G3's newest athletes Orry Grant didn't waste any time kicking off his winter season. Him and a strong crew of skiers headed up to the Asulkan Hut in Rogers Pass on Nov 17 to jump start the winter season. They're glad they did...
30cms of low density fluff blanketed what is usually the Asulkan valley superhighway skintrack. Trail breaking wasn't going to be easy with 60lb packs, but 3 more days of skiing, and the promise of a warm hut to our group of 10 at the end of it made the slog more bearable. We passed through the mousetrap spaced so wide that you only have the little voice in your head to talk to. He doesn't like the look of that massive start zone above the group. He also doesn't like how that 747 sounds exactly like the rumble of an avalanche overhead. Past the trap into the safety of the tree triangle, and we begin to see exactly how good our trip is going to be. We were prepared for mid November, and rewarded with mid Jan conditions!
PHOTOS OF OR BY ORRY GRANT
The heater won't start. Pilot light is going, the stove and the lights that run off of the same propane line are working perfectly, but still nothin'. Its happened before - we can tell by the 'what to do when the stove doesn't work' instructions on the wall... those don't work either. We're not soft - we're still in a beautiful backcountry hut with lights, and stoves, and people for body heat, but, to be honest, roughing it just wasn't in the cards for this weekend.
Long, lazy, WARM nights playing Yahtzee and reflecting on the skiing of the day was more what we had in mind (not to mention the +5degree sleeping bag in my 60lb pack.) Well... grin and bear it... and of course take shifts trying to get the stove to work.
3 hours later group one is enjoying a dinner of Miso soup, Nori rolls, and warm sake (I wasn't kidding when I said no roughing it). Just as we're serving up the first batch of rolls, a well placed kick starts the stove up and we're all on our feet cheering! Time to drink some of this booze that we packed so far!
The next day is spent shredding the trees below the hut. Plenty of room for our group of 10. It feels just like midwinter in the Kootenays; recklessly tearing through the trees laughing, airing, and intentionally snaking your friends lines. My new Highballs feel snappy and playful. Nothing like brand new gear on a powder day. Group two's turn to cook... mmmm butter chicken.
The skies clear up for day 3 and we're able to go explore the alpine. The whole group goes to Asulkan Pass and enjoys beautiful low angle heli ski lines all the way down to the hut. After a quick lunch a few of us head right back out and get a few more laps in. Toilet bowl, to triangle Morraine, to a tree triangle at dusk... big day followed by the final groups delicious tortilla soup... and of course we had to finish all the wine, scotch, beer, sake, fireball, and sangria YHATZEE!
Another beautiful day for the walk out, and dare I mention leaving everyone in the dust with my handy new Onyx bindings allowing me to switch between tour & ski mode on the fly. Score. Sad to be leaving such a wonderful place, but excited that the trip was such a success. Everything came together. Most of all, the people made the trip stand out. Good snow always helps, but without the good people, who's line would you snake?