Back Country Ski Winterim 3/23

We woke up Thursday to bluebird skies and views for days. The storm broke and we were able to see the breathtaking peaks across the valley for the first time. After another delicious breakfast, including sausage cooked on the wood-burning stove top, we discussed the avalanche and weather forecasts and got ready for an epic ski day. We split into two groups. Group one skinned 700 vertical feet to the top of the ridge and was treated to views of a lifetime and 1000 feet of dreamy powder turns on the way back down. Superlatives like “best ever winterim” were frequently overheard. Meanwhile, group two had a lesson on companion rescue and practiced mock burial scenarios back at the yurts. Around lunchtime, the groups switched. Group two made the thrilling skin up the prominent nearby peak, Red Mountain 3, upon which they switched to ski mode and floated their way back down the mountain. Hoots and hollers were flying with wide smiles and fist pounds abound. They were a group of happy skiers. Back at the yurts, the stoke was high as the group reminisced about their days while basking in the heat of the wood-burning sauna. Not ready for it to end, a small group of intrepid skiers geared back up for one more “bonus lap”. This time we skinned to the top of the aptly named, “yurt bowl” and enjoyed one final glorious lap of the goods right back to the yurts. It’s hard to imagine something more fun. The final evening was awesome. After an incredible beef and veggie curry, the students presented their culminating project. Using their newly acquired knowledge, each group created a comprehensive trip plan for a hypothetical ski tour to a nearby objective. The guides and leaders were very impressed by their attention to detail. The night ended with the traditional appreciation circle, where each member received appreciation from all of the others members. Many laughs were shared as well as heartfelt thank yous and displays of gratitude. Friday morning we will ski back to the bus and make our way to school. It has been the trip of a lifetime and an experience no one will soon forget.