A little while ago Jesse Matthewman spent a week in the kootenays backcountry, ski touring and searching out powder. he wrote us a little something, and filmed!
So a hut eh.
heard about these places. Legendary creations that turn everybody
into a saw wielding, wood chopping, societal leper. Needless to say,
I'm none of these. well, maybe the first two. Also there's another part where
you have to walk uphill for 8 hours a day with a pack on and heavy
skis, only to descend through a couple minutes of glory, rinse and
repeat. If that doesn't put hair on your chest I dunno what does. You see, I own a sled. A
little bit of mechanical knowledge gets you deep into terrain (and
into creeks courtesy of kyle) with much less effort.
I’d first found out
about touring three years ago when a family friend offered to take
me. I was rockin' a pair of 195 Hagan titan texes (112-65-90) with
Fritschis and Lange boots, circa 1983. Didn't tour for a year after
that. I picked it up when I finally decided to buy myself some Rossi
S3's and was on and off for a couple years, until the sled was
acquired, at which point I decided that I needed some new skis. So I
made a few pairs and ended up with some fun models. (They're sitting
outside held together with duct tape as I write this.) Now I got some
185 Blogs from Atomic, Dynafits and the whole shebang. Anyways I
It's snowing. A lot.
The wood stove is cranking, and the smell of salmon on the grill and
cornbread in the oven battles for supremacy with the dank stench of
drying touring gear. I have parked myself on one of the huge couches
that surround a handmade cedar coffee table. Actually the whole lodge
is handmade from cedar logs that were milled by the owner, that he
harvested from his 1000 acre parcel. By hand, naturally. Probably
with his teeth. His name is Martin Glasheen, aka Glasheen the
machine, known for having planted over 3 million trees in his 30
years of service as one of the many people responsible for
reforesting cut blocks, after the logging companies desecrate them.
Sporting a huge beard, rosy cheeks and always smiling, he's always
happy to relish you with a crazy tale.
On to the skiing. Yes
there is lots of snow. Yes it snows every night. It's deep. Like real
deep. A few runs I had to remind myself to stop breathing, or yank my
bandana down over my face cause I was ingesting too much snow (fun
fact, you can actually drown from that.) Majestic 1000 meter runs,
steep trees, open bowls, pillows, everything. We skied madly, every
day pounding out at least two or three of these runs, which doesn't
sound like a lot, but believe me, when you're sinking into snow up to
your thigh with every step, it's a lot of work. Snow stability was
bomber for the whole week, despite it being “extroyme” on
avalanche.ca, and we got to slay some areas that were pretty crazy.
One pitch had to be at least 45- 50 degrees, and populated by big
timber (they don't move, I tested this.) It was so steep I had a
taste of Alaska style spines in the trees as my sluff quickly outran
me and chewed troughs down slope. I tend to fall a lot when I ski,
not because of any lack of skill really, just cause sometimes it's
the best option for saving your strength. Take the fall, get back up,
no struggle. Although on this particular slope I chose to give up
right in front of a very formidable branch of the aforementioned big
timber. I didn't stop to think that these trees were probably in
excess of 500 years old, being cedars, and are extremely
tough. So as I tried to go logging with my face at speed, the branch
decided it was best to pull a full clothesline on me, and throw me a
good 15 feet down, to be engulfed by sluff and carried another 20
That's pretty much the
theme for the whole week. Lots of steep skiing, lots of good food,
beer, and company, and a little bit of bootcamp. If you're thinking
of going on a hut trip, give the good people at Valkyr adventures a
call! Check out the edit, coming soon!