Note: for any followers reading this and wondering if they got stuck in a time loop, I’m publishing it in the dog days of summer 2017 after finding it lying around as a draft. Anyway;
The fall of 2016 was memorably cool and wet. That’s convenient because, as of October, I was one ski day away from 12 consecutive months of skiing. It’s not something I really expected to care about, but as the summer progressed and I was still getting the chance to ski interesting lines in powder (or at least some kind of fresh snow), it suddenly seemed like a pretty worthwhile objective. A lot of credit goes out to Trevor for seeding my brain with the idea. To finish the goal without him hurt. It only seemed fitting though to get it done at his one, solitary, “secret” stash.
Unfortunately for us, the road was snowed in about 8km from the trailhead so we got a little extra exercise. No matter, we got to the end of the road soon enough, thanks in part to a skintrack that a few other friends had slogged in only the day before. Only a few minutes after entering the trees, Phil decided things were going too smoothly, and in a selfless effort to ensure we got any disasters out of the way early, fell in a creek.
With that taken care of, a short bushwhack took us up into a pillowy wonderland. Nobody seemed keen to guinea pig snow covered boulders in mid-October though, so they remained untracked.
The light really went on us as we broke into the alpine. It was snowing fairly hard and the winter-like wind whipped early season crystals into our faces as we climbed. Having snow blown into my face is something that gets kind of old as the winter rolls on, but in October the feeling is nothing short of glorious. Once we were most of the way up, we felt the snow change under our skis and decided to transition, dropping in a little below the true top of the run.
Once we figured out where the ground was, the turns were fantastic. This particular pocket glacier has an awesome pitch to it and the snow was excellent, regardless of the month. Further down in the trees, the snow was markedly less excellent, but the fact that we were skiing at all was remarkable. The return crossing of the creek was uneventful and thanks to the sticky snow in the valley, we were able to kick and glide back to the truck without skins.
Powder right down into the trees in mid October? It’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly not the norm either. No promises on how long the year round skiing continues, but at this point, I think it’s safe to say I’ve got at least a few more months in me.