Snow had been forecast for the start of the weekend all week & just to keep us guessing, the forecast was actually correct more than a few days out. As I woke up at my normal get-up-for-work time & I had no one else to pick up, I was out at the hill ridiculously early. The snow was fair coming down as I left Canmore, tapered off a bit around Banff & then came back once on the access road.
One of the only advantages that I can see to riding the gondola alone is that it gives you plenty of space to stretch, so that’s what I did before sitting in the day lodge for a little while waiting for the chairs to open. Before this morning, I was completely unused to skiing powder with any degree of competence; so, I started off on the smallest lift – actually, I always start there being a creature of habit & some sentimentality. It was good fun having to ski in a slightly different way & I was thankful for my big wide skis. The light was really flat & I finally understood what this means – it was so hard to see any sort of contour in the snow. Often I would hit a little rise, jump or drop without seeing it – my knees got a good workout. It was also hard to pick the steepness of the slopes & all of a sudden it could change & be a little surprising. Nonetheless, it was a blast & I enjoyed putting some of the first tracks down a few of the runs. I’m not sure I should have headed up Divide so early as it was pretty windswept & the crust was easy to find. Wawa provided my best runs of the day.
After an early lunch, I headed off to the Goat’s Eye area & quite enjoyed it over there. By now I was starting to miss having someone dragging me off to different runs. My ability is not such that I’m overly keen on throwing myself off unknown black runs – but I gave a few new ones a go. By the early afternoon most of the powder had been scoured out in to big piles – I found it interesting going from hard packed snow & then all of a sudden hitting a big clump of powder. This I blame for my only good bail of the day. By two o’clock I’d had enough (twenty-six runs in five hours is not bad going) & I enjoyed the ski-out for the second time in a row – what’s going on with that? I’m not entirely sure why I carried my camera around all day, but I did & felt obliged to take at least one picture. So here’s my car, which was clear of snow when I left it, looking nice & clean on the top half. And that ends the best day I’ve had skiing yet.
As suspected, I bought a SPOT first (before the GPS & helmet-cam). I think this was mostly because I could just wander downtown after work yesterday & get it – GPSs & helmet-cams offer significantly more options & will therefore require research. So now can I check-in & also have a way of getting help if I ever need it in the back of beyond. I don’t think it’ll get much use for a few months, but come roadtrip time it’ll get a thrashing. For now, you can see where I’ve been in the last couple of days – first in Canmore, ice-skating on the pond & today, the Sunshine parking lot.