Day Two –

Ya know, everyone says that the new Bond film Casino Royale is a great movie. I just watched it 1.5 times and I have to say I disagree. It’s got a pretty unconvincing plot and none of the suaveness of previous Bond movies. Just my luck, it is playing again as the only movie on my flight from Chicago to Seattle and my laptop only has enough juice for another couple hours, probably less if I start using it to play video from it.

Anyway, Day Two.

Day Two started off pretty much the exact same as Day One, except we decided to head for Avalanche Mtn, just about a mile west of our hotel. With a name like Avalanche Mtn, you’d think it’d be part of the permanently closed area of Rogers Pass, but it isn’t.

Again with the skinning, we started off on a flat section that followed a river to the hill. At that point, the skin track jumped into the trees and going up and quick. As I mentioned earlier, skins are those things you put on the skis to allow you to go one direction, forward. Each one is basically a long, ski shaped piece of material with adhesive on one side, and short fibers on the other. The fibers are arranged in such a way that they are smooth in one direction, and very rough in the other. Because of this, you can get a surprising amount of traction with your skis in the snow.

Despite everything I just said, if the slope is too steep, you slide backwards. There’s a limit to their ability. Turns out that the skin track we were following was pushing the boundaries of their stickiness. BJ and I had the most trouble, especially on the upper half as the skins started to load up with ice on the bottom. Al and Gabe faired better and made it to the lunch spot probably 20 minutes ahead of us. It was a frustrating morning with thoughts of turning around, but we stuck with it. The density of the forest also did NOT seem like something that would be fun to ride through.
After a short lunch, we started up the alpine bowl and while it was a lot of work, it wasn’t nearly as humbling. We stopped for many 30 second breaks but made it up to the ridge line within another hour or so. By this point we had probably climbed about 3k or so ft of vertical. A good days effort!

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

We had thoughts of doing a short run in the bowl, but the thought of skinning back up the bowl combined with the deteriorating snow conditions on the sun-baked route we’d be taking home cured our appetite. Instead, we took off the skins, converted back to boards, and rode about half way down through a bit of chunky avy debris on a nice, soft run to a counter where we stopped to make tea and enjoy the beautiful, bluebird day. It felt like spring skiing, in early March.

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

Al proved to be the workhorse and actually skied down another 1000′ or so and hiked back to our spot while we ate cookies and muffins and brewed up some earl gray with the jetboil. Afterwards, we finished our run down to the road. Not as nice as the run before (and a bit scary in parts..) but we got to see where a small avy slab had broken off maybe just a day or two before.

Rogers Pass - Avalanche Mtn

A short walk back to the car and we were back to the hotel within 30 minutes. We decided to make this an “easy” night of light drinking, dinner at the hotel and a good night’s sleep. After all, we needed to wake up early, checkout, and be at Kicking Horse by 9am, a full hour’s drive away AND we would lose an hour in the time zone shift, meaning we’d need to be out the door by 7am.

After a nice, long soak in the hot tub, we watched a few episodes of “The Office” off laptop with a pre-dinner cocktail of Ruby Red Grapefruit juice and the liter of vodka Gabe had picked up at the border. I’m sad to report that an hour and a half later, the vast majority of the vodka was gone and we were in a bad way.

We hobbled to the only restaurant in town, the one at our hotel and immediately started in on the salad & soup bar. Apparently, you are supposed to order first before hitting the salad bar and the waitress was not that happy with our ambition.

The menu had basically four choices of which all were like 19.99 CDN. The two I remember were sirloin steak and lasagna. When we asked about the steak, the waitress said it was the chef’s “Specialty”. After eating this, we decided the chef’s specialty was taking a bad piece of old meat and cooking it way too long. The meat was not something I’d recommend, though he did manage to make proper 90 degree grill marks.

I’m not sure what happened at this point other than I was so tired I started to fall asleep waiting for the bill. In the end, I couldn’t make it and stumbled back to my room to lay down in bed. I believe more drinks were made and maybe some comedy ensued. I don’t really know. At some point I asked the Japanese receptionist for a new card key as Brian and I kept losing them (we must’ve gone through 4 or 5 in those 3 days, all of which we found later) and I thanked her with a “arigato gozaimashta” at which she smiled either the “aw sweet” or “what a drunk retard” smile. Probably the latter but I’ll believe in my head that it was the former.

I just know that the following morning, all the vodka was drunk…and this was to be our “easy” night.

Advertisements