Dec 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and safe holidays from the Augaitis family!

I am currently in Ontario spending some time with the fam. Its been great seeing everyone again. My little nephew is a man at 6 months. This year Mike (Rasa's fiance) spent Christmas chez Grandma Augaitis. Its been good times but its hard to be surrounded by all this snow and not go "shred her up on the mountains..".

Live, Love, Laugh,...DREAM!

Dec 17, 2007

Whistler and Needle Peak Dec 15 and 16 2007

This weekend has been full of celebrations and skiing; two things that I enjoy doing. Friday night I was grateful to be invited to a Christmas celebration party and catch up with an old group of friends that I haven’t seen in ages. Unfortunately for that it proved to be a long evening and didn’t get home until late.

I awoke early Saturday morning and Matt, Luisa and I headed up to Whistler to check out what it was like to ride the lifts again. It proved to be a great day with lots of snow, good enough visibility and a fabulous après where I got to run into some old friends and roommates of mine. Love the après. Although, the hill was great fun it just doesn’t give me that spark like it used to. I will admit this….I think I have become a backcountry snob….I have experienced the luxury of deep fresh powder, the thrill of physically maneuvering myself up a mountain. The peacefulness of skiing with some of my closest friends and zero crowds…zero line ups and no freezing cold chairlift ride up the mountain….I truly love the backcountry and its difficult to compare it with the resort skiing…actually there is no comparison to be made…backcountry is just more my thing. Despite all that it was a great day and I don’t have any complaints….Shreddin the pow with some good people always puts a smile on my face.

We arrived back into the city fairly late and I managed to get myself to party number 2 with all my gear, no shower and no dinner. It was great to see everyone, meet some new outdoor enthusiasts and run into some old friends.

Sunday morning 6am Jay knocked on the door of Marg and Kala’s place (I crashed there as well) and off we were to Needle Peak. It proved to be such a fabulous day. It was a steep skin up right from the cars with tight trees and lots of snow. We finally got out of the bush and it we were surrounded by a beautiful backdrop. You could see mountains all around and way way way below was the highway. We got three fabulous runs in.

The lower half of the runs provided us with thigh deep champagne style powder. We were all feeling a little tired from skiing and partying but this trip was well worth the lack of sleep and early morning. My turns are feeling better each weekend and one day I’ll feel comfortable skiing the tight trees but for now the open space is just my thing. When I’m in tight spaces I tend to get nervous and out comes my beautiful snow plow….hehe.

I really enjoyed breaking trail for the last big up we had before the tricky descent back to the cars. It’s a different sort of adrenaline rush being in front breaking trail…, its just you, the deep snow, the mountains and all your muscles burning and hurting trying to reach the peak. I LOVE IT!

This weekend I’ll be in Ottawa visiting the family and looking forward and planning my next ski trips.

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

Dec 9, 2007

December6/7th 2007 Red Heather and Grouse

The Perfect Date with myself!!!

Saturday morning it was nice to sleep in past 6am and chill, have breakfast without rushing to go find some pow. In the afternoon I decided to hike up BCMC, I brought snowshoes and skates. I managed to reach the top as the sun was setting. Unfortunately my camera was experiencing some technical difficulties and I don’t have any pictures of the most stunning sunset I’ve seen in a long time. It was the perfect evening, after watching the sunset I put on my skates and skated around the ice rink on top of grouse…I really enjoy skating but is something I rarely end up doing. Despite growing up in Ottawa with the famous canal I have difficulties stopping at times and skating backwards. Hockey is something I’ve been meaning to try for a number of years now….maybe a couple more hikes to the top of Grouse are in need... Not only did I do some great outdoor activities I managed to squeeze a little home bound Christmas creativity before the end of the night. Catherine and I built our very own gingerbread houses!!! YUM!

Red Heather

Geoff, Andrew and I headed out to Red Heather in Squamish for a fun little day ski touring trip.

To be honest I did not have high hopes for sick pow today….I was pleasantly surprised with the conditions. The morning brought us some blue skies and beautiful views and in the afternoon we managed to find a couple of good turns with a layer of the fresh stuff….

We finished the day off in proper ski touring style at the Pub…..

All in all a different weekend from the last month but great nonetheless…I love BC!!!!


Dec 3, 2007

Marriott Basin Dec 1-2nd 2007

A big group of us headed out to the Marriott Basin this past weekend to check out the Wendy Thompson Hut and what kind of gnarly pow was awaiting us. Saturday proved to be a cold but a rather nice day.

The ski into the hut was fairly decent only a couple of steep uphills but all in all it went smoothly and rather quickly. Once we arrived to the hut it was very cold. There was another group there as well..something which we did not intend on. We made our selves some hot tea and headed out to the mountains to see what kind of sweet lines we could find.

We managed to sneak in a fantastic little ski before packing it in for the night. The light was low so it was difficult to decipher the depth and angles but thanks to Jer’s super advice I got some pretty sweet turns in. After 4 weekend of backcountry skiing I can already feel my confidence and skills rising and each time it gets me wanting more,… to ski faster, bigger and better….I LOVE IT!

Saturday night proved to be pretty busy in the little hut with over 20 people trying to cook dinner, relax, drink, chat..we managed well. Marg and Kala poured us some fantastic warm port and there was enough wine and bailey’s to get anyone a little tipsy…

Thanks to Pete’s -20 sleeping bag, 21 people and Jay’s radiating heat I managed to stay fairly warm throughout the night. I still have to work on getting comfortable on the hard surfaces…the thermo rest just doesn’t cut it for me.

Sunday proved to be rather adventurous. Pete, Ned and I managed to ski down a steep and deep slope with some minor debris coming down. Ned was showing off and hucked off a rock which caused us to look for his fallen ski for awhile….

We then skied up to the top of a “face shot powder run” just in time for Pete’s binding to break (at the top), Ned losing his ski (AGAIN!) and later on me falling through a hidden hole.
To top it off the highway between Whistler and Van was closed for a couple of hours… thanks to Ned we scored a couple of hours in a warm condo in Whistler, a movie and some hot tea before finally making it into my own bed in snowy North Van around midnight.

Another magnificent weekend shared with some fabulous friends and lots of fluffy white stuff.. where to this weekend??

Lovin’ the pow!

Nov 26, 2007

James Bond Bassin November 24-25 2007

James Bond Bassin (Steep Creek)

Saturday morning Pete, Kristen, Luisa and I headed to Squamish to pick up Jay and meet the rest of the crew in Pemberton for around 8am.

We headed out to the James Bond Bassin for my first winter camping/skiing adventure. The Ski in was surprisingly mellow with about a 600m-elevation gain and most of it was on a logging road that was already tracked out for us. Jay, Luisa and I set up camp (we were sharing a 2 person tent for the three of us…lucky for us we are 3 fairly little people).

After everyone got his or her tents up and sorted we were off to a nearby slope. Pete did a fab job of breaking a great trail and off we went. We ended up doing loops in the area for the rest of the afternoon. I managed to sneak in 4 runs…I have already noticed a great deal of improvement in my skills and confidence from the first weekend we were all out.

Back at camp Jay, Alex and Luisa set up a fine outdoor kitchen for us and were onto making some soup, warm tea and dinner. We all ate ourselves silly, drank a variety of luxurious beverages such as hot whiskey, hot choc and whiskey and the staple bailey’s and hot chocolate.

The full moon was spectacular that evening and lit up camp well enough that head lamps were hardly needed.

I was pretty zonked and the three of us settled into our nest at about 730pm. I must say I was much more comfortable than expected throughout the night. We awoke to a brisk morning, frost was inside and outside of our tent.

We headed to the other side of the lake up and over. I was feeling a little tired Sunday morning but the fabulous snow, sun on the horizon and the beautiful scenery kept me pumped for wanting more until…….a very frustrating experience occurred. My skins failed to collaborate with my skis and after many attempts I had to cut my losses and begin my ski down back to camp. Luckily I got a couple of fabulous runs in but it definitely ruined my spirits for a bit…..

We made it out just as dark fell upon us and we quickly found ourselves talking about next weekend adventures while scarfing down some delicious Pony expresso Pizza.

Another fabulous weekend……

Lovin’ the pow.

Nov 18, 2007

3 Masters and a Bachelor hit up Cerise Creek

I received a call at 5:50am from Pete. "We are here...." I eagerly jumped into the truck; SJ, Luisa, Pete and I were on our way to Cerise Creek for another weekend of "shreddin the gnarly pow pow". We arrived at what we thought to be the entrance point to the trail. After getting the truck stuck half way onto the side of the road and then out again, Pete realized that infact it was not the correct entrance point. Back in the truck and a kilometer later we found it! Taking the summer route we made it to the hut with enough time to eat, stash our stuff and hit the ridge for one run before dark. We managed to find some fantastic powder and got a bunch of sweet turns in before night.

At the hut, after dinner, melting snow for water and Pete doing a fantastic job on starting the fire we played a round of euchre. Now, Pete and I knew the game but we had to fill SJ and Luisa in on the rules. The game came down to the last point. Alas Luisa and I managed to take the win....

Sunday morning proved to be a beautiful day. The sun came out, we found some deep powder, some fabulous lines to ski and had the entire place to ourselves....It was magical!

I felt much more confident on my skis this weekend and am quickly becoming addicted to this sport of backcountry skiing!!!!

life is good.

Nov 16, 2007

The Hunt for the Harrison Hut

ADVENTURE? Count me in!!!!

I was a last minute addition to the crew, excited and eager to join in on the adventure in finding the Harrison Hut. This hut had been built by the Varsity Outdoor Club many years back but had been standing vacant for nearly 4 years as the bridge to enter the Meager Creek had been washed out in a flood a couple of years back.

This was going to be my first attempt on skis since last season and my first multi day backcountry ski trip ever. Needless to say I was pumped for the entire experience.

Saturday morning we left Pemberton and began our journey towards the hut. It was pouring rain when we left but it did not dampen our spirits and energy. Once the locked gate was opened we were all on a high. Driving over the newly built bridge was exhilarating and finding out the second bridge wasn’t washed out made our day and saved many extra kilometers of hiking up a logging road.

A flat tire on Pete’s truck caused us to park the cars and start hiking. When we left the trucks there was little to no snow on the ground…a much different look upon our return to be told in future paragraphs.

The hike/ski in was long; it included some steep bushwhacking, ski whacking, skinning and some boulder hoping. It’s difficult to explain the emotions that we all felt when we first noticed the hut. It seemed so close yet it was still a couple of hours away….We eventually made it to the hut as darkness filled the skies. We settled ourselves in and spend a relaxed night, singing, chatting, and eating.

Sunday we hit up a nearby glacier and shredded some gnarly pow pow until wind and snow made it difficult to see and therefore to avoid any injuries we headed back to the hut a little earlier than we hoped but just before the storm hit.

I’ve never experienced such loud scouring winds. It was difficult to sleep through the night as the howling winds did not let up. Monday morning we awoke to snow in the hut and a complete white-out outside. After s solid group discussion and eventual concensus we decided that it would be wiser and safer for us to spend the day in the hut and leave the following morning. Thankfully Pete brought a satellite phone and we were able to get a weather report and report to Dan (the man of the hour) our repective work numbers and friends names to inform everyone that we would arrive a day late but that we were all okay. We spent the day fixing the door, shoveling a trench to get to the outhouse and water but mostly just relaxing to conserve energy as our food sources were low and we had to ration our supplies.

Tuesday turned out to be a brilliant day. It was a long haul to get back to the cars. We managed to sneak a couple of good turns in but mainly had to do some serious steep skiing in some seriously thick bush…Snow greeted us at the trucks but luckily did not cause much delays as the two vehicles were beefy enough to plow right through it all. We finished the day off with a fantastic dip in the hot springs and a delicious meal at the Pony.

Thanks for a fantastic weekend full of my favorite word..”adventure!”