Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salomon Touring Trip in Interior BC Part I

I think this rainbow I saw on my drive to Golden represented the good luck I was in store for.

Wow, I have been on quite the whirlwind of travels this winter and am having a hard time keeping up with my posts. I'm actually skipping over a trip I took to Idaho and some shooting I did with Voleurz in Whistler, and instead am choosing to dive straight into my Salomon Freeski TV touring hut trip in the Adamants Mountain Range in Interior BC for the purpose of testing the new Salomon touring binding. I really wasn't sure what to expect of the trip. I have never done an actual multi-day touring trip before, let alone a hut trip that you get flown into by a heli. I sort of set my expectations for adversity: long strenuous days of skinning, cold nights in a hut, sharing small spaces with lots of other people, not easy livin' due to things like no running water or electricity, meals that are light, packable, easy and thus ultimately bland... Don't misinterpret me, I can easily go without all these things and actually like stepping away from the ease of modernity, but I just had this vision that it would make things a tad more uncomfortable. Au contraire! The days were REALLY long and tiring, and all those "hardships" existed (minus the bad food), but they really didn't seem so hard at all. In fact, this trip was 100% enjoyable and an experience I am so thankful for receiving. So let's get on with it...

First time for me driving over Roger's Pass... and what a view! My eyes weren't glued to the road like they should have been with the amount of crazy truck drivers there are but rather they were captivated by the glorious mountains that I was surrounded by.

After an 8 hour drive to Golden from Whistler I met up with Salomon team members Kim Havell and Chris Rubens. Rounding out our crew was cameraman Anthony Bonello (b4apres Media), photographer Bruno Long, and guide Greg Franson from Bluebird Guides. We started off with socked in weather, so unfortunately we were unable to leave the staging area and fly into Sentry until 6 pm. At least we got in, but that left us with 2 days of skiing at Sentry instead of 3. Surely that wouldn't be a big deal, but there was so much awesome terrain I was definitely a bit bummed we didn't have more time to ski at Sentry. Luckily the two days we did have were mostly blue. The snow wasn't deep but it was stable and it enabled us to ski pretty much whatever we liked.
One realization when doing a touring trip is you tend to not ski lines that are pushing your limits. I found myself skiing no more than 75% of my capabilities, some runs not even. When you put in multiple hours to ski a line the last thing you want to do is crash, so you tone it down a little. Plus, getting hurt is less of an option, it becomes a bit more of an issue than normal circumstances. But that doesn't mean it's any less fun, you just ski with different intentions.

Kim Havell standing next to our pile of stuff while we waited to get flown into Sentry Lodge.

We had a jolly ol' time at Sentry lodge. There is plenty of accessible terrain right when you leave the lodge, and thus it's not necessary to start slogging away to reach fun stuff to ski. Like I mentioned before, I feel like we were just scratching the surface of what I scoped out and wanted to ski. The lodge itself is pretty cush and nothing like the true hut living that we'd be doing at Fairy Meadow. For example, I had a queen bed and shared a room with only Kim, there were toilets to do #1 in (still have to use the ol' outhouse for #2s), the lodge is spacious and comfy, it has electricity and running water, and there is a stereo system to rock out to. Hmmm... nothing like I expected. After three nights of luxury we jumped on the heli once more to take us deeper into the Adamants to the Fairy Meadow hut. Stay tuned for more on the next leg of the journey...

Round 2 of the heli bringing our group in.

Getting in a heli is ALWAYS exciting, at least according to Chris Rubens and I.

Just one of those purtty views around Sentry Lodge (this is looking to the East).

Kim checking out the view from our bedroom window, not too shabby.

The new and much larger "hut" Sentry Lodge. Apparently the Sentry hut burned to the ground a year ago and this is what replaced it: a lodge. It runs off of self-sustaining hydro-power so that's a bonus.

One of the many sweet faces that Sentry has to offer.

Kim taking a lap through the trees.

Chris and Bruno scoping out the next zone we were headed to.

Chris dropping into a fun line: he's in the upper left corner.

Kim making some sweet turns.

Yes I'm cheesy, but after a 12 hour day of skinning and skiing some rad lines Anthony and I were very stoked.

Greg was not only a great guide but he had a knack for cooking us delicious, healthy/organic meals. For example, those pancakes are orange ginger pancakes. Hard living I tell you.

Our next stop: Fairy Meadow hut next to Adamant Mountain/Glacier up in the far right corner. The mountain shrouded in clouds is Sanford, which is still waiting for a 1st descent.