Earlier this week we thought we’d head to Red Heather for some meadow skipping in the spring sunshine, an outing that turned out not to be particularly memorable from a skiing perspective. A swift skin up the trail to the hut revealed that the increasing slop I’d been noticing in my boots on inbounds days had started to affect their touring performance; both heels developed nasty blisters under their protective coating of duct tape.
There was plenty of untracked snow around, but after two weeks of warm temperatures and no new precipitation it was very grabby and sticky and not all that fun to ski. After a few runs we retreated to the hut for lunch, where we met a pine marten – one of the cutest creatures I’ve ever seen. He was wary at first, sticking to the edges of the hut and chittering and growling at us from the doorway, but when he saw my salami sandwich he grew bolder and came right up to my boot to forage for crumbs.
The trail, which had been very icy on the way up, had softened nicely in the sun and the ski out was surprisingly fun. We rocketed down at speed, taking advantage of the little bumps and jumps that had formed as it packed down. There’s no snow on the drive in now, and I’m not sure how much longer it will linger on the lower part of the trail itself.
The skiing may not have been the best, but a day in the mountains – especially a spring day when you can ski in shirtsleeves – is always a good day.