Monday, March 12, 2018

Elizabeth Parker Extravaganza

The annual Elizabeth Parker Hut trip was a definite success. It was a bit of a quieter trip this year due to the smaller group, but the snow was excellent and it was fun to reconnect with Emily and Trevor's friends. Thanks to some decent stability, we were able to make a trek up to the top of Schaffer Bowl and ski some fantastic turns right down to the lake. So good in fact, that we lapped the lower bowl all Saturday afternoon and returned on Sunday for some more fresh turns.
Touring up towards McArthur Lake on our approach to Schaffer Bowl
I started the skin into the hut on Friday night totally emotionally exhausted from a long week of work and lots of driving back and forth to Calgary. When we arrived at the trailhead, I was tired and grumpy. I wanted to get back in the car, drive back to Calgary and go to bed. About 5 km in, my mental status had totally changed. I went from snarky and unpleasant to laughing and joking with Kyle. I felt energized and alive. It's amazing what a bit of exercise and night-time air will do to boost the mood. Being in the mountains helps me clear my mind and leave behind the stress of the week. I often forget how therapeutic my weekends away really are.

Kyle and I made good time into the hut on Friday night and stayed up late chatting with the crew who had already arrived. People had been trickling in all evening. The last to arrive were Emily and Trevor, who had left after work from Calgary! They didn't get in until after the last of us had gone to bed... sometime around 2 am. But, eager as always, they were the first ones up and were raring to go. We mobilized the group and made our way up to Schaffer Lake. The bowl above was untouched and very inviting. The ski up to Schaffer Bowl wasn't too bad at all. The light was flat and we had to be careful to avoid the large cornices on the ridge, but we made good time to the top with a huge group!
Epic reflection in Andy's shades

Getting psyched at the top of Schaffer Bowl
When it came time to drop in, we couldn't see a thing. Kyle went first and was surprised to find excellent snow. The group followed, whooping with delight and high-fiving when we regrouped at the bottom of the run.
Fresh turns and falling snow
Some of the group returned to the hut to investigate the beer situation, while others stuck around for a few more laps of the fluffy stuff on the lower slopes of the bowl, a quick 45 min lap. Eventually we all made our way back to the hut where we gorged on appetizers and swapped stories about the day. Extravagant hut dinners started to appear. Taking full advantage of the oven in the hut, Kyle and I had brought ingredients for flatbread pizzas. It was a feast and the festivities, including some watercolour painting, lasted well into the night. Fortunately, the other hut users were able to retire to the smaller sleeping hut once they were tired of our antics!
Saturday afternoon crew out for another lap
Sunday morning brought blue skies and a few headaches for those who had overindulged. We took our time making a big breakfast before hitting the slopes again for a morning pow lap.
Good morning Elizabeth Parker Hut!
Great views in the sunshine
Cooking up a fancy Sunday morning pancake breakfast
Conditions were perfect and we were all smiles after another great weekend at EPH. The 12 km ski out "down" the mostly flat logging road was a bit brutal with all the new snow we had received. Kyle and I ended up skinning up for parts of it when our arms got too sore from pushing along with our poles.
Heading out to Schaffer Lake for some more fresh turns
Emily is stoked to be out touring in the sun
Cory on the skin track
Cory getting after it
Emily finding some powder
Excellent snow, company, food and views! Thanks to Em and Trev for another awesome trip to EPH!