MAST – Ski Touring II

2002-01-21 Monday

The plan was to skin up Orca Bowl in the Lizard Range, but due to extreme avalanche hazard we was forced to surrender to Nature’s powers. Instead we drove up to the end of Island Lake Lodge’s road and aimed to skin up Ridge 2001 and ski down the ridge. After hours and hours of breaking trail and many falls in tree-wells, slick windblown areas, ice sections and other nasties we turned around to ski down. The snow pack was inversed, that means that the top layer is lays on top of a light fluffy layer. This in turn means that your skis will sink through the top layer and will slide in the fluffy, and becomes REALLY hard to turn. We (at least some more than me) had a very bad day and nobody was happy and cheerful when we returned to campus. Bad touring and bad skiing – Yuck!  

2002-01-22 Tuesday

With the worst day in my life in mind (yesterday) I was seriously considering staying home today. But I decided not to, and I am glad that I didn’t. We got an opportunity to go with Brian to Fernie Wilderness Adventures. There we got a cat ride up to avalanche training area, where we jumped of and started our tour. It was VERY steep in sections, while skinning and we had some problems of getting the skins to stay in the snow and not make us slide backwards on our skis. After gaining the majority of the altitude, we toured on a ridge and it begun to snow lightly and it was about –12C. It was a tremendously ski tour, we felt and heard some settlements in the snow pack. This was a hair rising experience, though we all got flashbacks to the avalanche movies where the ground under them disappeared. We didn’t see any natural avalanches during the trip, however. The ski down was quite all right as well, with very nice powder and superb tree skiing. All of us were tired after the beautiful day in the mountains, (also due to the long traverse back to the cabin) but we were all very satisfied with the day.

2002-01-23 Wednesday

I stayed home due to sore feet from the long traverse yesterday.

2002-01-24-25 Thursday-Friday

Today it was planned to Thunders Meadow’s Cabin. However, due heavy snowfall and the avalanche hazard at the extreme this was no longer an option. Rick our guide/instructor gave us a few options to go overnight in the cabin. It ended up to be an overnighter in tents instead of a cabin. We took the Timber Bowl Express lift at Fernie Alpine Resort up to the entrance to Lost Boys Pass. It was not particularly far to skin and the weather was very windy and it was forecasted to become even windier. When we got to a nice ledge where we thought would be a nice spot to put our tents, our instructors Rick and Christina gave us instructions to try to dig snow caves. After a few hours of trials and tribulations a two-man quinzee and a one-man snow cave was dug out. Rick was the owner of the one-man structure and Sarah, Sean and Christina was the creators of the quinzee, but only Sarah and Sean was bold enough to sleep in it.  Rachid and me shared one tent and Christina and Carolina in another.

On the Friday, we packed our gear and headed back. We left our big packs at the bottom of the White Pass Chair and went for a few rides on the hill and around 1.30pm we headed down the hill to leave for the College. We arrived back at the college around 2pm tired but glad over a quite good ending to the ski touring week.

Pictures from the endeavours during the week will be posted in the Gallery as soon as they come available.

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