Sometimes your ski day just doesn’t go according to plan.
Avvy ratings were high, so we’d planned to head for Telemagique in the Callaghan so that we could stay on the ridgeline if the snowpack seemed too touchy. Sadly, we never got there. We stopped for coffee at Galileo, and then the car refused to start. Whacking on the starter motor with a tire iron didn’t help, so after much debate in the warm coffee shop C eventually called a tow truck and the three of us packed into two seats for a cozy drive back to Vancouver. The tow truck left us at C’s garage, where my wonderful friend R picked us all up and delivered us to the various places we needed to be.
We’d started so early that it was still only 11am when S and I found ourselves back in his parkade, where I’d left my truck. We debated our options for a few minutes, then piled our gear into my trunk and headed for the North Shore in the hope that we could salvage something from the day.
We weren’t really expecting much more than a good hike up the access trail and then a rocket down the groomed runs on the frontside. But the snow just kept falling, and when we reached Brockton we both agreed it was worth trying to get to First Peak. The Seymour backcountry is interesting – there’s lots of fun terrain right out of the access gate, but it’s very easy to get in trouble and there’s not much in the way of sustained skiing, especially on a day when conditions mean you need to avoid terrain traps.
We slogged our way through the fresh snow to First Peak, where the first run on the north face was disappointing – too heavy and low angle to really build momentum. Then we hiked back up and dropped onto the south side, and suddenly it was all worth it. I found myself descending through waist-deep, absolutely bottomless powder that billowed up around my face, obscuring the world. Huge face shots, drifting, sinking deep and then rising back up. It was dream skiing, the kind we hope for all season long and so rarely get.
Eventually we funneled through a small, steep slot that dumped us back out on the trail, where we meandered very slowly back to Brockton and a riot of a run down the groomers to the parking lot. When we got there, we were both still slightly speechless. That might just be the best salvage mission I’ll ever have.