Monday, April 1, 2013

Fairy Meadow Brain Dump

Bohle dropping the pow
On those cold, early mornings, standing above a face of untouched fluff, a chemical reaction inside my head starts to etch a permanent image of that moment in my memory.  I can recall those times when everything falls perfectly into place and I drop into bottomless, blower pow (or even coastal cement), as if it happened just last week.  Like a rolodex, I can flip back through 35 years of history, pulling out cards on individual runs, complete with notations on snow conditions, mental state, and partners.  The human brain works in mysterious ways . . . especially on powder days.
It’s a phenomenon that, for me, is unique to skiing and, to a certain extent, climbing.  Am I the only one who experiences this unique sensation?  I wish I could predict in advance when it will click into place so I could hook up my brain to a computer.  Maybe the screen would light up like a Christmas tree.  Maybe it would go black (how much blacker could it get?).  Maybe rainbows and ponies would go dancing across the monitor.  But for some reason, I can recall all the little details from these individual runs from as far back as 1987-88. 

Recently, my brain was on etch a sketch ovder drive for an entire week in the Northern Selkirks of British Columbia.  Based out of the incredible Fairy Meadow Hut north of Rogers Pass, we gorged ourselves on runs of faceshots and cold, fluffy snow set amongst towering granite peaks and old-growth forests.  Perfect snow, a perfect setting and perfect company made for one of those memorable experiences that will stay permanently filed away in my mental rolodex for the rest of my life.  That quest for timelessness inspires our adventures, and the sweet taste of success holds us over until our next vacation.

Brian pulled together some good video clips.  Check it out:

Fairy Meadows from Brian Litmans on Vimeo.

I’ll let the photos take care of the rest.  My only advice is this – go!  You won’t be disappointed.  When the weather sucks, ski the pow.  On the bluebird days, explore the high alpine.  In between, drink all the booze you flew in on the helo.  What could be better?

Fairy Meadow Hut Info
Views of the Canadian Rockies from Golden, BC

Inside and outside the bird

Shots of Kinbasket Lake on the flight in.  Check out the monster slide paths down to the lake shore. 

On our planned drop off day, a low ceiling had us concerned, but our skilled helo pilot managed to get us in.  Low in the valley it was mist and overcast skies.  But when we rose up over the last ridge line and descended towards the hut, the snow was coming down. 

When we landed, it was nuking!  We had two feet of fresh, light powder on the first day. 

Welcome to the Fairy Meadow Hut
We spent the first couple of days wading through deep snow with some tough visibility at times, but the skiing was awesome.  The prior week saw a couple of feet of heavy snow, and the light pow on top made for a stable snowpack. 

Up in the storm and down in the powder.
Jon Haftel at the entrance to the Meadow Chute with Double Top towering over Swan Creek

The Practice Slopes - a 600 ft face immediately out the back door of the hut.

Happy times!

Skinning back up from the bottom of the old-growth

The snow eventually gave way to sun and blue skies and we bolted for the alpine.  We toured up the Echo Glacier towards Friendship Col and then summitted Sentinel Peak.

On the first bluebird day, we climbed up to Friendship Col en route to the summit of Sentinel Peal
John Connor on the SW Ridge of Sentinel Peak with Mt. Sir Sanford in the background

Views from the summit of Sentinel Peak
A little sloughage
Senitnal Peak and turn descending from Friendship Col
After skiing back down from Friendship Col, we toured across the basin and then up this beautiful ramp towards the col to the east of Quadrant Peak.

Run two for the day found us on the beautiful ramp below Quadrant Peak

 After a bluebird day in the alpine, more snow fell overnight and we retreated back into the trees for another couple of days of bottomless turns. 

The, on the final day, the weather cleared once again and we headed up on the Granite Glacier destined for the Unicol.

 I think this is Mt. Tsar

 Skinning up the moraine of the Granite Glacier

 Cheech on the skin up to Unicol

 Traversing the slopes of Colossal Peak towards the Unicol

 Approaching the Col

 At the Col with Unicorn Peak and the Horn in the background

 Looking into the awe inspiring Selkirks

 Team Litmans/Dalton

 An attempt at switch gone horribly wrong!

We finished off the final day with beers and a beach party on the back porch complete with a jibber-style kicker.

 Check it out dude!




 John Connor

Haftel throws the kiss ass blaster off the kicker

And the next morning, we got picked up by the bird.

Adios Boys!

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