Monday, December 13, 2010

Bow Hut

It was a very dark and very stormy night. Had it been any darker or any stormier, we would have stopped driving. But we pushed on slowly over Rogers Pass, because we had an invitation from Ross to spend the weekend with him, D'Arcy and Deanna at the Bow Hut. We weren't about to miss the guaranteed spontaneous fun.
On Friday morning we met up in the parking lot for the trip up to the hut. It was a perfect day in the Rockies - still, mostly clear, and a little bit cold. The Bow Hut it stunning from below - a palace perched high on the rock:

In the next few days we had good turns on the glacier above the hut in the fairly flat light. We had the whole hut, yes the whole hut, to ourselves, for wine and cheese followed by gin-fueled dice games.
D'Arcy getting powder turns:
Apres-ski at the lodge - perhaps the carbon monoxide is getting to me?

The superb weekend was made more memorable by a spectacular crash on the ski out, in which Ross and then Andrew met the same rock, landing in a pile and leaving the trail strewn with gear. Thanks to Andrew's control on one ski, the worst damage was done to the ski that met the rock:

Then we got lost - or rather, off the main trail - thanks to some sneaky navigation by Ross and myself. The shortcut turned into a bushwhack, bringing back fond memories of eastern glade skiing.

The drive home was even more epic than the drive there - nine more hours of dark and stormy night driving. But worth every minute - thanks for a great weekend all!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Balu Pass

"Minus 17! But it's our first night out this season!?"

Sunday morning in the van. In general car camping is comfortable enough at these temperatures. Warm sleeping bags and a down duvet keep the chill off at night. A hot cup of tea and our small heater do the job when we're not actually in bed. It's the transition between these two states which can test one's resolve to keep doing this.

We've thought about installing a propane heater for a while. Thermostat. Timer. Mmmmm...just imagine the toasty mornings. But they're expensive, and drilling holes in the van and messing around with propane fittings seems like a recipe for a DIY disaster. Maybe next year.

(I say that every year.)

Joined by Nick and Steve we got our winter permit paperwork sorted out with minimal fuss and headed up the Connaught. An icy wind blew down the valley and it felt shockingly cold.

Rather than thrashing through the alder to get up high we simply went straight to Balu Pass to yo-yo up and down the variety of short runs there.

Greg Hill passed us. As usual.

Our first run was a little rough on the skis. The unconsolidated snow hid the lurking rocks but didn't support our weight and there were a few base gouging clangers that I still haven't had the nerve to investigate. We eventually figured out where the snow was better. At the end of each run we took turns pointing back up and saying "Okay let's ski that one next".

A fine day out with a good skiing and minimal effort to get there.

All the pics.