Sunday, December 21, 2008

Skiing into 2009

In the past month I have spent 20 days on my skis. Some days were definitely better than others, with conditions ranging from bony to frigid to plentiful powder. My previous life as a rock climber feels like a dream, and my biceps are shrinking steadily while my thighs expand. It's an annual thing for me, this migration of bulk south from my shoulders and arms to my legs and ass as my activities shift from clinging to rock faces to plowing uphill and down through unimaginably deep snow. Come spring, all that hard earned leg muscle will have to repeat the journey, this time against the pull of gravity, back up to my arms so I can cling to tufas in Spain.

The month began at Mustang Powder, a plush snowcat skiing operation in the Monashee Mountains of BC where the ACMG mechanized ski guide training was being held. Myself and 23 other candidates were educated on such topics as proper powder skiing hand placement, correct intonation while saying "follow me", swooping in and rescuing clients from near death on precarious cliffs, instructing clients to spoon their tracks no more than 17.5 cm apart and how to drink from shot glasses glued to a ski without getting unsightly alcohol dribbles on your lodge wear. As it turned out, the skiing was pretty terrible what with a seriously shallow snowpack and wacky temperature changes, luckily the lodgings were comfortable, the food was great and the company was FIRST CLASS.

Here are some photos from my ACMG experience:

I might not be the slickest ski in the snowcat,
but even I know a helicopter isn't supposed to land like this!

Chris clicking in while our transport heads to the pickup

On the ridge with the valley fog creeping in.s
The girl candidates Erika, Me, Veronika, and Erica participating in some non-ACMG sanctioned good times, flanked by a few of our gracious hosts at Mustang Lodge.

All I can say is that the dark sunglasses are not because it is bright out.
The whole ACMG crew and Boris the powder hound pose down on the final morning.

When my head finally stopped pounding I decided to head out skiing at my family's ski touring lodge in the Valhalla Mountains ( with my husband Evan and his clients Richard and Kathy from Seattle. The snow was decidedly better, the only challenge was staying warm in the major artic outflow conditions that brought -25 celcius temperatures.

Evan touring with Big Sister Mt. in the background

Sun and snow, what could be better! Too bad my feet are bricks of ice!

Kathy, Evan and Benny taking in the views at the Rugged-Big Sister Col

Finally, I have made a goal to put together some video clips periodically so I improve my editing skills. Here is my first effort using clips from the past month.