Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Skiing above Cloud 9

Above the Clouds
Despite the lack of fresh powder, the glorious views above the clouds take precedence to any whining from us powder hounds.  The temperature in January have been almost Spring like with an inversion.  So it is up, up, and away from the dull gloomy filled valley to Sunny and "warmer" temperatures.

A look from the top of  the Champagne chair.

This day we are skiing the groomed with only a tease of fresh tracks.  As seasoned ski bums, we still can find the powder stash.  Panorama has many secret, or not so secret playgrounds anxiously waiting for the determined snow seeker.

Deb and I found just that.  Right on the left of Stumbocks!!!!  Deb made the plunge first!!!!  Then it was my turn.

Snow Creatures?

The creature on the right somewhat looks like a frozen Ewok from the movie "Star Wars"  We certainly are not angelic Snow Angels!

Just resting!
Ice trees Along the trail
Bob also found some fresh powder waiting for him in Founder's Ridge.  Another one of our favorite play grounds.  How he found a bottomless pit of fresh snow and airspace is beyond me.  And yes, I have the camera.  All tangled up, inverted... quite the invitation for a photo shoot.....h'mmmm....time to try, reluctantly help him out while trying to  hold the giggles inside.  I unclip my skis, only to find out just how much snow there is!  Quickly, I shrink in size as one leg sinks to my hip into a bottomless well of brush, air and snow.

Now both of us are stuck.  With a little help from our friends, like overstuffed infants, we try to upright ourselves and finally take our first steps out of  the family of pine trees.
Australia Day @ Panorama
Suspension bridge @ Dog Lake

It is now the end of January (a blink of an eye) Wow.  

Wednesday is hike day as we join the Invermere hiking club to Dog Lake, Kootenay National Park for a day of snowshoeing.  Again, mild temperatures, moderate snowshoe trails and wonderful people.
We meet at the Black Forest Restaurant to car pool mid morning.  (Valley Time....10.00 a.m.) A big group today.
Crossing Dog Lake 
 What can I say?  The scenery is magnificent.  But, very different in Northwestern Ontario.  The trees are majestically tall and thin, due to altitude and climate.  Tamaracks are native to the area.  Sort of pine trees that do loose their needles. In the spring, it is a burst of yellow as the new growth appears.

Dog Lake is approx. 1 hour up and in Kootenay National Park.  Snow shoeing may look easy, but try to walk on deep snow without them.  It doesn't take long into the trail for the blood to begin flowing, as our extremities quickly begin to thaw.

Our appetites  increase with each footstep.
 Lunch time! What a beautiful dining establishment!
Lunch time @ Dog Lake
Complete with seating and a view of the frozen lake.  A great day!
Rumour has it; Snow is coming tonite.  Time to rest.
We awake the next morning.  And, yes!  It's true.  Fresh snow.
Back on the mountain just Bob and myself.  Our time today.  No photo's....just fun.  But we were soooo tired, we could only ski half the day.
That should have been a sign.  Bob began to feel, well. not himself.  Long story short.  He developed the "Man Sized" chest cold.  He did manage to recover after 8 days of sleeping, resting, all without skiing.  Hard to to when the minds says GO and the body digs its heels in with a definite NO WAY!
Sunday, I went solo as Bob was still recovering.  Hind sight millionaires us humans, I should have stayed home as well...
Lindsay and I met at the base of the mountain as usual, realising that Millennium has been freshly groomed. So, after a warm up run on Outrider, we stop and look up the bottom of Millennium.  "Not in bad shape" So the decision was made.  Up the Sunbird chair, then the Champagne chair.  We reach the top of Millennium. We are committed on the first turn.  No way out now.  The grooming was horrendous with an assortment of death cookies scattered across the first steep pitch.  We made it successfully.  Next turn was full of tree tops from pine tree saplings.  Or as we call them Snow Snakes.  My right ski caught on to a sapling and never let go.  I heard a crack.  Immediately, I knew...  I tried to stand up, as both skis were still attached to my boots. (another bad sign)  The one ski should have released. I hesitantly asked Lindsay to call Ski Patrol to the rescue, as my right foot was unable to withstand any weight.
A few minutes later, James, my Knight in Red armour arrives with he mighty sled.  (riding in a patrol sled is not on my bucket list) After a quick assessment, James called for extra manpower, as Millennium is quite steep, especially this pitch. An interesting experience as James wraps me up in a blanket, tarp, strapped in like a Burrito.  Quite comfortable!  A different perspective of the mountain from ground level.
The personal history of this long and steep trail isn't too forgiving.  So, now I arrive in Emergency where after x rays, it is confirmed. I have a fractured ankle.  Not severe, but nevertheless, I won't be skiing for 4 weeks. Not a good way of beginning February.  But, being the ideal optimist.... it could be worse.  If timing is anything....the temperature has taken a nose dive as it has been -30 most days.  The chair lift at Panorama has been delayed most mornings until 11:30 a.m.  Too cold to ski and too cold to operate the chair.  The Sochi Olympics have begun, and I have (for some very strange reason) brought along extra knitting. Like I say, things could be drastically worse.  The Dr. is also very optimistic and feels I will be skiing the beginning of March.  Lets hope so.  Spring skiing is glorious!  Nelson and Whitewater are still in the cards.
I'll be back.....

 I will be a good girl and heal quickly.

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