It’s hard being a weekend warrior sometimes. You watch the midweek storms come and go, dreams of unskied turns haunting the workday. This dry winter it’s been even tougher than usual. But last week, after planning a quick trip to Red Heather with my two new ski buddies to test out my new bindings on a random vacation day, for once the storm rolled in bang on schedule.
We left a snow-covered city before dawn on Friday, cutting fresh tire tracks on white roads. The Red Heather trailhead was back in full winter wonderland mode, with the little rocks almost completely covered up again. The snow kept falling all round us, coming down so thickly as we crossed the meadows above the hut that we could barely see.
(Photo credit: Sierra Laflamme)
The storm finally eased at the perfect moment, just as we reached the Garibaldi lookout on the shoulder of Round Mountain. We hiked just a little higher to where the back bowls were waiting, locked in, and set out for the finest powder turns of the winter.
It was a magic day. All thoughts of a quick gear test and early return to the city were completely forgotten; we just skied and skied and skied on the perfect new snow, climbing back up for the next run as fast as we could. We climbed little knolls and ridges, dropping in for big surfing turns, clouds of coldsmoke trailing behind us. The mountain was deserted; we had the entire bowl completely to ourselves.
As the day wore on and the skies cleared, sunlight and shadows danced across the slopes and on the far side of the valley the icefields of Garibaldi began to emerge from the cloud. We kept skiing for as long as we possibly could, until the threat of the early winter darkness finally drove us from the mountain. We left behind a bowl criss-crossed with tracks, every single one of them laid down by the three of us.
I still can’t believe how well the timing lined up. My vacation, C and S being available to tour even though it was a work day, the storm and the snow that it brought. That kind of synchronicity doesn’t happen often. The day it gave us was as perfect as it gets.