Beat the Heat

After last year’s cold, wet summer, I’ve obviously become spoiled when it comes to “off season” skiing. On July 30th though, I was faced with a choice: either quit whining about the heat and get after it or let my ski streak end after 20 months. I chose the former and, happily, India was game to join me for what we fully expected to be terrible turns on Farnham Glacier.

She and I met in Radium after work, hit the grocery store and rolled into the mountains along the darkening Forster Creek forest service road. Some 40km in we found a pair of moose organizing a blockade. As hard as we tried to get around them, scare them away or let them wander off the road of their own accord, we ended up spending the next 20 minutes driving at whatever pace they chose as they led us off the Forster road and up Farnham Creek.

Eventually, we shook them off and settled down for the night near the last bridge before the road begins climbing steeply to Farnham.

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Farnham Glacier, as viewed from about halfway up the approach road.

The next morning we got right to work dragging our ski gear and bikes up about 600 vertical meters into the alpine. The trusty Subaru was, unfortunately, not quite up to an avalanche/rockslide crossing near our camp so we just went at it from there.

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India contemplates the best way to keep her socks dry.

Navigation was as easy as it gets; just follow the old cat road carved in for Alpine Canada training camps from years past. It leads right to the best access point for the ice. Soon enough we met the toe of the glacier, where we took the opportunity to explore an ice cave and pull our ski gear on with the cold katabatic wind making for a distinctly un-summery feel.

A few surprisingly excellent laps left us feeling tired enough to call it day. The snow was turning from velvety corn into schmoo anyway, and we didn’t feel much like testing the glacier’s summer bridges into an afternoon of relentless heat.

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A few steep turns were found…

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…as well as some mellower ones.

Thankful for our bikes, it was a quick cruise down to the car and our post-ski beers, only stopping once to wade an utterly frigid glacial stream at its swollen afternoon depth.  Then back home and back to work. A day off well spent.

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