sifton Col. I remember this gave us the heebie-jeebies the first time we skied it. Didn't seem so bad today.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Fairy Meadows

Fairy Meadows for 400 bucks over the holidays? Wow that's cheap, I thought. Someone is going to get a screaming deal there.

Wait a minute...I'm "someone". That could be me!

So to make a long story short (since interactions with the ACC often lead to long stories and this was no exception) it turned out that yes, we are in fact "some people", and we found ourselves goggling the scenery on the first flight into Fairy Meadows of the 2009 ski season. To we lucky chosen few went the dubious honour of several tedious hours of digging; hut, outhouse, chimney, woodshed, and sauna. What a job.

Nevertheless we did get some turns in on our first day and thus began a super week. There was a group of six from Washington and Oregon, three from Golden/Canmore, and another group of eight, including the ACC work crew, also from Canmore. They were an eclectic group of great people and we really enjoyed everyone's company. I knew one person, Helen, from a previous trip to Fairy Meadows in the summer of 2000 when I was taking a course and Helen was one of the guides.

Brenda and I spent the first few days skiing on our own. We'll admit to feeling a little overwhelmed at first; we were less familiar with the terrain and it seemed like everyone was charging all over the place doing these huge lines while we were pottering around trying to get a handle on things. But we found our bearings and in retrospect it was good to be making our own decisions over those first few days, and we enjoyed ourselves.

The week settled into that familiar and pleasurable hut routine of a long day of skiing followed by a long evening (especially this time of year) of cooking, eating, unwinding in the sauna, and working through the alcohol supply with some determination before being overtaken by utter exhaustion.

It was back to reality last week; first with work, and then getting waylaid with a nasty cold as the activities of the past few weeks finally caught up with me. Although we only returned from the hut a week a go it already seems like a distant memory.

More photos here.