Christmas Day: Kyle and I spent the day alternating between family Christmas celebrations and frantically attempting to pack for our trip to the Bonningtons.
|The mess that eventually turned into a (relatively) neatly packed truck|
Boxing day: We miraculously arrived at our meeting spot within 15 minutes of David and Tyler (who were driving in from Vancouver). We had an earlier start to the ski in than we had expected so were able to get on the trail before dark. The ski in was straight forward (or so we thought). After parking at Porto Rico road beside the shooting range, we followed the road that had been well traveled by sledders for 3 km before reaching our first junction. It was around that time we had to turn on the headlamps, at the super late time of 4:30. We took the lower (left) fork and continued on for 3 km to the next intersection. All the sledders had continued up to the right so we started breaking trail on the left fork for the final 2 km. The ski in was 8 km and it took us 2 hours and 45 mins on mostly broken trail. If we hadn't been paying attention, it could have been easy to ski right past the hut in the dark because although it is right on the road, the roof is at the same level as the road and it was covered in snow.
We settled in the the cozy hut. When they say it sleeps 4, they mean it!! There is a bunk bed and each bed is just wide enough for two (but it was more comfortable to sleep with our heads at each end of the bed). There was a wood stove and a fold down table that revealed shelves full of dishes and games. Despite its size, it was very functional and warmed up very quickly.
|Welcome to our home for 5 days|
|Huckleberry Hut complete with dishes, pots and pans, a lamp and a wood stove (colemen stove too!)|
Day 2 - 1200 m of elevation - Dominion Peak
We left the hut early and followed the road up the the Midday-Cabin col where we contoured around to Dominion Peak. We toured up to the top and enjoyed a fantastic 800 m run down to the bottom of the valley through moderately spaced trees and lots of fresh powder. After lunch it was time to make our way back up to the col, which turned into a bit of a bushwhack mission, but we got there eventually. We got to ski right to the hut down Cabin Run and quickly got to work on one of the gourmet dinners we had prepared for the trip.
|Kyle breaking trail up Dominion Peak|
|Lots of snow in the Bonningtons at this time of year!|
|Clouds were moving in and out all day, making it hard to see the mountains around us|
|David finds some pow|
|Big tree on our way back up to the col|
Another group arrived as we were making dinner. We had brought a tent for David and Tyler that night, but 6 people cooking in a 4 person hut is cozy. Our other friends were supposed to come in that day, but there was no sign of them. We later learned that they had taken a wrong turn at the first junction and skied up a completely different mountain before turning home as the light started to fade. We were initially worried about them, but there was good cell service at the col and you could even get a few bars of service on the road above the hut so we were able to get in touch with them the next day to see what had happened.
|David and Tyler enjoying some down time after dinner|
|Home for the night for David and Tyler|
Day 3: 1400 m elevation - 3 runs on Midday Peak, one run off Cabin Peak and a night ski on Cabin
Kyle, David and spent the morning putting in some tracks on Midday. We were the only ones skiing in the area so just used our old skin track from the day before to do some laps. The snow was deep and light and we found some steep, open runs which were really fun!
|Mid-day on Midday! The sun is low in the sky this time of year|
|Nearing the top of Midday Peak|
|Getting excited to drop in|
|David in the trees and sweet lines|
|I stepped in a hole!! Lots of snow and so much stoke|
Tyler had taken the day in the hut to recover from a cold. When we returned for a late lunch, he had cut wood, melted snow, boiled water and was getting ready to bake us some cookies. Amazing!
|Khyber the hut hog supervises the cookies|
Day 4: 1800 m elevation - 1 long run off Midday Peak to the road and 2 runs off the very top of Cabin Peak
We woke up on our second to last day to bluebird skies and got our first good view of the area. It was spectacular! We used the good visibility to our advantage and bagged the line right off of the top of Cabin Peak. The stability was great so we were able to enjoy fall line skiing all the way to the hut and left our mark on the most obvious line in the area.
|Raring to go!|
|Hut-top photo op|
|Kyle picks his line on Midday|
|Everywhere we looked was untouched pow|
|Tyler drops into Midday|
|Kyle getting some|
|Tyler farms some powder off Cabin Peak|
|Going up for another lap!|
|Fading light as we head back up Cabin|
|Pretty dark by the time we reached the top|
We dropped in for our last run of the trip with our headlamps for our second night ski in a row. The night before, we had launched our fireworks before going for a ski. We had all brought really bright bike lights which made the night skiing really fun. I think our best run of the whole trip was the last one down Cabin, a 500 metre run of big open slopes just waiting for our tracks. It was heli-ski quality!
|Fireworks on Cabin Peak|
|Night skiing is so much fun and beautiful|
Day 5: We got up early to pack up and go, and skied back down the road in the dark. It wasn't a challenging ski down and we covered the 8 km and 800 m of elevation in 40 minutes. There were a few creeks that we had to cross and the snowmobile trails made for a bumpy ride. We celebrated our successful trip with an awesome breakfast at Full Circle Cafe in Nelson before heading off in different directions for our New Years plans.