Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Newbies attempt to go Backcountry Skiing

A couple weeks ago I talked Molly into heading out into the back country for a little skiing. Considering we both know nothing about how to do this, it turned out as one would expect. But hey, how are you supposed to learn if you never get out?

Our biggest concern was avalanches. We went to an avalanche awareness clinic a few days prior that convinced Molly that certain death awaited us. I managed to get a very reluctant Molly to consider a route that would be considered more of a cross country ski trail as opposed to a downhill ski tour. Plus the avalanche forecast was favorable. The plan was to take off from Bear Lake TH and head towards Notchtop, keeping a sharp eye out for open 30-40 degree slopes to avoid. Here is a shot of us just leaving the parking lot.

Right off we knew we were in for it. It was cold with a gale force wind coming off of Bear lake. Plus Molly pulled a neck muscle while putting on her skis. I felt clumsy, cold and pretty silly falling down in front of all the tourists walking around in boots and snowshoes. We skinned away from the lake as fast as possible, hoping to leave the crowds (and wind) behind.

It did not take long to figure out that this was hard work! Like any new sport, this was using muscles that apparently did not get used much because we were beat after about 20 minutes. Here is Molly when we decided to turn around.

So I made the silly decision to strip the skins off my skis before heading down. For those not familiar with bc skiing, to get up a the hill you stick this felt like stuff on the bottom of your ski. Then when you are ready to ski down a hill, you pull it off. Well, I grossly overestimated my skiing skill, especially on a narrow packed hiking trail. Molly was able to snowplow like a champ. My method involved desperately grabbing tree limbs.

We made it back to the TH feeling a bit dejected. Next time will hopefully go better. Be the hammer!!


joe pyle said...

Glad you two are finally trying it out! It looks like it will be so much fun once you get it. See you soon!

Dana said...

Once again, every time I read your stories I can't help but think, "Your wife is AMAZING!"