December 30, 2009

Pontoons

I haven't alpine skied in seventeen years. I gave it up because it was no longer fun on the icy east coast where I grew up. Instead, I grew a beard, refused to bathe, and... morphed into a Tele-Skier.

At the risk of sounding passionate, I love tele-skiing. What was it that Shane McConkey said in some ski film, "Half the binding, twice the fun!"

So it was a bit of a bummer when I faced up to the fact that I couldn't work at most Heli or Cat Skiing Operations on the Freeheeling sticks.

Needless to say, any resistance to the fixed-heel came to an abrupt halt today after my first run at the CMH Bobbie Burns Lodge. It's hard not to become a believer after 1500 meters of untouched blower fall line... On a pair of K2 Pontoons! Water skis man! Shane McConkey was a genius

The Pontoon

December 25, 2009

Cold Cold World



Ryan Creary snapped this shot of Josh Lavigne and I last Spring when when we tried to ski Mt. Columbia in a day, round-trip, from Canmore. If the weather hadn't whited-out, we might have actually had a respectable turns to drive / slog ratio. As it were, we spent about 5 hours driving and 11 hours slogging. As for turns, we managed to get right below the headwall before things went completely white. Which meant that we got zero turns for our effort. If there was any consolation for the day, it was that Josh managed to seriously mess up his shoulder when a crevasse bridge gave way on him. Despite the memories, I like the shot.

Another Ryan Creary shot taken about 11 hours after the previous one. Josh had just narrowly escaped the plunge so we decided that it might be a good idea to put on the rope.

If you're wondering why I'm bringing up past misadventures when the skiing is so good right now, it's because my Canon Camera crapped the bed. I sent it back to the manufacturer under a general recall, and if you own a Canon G10, you might want to check out their website to see if your camera falls under the recall as well.


As for local conditions in the Rockies, I'd say that things are setting-up to go off! A few weeks ago, Ms. Roles, Andrea E and I managed to freeze our non-gender specific nads skiing from just below the summit of Mt. Field. It felt a little audacious being up in such big terrain in the Rockies in December, and I think that perhaps it was... But things stayed manageable and a good day was had.

Brrrrrr. Erica just below the summit of Mt. Field.

Then came the cold snap, the week of -30, and 8 days of teaching the British Military to ski. During times of such duress, I find it helps to come up with a mantra and repeat it repetitively throughout the day. In this case, I went with a classic Samurai quote. "What is pain to a man? A privilege!"

These soldiers didn't blink an eye at the extreme cold because their eyeballs were frozen solid.


But as all things do, the cold came to pass and the snow started to fall. Skied around the Lake Louise Backcountry and managed to hit Surprise Pass twice in three days. The first time was epic and claimed run-of-the-season status. That lasted until the second lap.

More cool shots from Ryan Creary. This one from Rogers Pass.

Ryan Creary take four. Another one from Rogers Pass.

Another sweet day at Rogers Pass and another sweet shot from Creary. This was featured in Ski Canada a few months back.

Happy Holidays!

December 03, 2009

Ski Guide Article

The Ski Journal

This article just came out in the latest edition of The Ski Journal (TSJ). I wrote it last winter while going through the Canadian Ski Guide Certification process. It was a tough article to write because it entailed, get this, sitting on my ass for hours at a time while hammering away at the keyboard. The late, great Canadian Novelist Mordechai Richler wasn't far off when he said that ninety percent of writing is just showing up.

Photos by Ryan Creary, Joe Stock and myself.