Valentine´s Day (or Rocky Horror Powder Show)

Some girls get a card or flowers, or if they are particularly lucky they get taken out to dinner.  Me?  I got a near death experience.  In Tom´s defence, he didn´t actually realise it was Valentine´s Day.  We were wanting to maximise on our trip to Canada as the snow had finally decided to make an appearance, so Tom had done his research and came up with a fantastic ski tour idea on an area called Rohr Ridge near Whistler, described as good tree skiing for storm days.  We had, for us, been pretty organised in that we got up early, got ourselves moving, and were merrily making our drive up to the parking spot when eventually Tom said “this doesn´t look quite right…” No, it didn´t.  Somehow we had missed the crucial (and very obvious) turning and had driven about half an hour in the wrong direction.  There was nothing for it but to turn around and go back and get on the correct road, but this did mean we were then starting our skin up about an hour and a half later than intended.  Just because things don´t happen how you think they should doesn´t mean it´s all wrong though.  Admittedly this theory was stretched to the limits on this occasion!

Through the forest.
Through the forest.

We started the skin up through woods that looked like a scene out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a very pleasant gradual gradient up which suddenly got extremely steep.  And continued and continued.  Very much the case of “are we there yet?

Yes, we are there yet!  The end of a very long skin.
Yes, we are there yet! The end of a very long skin.

Eventually we got to the top, just as two avalanche forecasters were doing their tests on the snow.  Tom was able to ask intelligent questions following his avalanche training course, which was wonderful but didn´t change the news that came out, which was that the storm slab was pretty tetchy.  Apparently it was not possible to stay in trees all the way down Rocky Horror Picture show so  this led to a discussion about whether to walk back down the skin track (which was treed, but as the snow was about waist deep would have been a nightmare), or ski down – arguably the quicker of the two options.  We elected to ski.  The  upside of skiing down was we could follow the tracks of the forecasters, as they  inevitably would be taking the safest route down.  It turned out the sections with open slopes were minimal which was good given the slabs that were sliding between the trees.

Small slab ripped out turning between the trees.
Small slab ripped out turning between the trees.

Given the forecasters were probably born with skis on their feet the route was… challenging.  It was also not quick.  Previous posts may have mentioned that a head torch is always included in the pack?  It took us two hours to climb up the mountain and six to get back down.  However I can´t complain, as although there was a fair amount of side stepping and very little actual skiing (on my part at least), we both did get down in one piece which I very grateful for.  It may not have been the ideal Valentine´s Day, but it´s probably the most memorable – however I’ll be putting in a bid for a nice restaurant next year.

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