January 21, 2009

'It's A Holocaust"

Mr. Ali Haeri

Ali and I didn't complete our objective the other day. Instead, we erred on the conservative side and decided not to climb the final steep pitch to the Uto - Sir Donald Col. Our idea for the day was to ski up the Asulkan Valley to the Uto - Sir Col Donald, drop down the Uto Glacier, cross over to the Eagle Glacier, skin up the Avalanche Glacier and finish with NRC. Oh well, so it goes. It's not the first time that conditions have turned us around.

In truth, getting shut down might have been worth it for the encounter that ensued...

It seems that Ali and I are on something of a roll when it comes to interesting ski area rendez-vous. Take last week at Sunshine. As we rode one of the mountain's powerful, high-speed quads, we struck up a conversation with a sweet Aussie girl sandwiched (not entirely by chance) between us. As the chair whisked us ever upwards, we watched bedazzled as the top sheet of her skis changed color and graphics.

"Funky skis. Do they change color in the sun?" I asked.

"Yeah," the Aussie girl replied, followed by a brief pause... "It's a holocaust."

A stunned silence overtook the chairlift.

"You must mean hologram," Ali said, a good sixty seconds later, once the shock wave passed.

Of course, the sweet Aussie girl did mean hologram but our conversation never fully recovered.

As for yesterday's rendez-vous, it went something like this. As Ali and I were skiing back to the car, we bumped in to a girl parked on the side of the trail, switching her split-board in to ski mode. We exchanged the standard pleasantries and she asked us where we'd been. We told her and she seemed nonplussed but friendly. I then ventured to ask her where she was from.

"Revelstoke," she said in a thick French accent. "And you?"

"Canmore and Banff," we replied.

Apparently, this answer on our part was equivalent to telling her that we were from Sub-Saharan Africa and had never seen mountains or snow. It was also our plea to her to impart everything she knew about the current conditions, the hazards and the local weather. And this is exactly what she did. For a solid five minutes, we listened intently as our local saviour pontificated on the stability and what we should and should not be doing.

"We had a big dump," she said, "but now things are good to go. The weather's been really good and north faces are where it's at!"

"You hear that!" I said to Ali, "Conditions are good to go! I knew we should have kept going..."

My facetious comment only goaded her on and she continued to bombard us with the knowledge.

"All the avalanches have already come down," she said, "So once they've slid, everything is safe!"

I asked her to say that again, slower, so that I could wrap my head around the concept. She did and I thanked her.

Unfortunately, I don't remember everything that the Oracle said. But her final words were hard to forget. As her monologue came to it's denouement, we thanked her a final time for the information and began to move. At this point, I did not think that it was possible for her to impart anything else, but as is often the case, I was wrong. Little did I know that the coup de grace was yet to come.

As we skied away, she delivered the blow.

"Stay alive boys," she reminded us.

1 comment:

Jeremy Allyn said...

Nice Wex! I'm a pretty serious dude, and not prone to laughing uncontrollably out loud alone a lot. BUT, this had me rolling off the couch so much so that my new computer took a dive off my lap and cracked open on the floor - kind of like my feet on that ledge on Rutabega! Shizzle.