Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bear Trap and The Three Brothers

Early on Saturday morning, Paul and I loaded up the car with a very large amount of kit. Incidentally, did you know that "Live to ski" is nearly an anagram of "I love kit"? - amazing. Once the beloved kit was in the car we drove east to Manning Park for the Bear Trap Telemark Festival. We'd heard from Leo and Karen who ski patrol at Manning that the place was friendly and relaxed... and they aren't wrong. As we were getting ourselves sorted out at the car we were spotted by Jamie, the organiser of the festival (it must be the funny Telemark boots) who came over to check we were going to get in on the action. The action turned out to be meeting up with a bunch of other tele-skiers and skiing around in the sunshine. We had a bit of an informal lesson, which got me talking to Jamie about how you become a telemark instructor. One thing led to another and now I am signed up for my Level 1 instructor course in April. Exciting stuff...

Once the telemarkers were all suitably educated it was time for the serious business of competition. We had a sort of sprint-randonée race... climbing up to some trees, taking the climbing skins off our skis and skiing back down. Paul set a blistering pace which I managed to stay somewhere near before falling over (almost on top of Paul) taking off my skins. Paul came in first and I got second place. The real competition was reserved for the telemark-limbo, which I'm not even going to try and explain. It was fun though!

In the evening we set up out tent in the car park (this place really was relaxed) and joined some folks around their campfire and were fed cheese and wine (this place was also really friendly). Then we headed down to the bar to meet up with the other telemarkers, to drink beer, play pool, and eventually trundle back "home" to the tent.

On Sunday morning we met up with Jacek and Kala who had come up for the day to ski-tour with us to the The Three Brothers... a mountain nearby with, you've guessed it, 3 summits. It was a nice fast ascent up an old logging road and then onto the ridge. The sun appeared from time to time and the views over the Coast Mountains were great... though the wind was howling at the summit. At least we think it was the summit. The Three Brothers seem to have accumulated a few friends along the way and there rather more than 3 to choose from.

The ski back down was a limited to going back the way we came up as the steeper slopes were all badly affected by wind and the sun making a hard crust. We got some brief, but fun, skiing on the gentle slopes through the trees way down and a few more spells of sunshine.

On the way home we met up with Leo and Karen and ate a huge amount of food, including cherry pie. Yum. Next weekend Paul and I are off to the Carlyle Lodge for a week of ski touring. We're in search of the legendary Kootenay Mountains powder snow. Let's hope nature is feeling generous...