Getting the Band back together
Fall Line

Our annual trip to a favourite ski hill. It ain't much compared to the monster mountains around BC, but we have the place to ourselves.
The trip has been happening since 2008, and I joined in 2015. We head behind Pemberton, ski up to an old cabin, get in some runs and ski back down. Our packs are usually heavy with food. The cabin is run-down with the cupboard doors half-chewed away by rats but, after the fire gets going and we've settled in, it becomes a real haven. There are windows in all the walls so the view is stunning.

This isn't a big ski hill by any means, but it's our spot.

The snow was low, which meant we could drive close the start of the trail. A short walk got us to old snow, peppered with pine seeds. The snow was leaving apace, running streams taking the snow away in patches, so skinning was an obstacle course. The trail turned at last and took us above the tree line to an obvious avalanche site. Some big trees had been casually pushed over and most of the slope we climbed was thinly covered by old snow. Anything left after the slide was very stable so we skinned across it pretty well. Above, it was a short climb to the cabin. Being old and unfit, I was last to arrive.
The Trail In
At last we met snow and could stop carrying our skis
Setting the Mood
BC is a beautiful place, no doubt about it
Cabin Ridge
Home was not far away
The Cabin
It ain't much, but it's pretty good when you get the fire lit
Skins Off
Time to have fun
The Three Stooges
All in a row
The weather was lovely for the climb (despite a rubbish forecast) but the clouds closed in as soon as we shut the door. Our good timing continued, and about 6:30pm the weather cleared again to give us two fantastic runs down into the bowl, as the last of the sun lit up the slopes.

E had been eyeing up the main peak all afternoon and was keen to try a run down into the bowl from the top next morning. There were a bunch of rocks and it looked pretty scary to me, but what the hell. The evening drew in and true to our weather-luck, it started to sleet as soon as we got back. We were inside and the fire was on, a huge load of sausage, pasta and tomato casserole bubbling away.

The dawn filtered through at 5am and we chatted about the chance of a peak run. What I like the most about our group is there are no ego pressures. As a relative novice, I'm very well looked after and we do everything as a team. We decided to climb to the peak and see how it looked. R offered to come back down the ridge with me if I decided to bail.

A casual discussion followed about heading up before breakfast. "But I like breakfast", my quiet inner Hobbit-voice worried. The evening's feast held strong however, and we got up to the peak with no problems.

The view was beautiful but, oh my, it was a long way down. Hobbits don't swear but if they did, they would say "No way I'm skiing that." The turns would have to be too tight and precise between rocks and I'm just not that good. R was certainly good enough but also decided to retreat. Then the discussion of potential rescue points and access came up. E was super keen and I'm sure he would have aced it, but...

We had an easy ski down the ridge and some really great runs into the bowl instead. So much fun.
The Ridge
It might get a little better than this, maybe. But not much
A Long Way Down
Too steep for this chicken.
Almost Over
Getting into a spot of bother with some annoying crust
A Good Recovery
And he's off again. Nice work
Earn Those Turns
It's so easy to take chairlifts for granted.
I had two interesting experiences that day. The first was finding how hard it is to ski when you forget to do up your boots. I headed down, wondering why I was staggering all over the place like a madman's knitting, only realising my buckles were flailing open in the breeze when I got to the bottom. What a dick.

The second lesson was setting off a very slow slough that kept running as I skied first tracks. There was no risk, but I had to avoid its sedate progression and various rocks as well. It wasn't a great run, but at least I settled the slope for everyone else.

The snow was very dense with a bit of crust at times and I found it challenging. The others looked outstanding on their runs and it was heaps of fun either way. We climbed back to the cabin, had about 10kg of bacon, egg and cheese wraps and then kept skiing. I forget how many runs we did.

About 3pm we packed, cleaned up and skied down into the bowl again to find the trail. A wide swathe of felled trees showed witness to more avalanche this season. The hike back down was a lot easier than I thought it would be. We didn't bother skiing the trail. Too many rocks.

I'm always impressed with R's stamina with driving. It was a long way home. Apparently I was hanging from my seatbelt, fast asleep at one point. A delicious steak at The Keg in West Van rounded our trip off. As usual, this year was the best ever.

Thanks, guys.

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