Words by: Brent Hillier Photos by: Brent Hillier, Eli Relke & James Dahmer
My mis-adventures with Eli Relke the previous month was just our impatience for the upcoming ski season getting the better of us. When I received a text from Sean asking whether or not we could get on the snow anytime soon, all promises were forgotten. With that the planning had begun. I had already been checking the weather daily but now I was checking it religiously, and as soon as snow was in the forecast it was time to round up the troops.
After some log crossings we got out into an open meadow and made up some ground; However, that quickly came to an end and we were back in the trees, crossing more logs. Once the winter trail joined Cerise Creek things began to get interesting. Our progress really slowed down and we crossed the creek three times before making the decision to get into the trees and bushwhack our way to the hut. From there every kickturn meant our skis would get tangled in alder bushes, but we trudged on.
It took us 4.5 hours to hike what normally takes a third of the time. Thankfully we had made it, but we were haggard. Fraser proved once again to be the trail breaking machine. I'm sure he would have gladly let one of us take over but none of us could catch him.
The hut was packed; apparently, we weren't the only fools chasing the early season snow. Once settled in we quickly dug out the beer that we had slugged up - boy did it go down easy. With the sun setting at 4pm, we had nothing left to do but rest for what was about to be an even bigger day. One of the other skiers had impressively brought in a mini guitar and provided entertainment until everyone was fast asleep.
The next morning the sun was trying to peek out of the clouds, and their was pow to be had. With a full hut we made as fast a move as we could that morning and started our skin up. The initial climb through the trees from the cabin was almost as bushy as our hike in the day before.
Once we got our heads into the alpine it became apparent that our "money-zone" was a cross-loaded gully above the hut. We powered our way up and quickly laid down a lap in-front of two other groups of skiers. I can confidently say that it was the best early skiing I have ever had. Coverage was fantastic and short of one random coreshot I took at the bottom of the second pitch it was fantastic skiing. The rock took my ski off and I lived up to my track record of eating shit on my first run of the season. With a good cackle from Dahmer I made my way back up to my recently separated ski.
Karma is a bitch and the last laugh was mine. We all threw our skins back on, and when we realized Dahmer had put his on backwards it was worth a good heckle from everyone.
Our decent back down to the Keith's Hut involved another early season "Gong-Show". This time instead of dealing with bushes like the day before we had to negotiate a very thin and rocky snowpack. After a couple of nicks to our edges we were in sight of the cabin.
Back at the hut we packed our bags and made the call to take the summer trail out. After 10 minutes of rowdy free-heel, skins-on skiing, we all, at different intervals, decided to strap the skis on our packs and walk out. It made for a very long day. The condition of the summer trail were horrible and we quickly realized that hiking the winter trail into the cabin the day before had been the better choice.
It was a tough couple of days and conditions were not ideal for our hike in and out of the hut, but it was far from a total bust. We had some great turns in the alpine with some needed down time in the hut. With hilarious antics and marginal conditions it was a fun trip with the boys that was a great kick-off to the 2013/14 season. BRING ON THE SNOW!!!
Stories, Pictures and Video of all my adventures, on skis and bike.