Friday, February 28, 2014

Dispatch from the winter of contrasts.

As a ski guide and ski touring lodge owner winter always passes in a blur.  A day of sitting on my butt in front of the computer is the exception not the rule, and time seems to slow during these days as I get caught up on my inside jobs. I revel in this time - I can almost hear my leg muscles say "ahhhhhhhh" as they sink into the couch and my normally ski-boot clad feet say "thank goodness" as my toes spread into the furry depths of my slippers. It's nice to have a bit of time for hang-boarding, yoga, and feels great to achieve that feeling of caught-upness that comes when I tackle my to-do list.

But as I look outside, at the winter sun reflecting off the snow I know that I won't make it a whole day. Afterall, my dog needs his walk so I'll use him as an excuse and get out for a run or two. Hopefully I'll finish this little post first!

My winter up to now has been characterized by extremes: A January that was both sunny and crazy warm, followed by sunny and crazy cold. A long drought followed by 150cm of snow in a week. Two all woman's ski trips, two all men's ski trips. A month of not leaving the quiet isolation of Valhalla Mountain Touring followed by a marathon drive to Snowqualmie Pass Washington to teach a ski clinic for the Alpental Vertfest. The youngest VMT guest (Kai Everett - 7 weeks) and the oldest (Bob Workum - 82). Pushing my skis up the mountain in thigh deep snow at VMT and getting whisked to the top by a snowcat at Retallack. Hero skiing in 30 degree boot top and sidestepping my way down an icy 45 degree couloir.

Most of my time and energy is spent sharing my experiences with the guests I am guiding, hence the lack of blogging. Even my best buddies in Squamish don't hear from me for months at a time. However even though I am working, being surrounded by people who are on their cherished ski vacation time is infectious! As long as I get plenty of sleep, don't drink too much and carve out a few minutes of "me time" each day I truly feel this is the best job I could ever have.

Here are a few of my favourite moments from the past few months:

The epitome of winter bliss. Rosy cheeks, tired legs and great friends to celebrate with. "Porch beers" was part of the daily schedule of the VMT Women's Week. 

It's tempting to get frustrated when it's not snowing, but far more fun to revel in the sun! 

Team K2 Anex 108 poised to shred the Baron Bowl, the first time in years that it's both been in stable conditions AND had good snow!

Happy guests post-Baron Bowl shred. "I can't believe we just skied that!"

Guide's day off with my sweetie means going exploring in our south tenure looking for new lines. 
Evan poised for the first descent of the Hourglass Right above Shannon Lake. 
Bhumi Mountain Camp participants skinning across the Secret Valley at Sentry Lodge
Up-and-coming photographer Zoya Lynch shredding at Sentry Lodge

Caroline skis down from Profanity Col, Sentry Lodge. 

Bhumi Mountain Camp Sentry Lodge crew. What a pleasure to work with these beauties. 

She kept us safe during the Valentine's Day week. 

Guests at Retallack enjoying some ridge time between snow-cat assisted laps. Only girls on the mountain were the guides!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Life

Spain seems quite far away now. My hands haven't touched rock in well over a month but I honestly haven't even missed climbing that much. The days have been full of skiing, ski guiding and dealing with the variety of day to day operational tasks at Valhalla Mountain Touring. I am so grateful for the fact that my winter job keeps me out in the fresh air, exercising and enjoying the mountains, problem solving and learning new things every day. But I admit, most nights I fall into bed utterly exhausted.

Evan put together a little video of some highlights of our winter season so far.