Monthly Archives: January 2009

50cm

Monday January 5th is the day the kids go back to school, and the workers to their jobs. There’s been lots of fresh snow and good times, but I’m always glad when the holidays are over and the line-up in the morning becomes full of people I  know. The forecast looked promising for 15-20cm overnight, so in anticipation I took yesterday off, waxed my skis, and had a mellow evening. It had been snowing steadily since 6pm, and at first light there appeared to be over 20cm on my truck, but when the snowphone reported 50cm overnight I had to call a second time to confirm what I’d heard. Sure enough, 50cm of cold light powder snow and clearing skies. Don had called in to say it was too dangerous to drive to work in Nelson, and it was Cam’s turn to ski, so we charged and choked and laughed our way down all our favourite lines. I saw snorkels being used, and a few times on my first run I wished I had one. On our second run, the sun came out, and I felt like I could fly. After 11 runs my legs couldn’t turn any more, and I stumbled home, totally spent and satisfied. One of the best days ever.

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Touring Around.

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Jeff  – Dropping the last pitch on Mt Grey.

Most of the new snow inbounds got tracked out yesterday, so we headed out into the local backcountry this morning to check out conditions. A strong north wind last night had blasted the chutes on Mt Roberts, but we still found some powder turns down the Dogs-leg. The south aspect on Mt Grey was in much better condition, smooth and soft with lots of space to lay down fresh tracks.  

After a few well publicised deaths  I’m hearing hourly warnings about  high avalanche danger on the CBC. While we could see a natural release over on Record Ridge (it appeared a side loaded pocket on West aspect), in our local area it’s certainly not the hair-trigger conditions you’d imagine from the hype. Persistent deep instability can certainly lure you into false confidence, but with experince and a level head it’s certainly manageable. Exagerating and overreacting (Whistler and Grouse are reportedly enforcing area closures with criminal penalties) to risk in an attempt to protect people from themselves, only retards the development of culture of expertise and personal responsibility – which I believe is the only defensible and potentially effective approach to limiting avalanche fatalities.

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