Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We live in an era where discoveries are either grand or trivial. Most of them don't seem to directly affect our lives so we don't dwell on them much. Until you make your own.

One of the great moments in backcountry skiing is when you make your own discovery - often with a few friends who truly share in the joy of the moment. I had that this week with Peg, Bryn and Jorie. We did a couple ski tours but one of them was to a nearby area that you can access easily from a friends property so we parked there to start our tour. It hadn't snowed for at least 10 days but it had been cold so we were hoping to find a little decent snow in the basin we were heading to. Our friends had never been there in the winter so didn't really know what we would find. We could see the basin from a nearby butte that we were on a few days before which sparked our curiosity about the area.

Our discovery happened in stages. First, as we climbed the north and east facing slopes of the basin, we found a well consolidated 3 foot base with 6-10 inched of medium density powder covering a long series of potential ski runs. Secondly, as we climbed a great route, the views and expanse of the little patch of heaven grew ever more grand. Finally, when we peeled off our skins, the snow that settled in around our feet was superb. We skied soft powder run after run in the 20 degree clear blue skies. And we were alone. The only other tracks in the area were those of the coyotes whose dens we spotted on our second day there. We made a great discovery - sure its a personal one that won't change the world but none the less, it changed us. We will be back to enjoy the fruits of this wintry valley again and again.
A video of the tour will be posted at: www.drtelemark.com

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