Monday, January 19, 2015

Rogers Pass - Motel Mayhem

After a long ski hiatus I got back on snow this weekend in Rogers Pass with the ACC Motel Mayhem trip. It was a weekend of firsts - first time skiing in the Pass, first ACC ski trip, first time skiing with Phil and Kathrine, and the first time I seriously regretted not bringing my snorkel on a ski touring trip. We met Friday night and drove out to Golden to stay at the Dream Catcher Hostel. The owners were incredibly friendly and the hostel was clean, cozy and comfortable. I highly recommend staying there if you are ever in Golden. We entertained ourselves with the left over beer from the Ice Review, socializing and planning out where to ski on Saturday. 

We left the hostel just after 8 am and drove up to the Discovery Centre to collect our Wilderness Passes before parking at the Loop Brook parking area. There were lots of groups gearing up, it was going to be a busy day!
One-eyed ski ninja
 We chose to stay away from the glacier and skied up the Elephants Trunk to Bonny Trees. We were a big group of 11 and we passed a few small groups on our way up the ridge. Ahead of us was two more groups of people. It was madness! We dug a few pits and found a facet layer at 80 cm that fractured on our compression test but didn't really move. With that in mind, we skied one at a time, but we had no avalanche activity all day.
Snow is falling and Jenny is happy to be skiing!
 Our big group split into smaller groups to explore the area a bit more. There was some fun mellow skiing and some pretty good powder to be had. The clouds broke up a bit in the afternoon and we were able to see some of the mountains around us. It is a gorgeous area. 
Kyle making his way along the ridge, looking down at the glacier across the valley
Jumping off pillows in the Christmas Tree field
Kathrine checking out the view, wishing she hadn't had pancakes for breakfast
 Unfortunately, not everyone had a great day, Jenna tweaked her knee and had to take it really easy on the ski out. Kathrine was having some stomach issues after eating dairy-laden pancakes for breakfast, not to mention her busted ankle. Regardless, I think that everyone was able to find some good powder! It was a long ski back down to the cars. We had done 1400 m of climbing (not bad for a pretty chill day), and had a lot of terrain to cover to get down. We were able to find some little drops and pillows on the way down, and Kathrine took us through a dense forest that we had to niggle through.
Despite the crowds, there was still some good snow to be found on the ski out
 The first people back to the cars were able to ski out without headlamps, but minutes later it was totally dark. Perfect timing! We made our way back to the hostel for hot showers and a delicious Breakey beef stew that had been simmering in the slow cooker all day, driving everyone else in the hostel crazy. In true potluck style, nobody had brought appetizers and everyone had brought dessert. We had to get the other guests to help us out with all the pies, cheesecakes and crumbles and we still had left overs. I went to bed with tired legs and full of delicious food.

We awoke to a blanket of fresh snow in Golden. When we got to the Discovery Centre, most of the backcountry areas were closed so we had to modify our plans a bit and follow the crowds to Grizzly Shoulder, one of the few spots that was still open. It was snowing hard and there was lots of new snow!
Looking for a creek crossing on our way to Teddy Bear Trees
 We followed a skin track up Teddy Bear Trees. It was getting deeper and deeper as we kept skinning. At 1:30 the alarm rang, it was time to head down so we could get back to Calgary in decent time. We had gained 750 m of elevation from the car, most of it up the steep tree run. We quickly transitioned and dropped in. The snow was instantly over my head. I was getting face shots every second turn and I couldn't stop whooping and hollering. What an amazing time! 
No, I didn't fall, it was just that deep!

The Volkl Nanuks were awesome in the powder! This was the deepest day they have ever seen
Paul finds a stash
I made James do this
We were back at the cars at 3 and able to hit the road. I was smiling all the way home, what an awesome weekend with some great friends!
So stoked on life
SO much excitement!

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