“Why is my life like a ski movie?!” Ian shouted as we skinned up the creek. The past seven days of skiing have been magical, and seeing as it’s continuing to dump here in Bozeman, I don’t expect anything but magical days for the foreseeable future. This past Sunday, Gerrit Egnew invited Christian and I on a “cabin trip” which I am conditioned to call “hut trip,” thanks to Colorado and my parents. He had rented the Beaver Creek cabin in the Madison range from the 13th to the 17th, and who wouldn’t want to go explore new meowtains and sleep in a cabin? So Sunday morning, Ian, Kirra, Daniel, Gerrit, Christian and I loaded up my Subaru and Gerrit’s truck, Ian’s sled in tow, and drove south. The skin to the cabin was made nice by the fact Ian was willing to haul gear and people up the 4 mile road.
Once the six of us had made it to the cabin, it was only noon so we figured it would be worth it to explore our surroundings. We hiked up the hill directly behind the cabin and found lots and lots of down trees and a super unstable snowpack, but the avalanche report could have told us that. After seeing what we saw in our snowpits, we were on a mission to find low angle meadows, which were hard to see beyond the forest that was all around us. The skin up had proven that there were some majestic lines to be skied, just not with conditions as they were. We hiked farther back and up a few hilly ridges before finding a big burn area with more down trees. From that ridge top we could see meadows that looked like what we wanted to ski. We made our way over to the next ridge line and seeing as we were running out of daylight, decided to ski what we had found. The slope was a bit over 30 degrees but it was one steep drop and then it flattened out, so Gerrit, Daniel and Ian sent it. They started some sluffs but nothing major. I followed Christian’s line to the left, and even there we triggered a small slab. Skiing didn’t last long until we had to put on our skins and climb back over the ridge to our cabin over, you guessed it, more down trees. I think I learned how to climb over trees pretty well these past few days.
We celebrated our first outing with some beer from the pony keg that Gerrit had brought, Bozone Amber never tasted so good; boots still on my feet, helmet on, in the middle of the forest with endless untouched snow. Life doesn’t really get much better. That night we feasted on tacos while Gerrit did his Mitch Hedberg impression…I’ve never heard someone imitate that man so well, my mouth hurt from how hard I was laughing. I introduced the group to “Odds Are,” a somewhat awful game that has landed me in a snowmaking pond, one of Kirra’s friends shaving her whole head, and another friend sleeping with the recycling in his bed for a whole week. Needless to say it was a hit and Ian ended up doing a naked backflip off the kicker he had built earlier in the day. Impressive is an understatement.
Monday we embarked on what would turn into a 5 hour skin adventure up a creek, over countless logs, log bridges, and eventually an amazing run that made all of the ridiculousness worth it. The six of us maintained such positive attitudes that never once did I question what I was doing or why I was there. Every minute of this trip all I could think about was how much I love skiing.
When we finally couldn’t ski anymore and had to give into skin-town to get us back home, we realized that we had taken just about the longest route possible to ski what we had skied. We picked up on the trail which took us to a trail head that was about a quarter mile from the cabin. Oops. But we had fun. Back at the cabin, Gerrit insisted we finish the keg because Ian, Kirra, Christian and I were headed out on Tuesday with the sled and hauling out a pony keg didn’t sound like the best thing for Daniel and Gerrit. We were also supposed to be joined by Gerrit and Daniel’s roommate Reef, so we figured the keg would be gone easily, right? Wrong. Christian suggested “Cheers Governor” to finish it off, and by 9pm, we had all done naked laps around the cabin and had a generally hilarious time. Plus Ian was super interested in tele skiing so I let him put on my boots and skis and take a quick run behind the cabin. Naturally I followed him, but on his gear, alpine. that was the third time in my 12 seasons of tele-ing that I had put on alpines. But this time is was dark and I wasn’t wearing pants. Casual. I tried to explain how to tele to Ian, but he kind of just sent it in any way he could and ya know, it didn’t look too bad. Rewriting all of this out is making me laugh out loud by the way. We’re ridiculous and I love it.
Tuesday we really had to make it count. The sun came out for the first time, and we had our sights set on a ridge full of trees. The side closest to us was a big avalanche run out zone including a low angle meadow and we figured if all else failed, we could at least ski the meadow. Skinning up the first slope that would take us up the ridge proved to be a lot more dangerous than we thought. Christian took a step that propagated the whole hill, and when we found a way back down the hill Daniel took a step that resulted in the loudest and longest sounding whompf I’d ever heard. The grumbling, cracking sound it made made my stomach drop and all I could think about was how much I wanted to be in the meadow below us. We were so lucky nothing slid, and Kirra, Daniel, and I picked our way down to the meadow while Ian, Gerrit, and Christian took a closer look at the snow and dug a pit. Once on the meadow, Kirra found a log jam that looked like a perfect place to build a jump. So we spent the next 10 minutes building a kicker that we all proceeded to huck for the next two hours.
We got back to the cabin around 3pm and the four of us packed up our stuff while Daniel and Gerrit prepared to have the four person cabin all to themselves. Ian towed us all out behind the sled and as we headed down the road we found Reef! He was just a day late. I’m sure those guys were stoked when he found his way into the cabin…as I write this I still haven’t heard from them but I’m sure everything is gucci and they probably got some sick skiing in. We made it back to the cars and put the ball on my car so I could tow the trailer…sorry mom! And made it all the way back to Bozeman without trailer lights…turns out Outbacks don’t have a place to plug those in. I’m just as surprised as you we didn’t get pulled over.
And then it snowed. And snowed. So Marissa, Jenny and I slid around Bridger yesterday and well, it continued to snow…so I stayed an extra day in Bozeman and skied all day again today! Powder giggles. Faceshots. Choking on snow. Crashing. Snow in my boots. In my gloves. In my helmet. SNOW WAS AND IS EVERYWHERE. And I can’t control myself.
I’ve skied for seven days in a row and if I didn’t have to drive to Steamboat tomorrow, I wouldn’t stop. And I can’t wait to get home because they’ve been getting dumped on, too. YAY WINTER!!
And I will leave you with one last thought. KNEE PADS. Fellow tele-ers, today I hit a lot of rocks. And one of those was with my left knee. I was wearing knee pads and it still hurt. A lot. It made me cry and it’s still tender to bend. My knee pads kind of cover my whole knee cap and then skinny up and expand out again to protect just under my knee cap, and I hit it just right so that the rock hit mainly knee pad but also exactly where the pad gets skinny again. I can’t even imagine what would have happened had I not been wearing them. This is also my first season where I’ve worn them consistently, so make sure if you wear them, wear them always! Broken knees are no fun, so don’t let it happen to you!