Caren Ware's Blog

February 6, 2013

Lessons learned.

I learned a few things today in my second venture backcountry skiing.  It takes a lot of athleticism and conditioning to ‘skin’ your skis to the base of the Tetons… than even more than that to punch your way up a mountain.  Our destination was a place they coined “25 SHORT”.  The ski line to come down is 25 feet short of 10,000 feet.  It was my first real day of relying on my self and my new equipment.  I dropped my water bladder and it spilled out.  Had I been on a long haul back country venture I would have had to boiled down snow for new water.  I also learned that lakes freeze so solid you can cross them, but they develop a ‘lake’ layer just under the last layer of ice that you can crash through to and get wet enough to be in trouble back here.  The reward of a day out in the backcountry is the backcountry.  It can be serene, quiet, peaceful, stirring.  It can be dangerous.  As the temps rise so does the chance for mountain sides of snow to slide.  Experience tells you to stay on lines near the trees.

When I finally got to the highest point on ’25 Short”  it was time to convert the nordic set up to downhill, and the chance to SKI the mountain and its virgin snow.  I pulled the skins off the skis, twisted the binding to lock in and stepped in.  I went to do the same with the other ski…and it wasn’t there.  I looked all around my feet, bewildered.   A track lead down, down the steep slope and into a ravine. I had knocked my ski off its perch and it quietly took the thrill ride down without me.   There is no way to ski in thick powder on one ski. I had to straddle my lone ski and toboggan down to my lost ski.  So much for all the physical outlay to get to the top of a mountain…to be reduced to sliding and IMAG0217 IMAG0216 IMAG0218 IMAG0220 IMAG0222 IMAG0225 IMAG0226 IMAG0231tobogganing, and tumbling down.  At least I was able to retrieve the ski and appreciate that the protocol is to turn the skis upside down on slopes so the bindings act as a brake and it doesn’t slide.  I still can feel that stunned , and very stupid feeling when I looked down and that ski was gone!

 

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