Jan 30, 2008

Sphinx Hut

Friday night I was invited to a fabulous little show in a cute venue up on Main St. The show was a local band called Pacifika and the venue was a tiny French café called Café Montmartre. When I used to live in Kits a crew of us really enjoyed a French café that is now shut down due to noise violations but this little place brought back some memories…

Sat I woke up with far too little sleep but its so easy to get up for backcountry skiing…Pete came and grabbed me before picking up SJ, Tom and Kristen, with a full car we headed for Garibaldi Park parking lot. As we passed through Squamish the sun was rising and the colour was fantastic although I believe the saying goes something like this:

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning,

The day was going well, it’s a tough route to Garibaldi Lake…lots of switch backs, good elevation gain, this time around it was fairly icy and mentally is tough as the scenery consists of trees…. Once at the lake normally a gorgeous backdrop but for us on this Saturday afternoon was just white…you could barely see in front of you and it was 4km of travel across the lake to get to the hut.

I was doing well, trying to keep up with Pete who just flies on his skies until slowly my heels started to become sore and the pain was quickly intensifying until I could no longer really move all too well.

It was all I had in me to try and mentally forget about the pain and focus on making it to the hut (wherever it was…). Once we finally made it to the hut I managed to sit down and rest my blisters. That night we ate, drank and tried to occupy ourselves, with songs, poems and whatever else.

Sunday morning turned out to be beautiful. The sun was beaming and we headed out for some turns. The girls: we had some blister issues so didn’t make it too far but it was still worth the hike and the turns. We decided to grab a head start from the boys across the lake and back down the 23 or so switch backs as we were worried about our feet. The ski across the lake proved to be far less painful and much more pleasant than on the way in.

The boys finally caught up to us as we were parting ways as they wanted to attempt a different route down. The trip down wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected (probably due to the snowfall we had overnight). We cruised back to the cars and headed to the pub for beer, food and good chitchat. Another successful and fabulous weekend out in the mountains with good friends…. Life is good.

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

Jan 20, 2008

YETI : Mt Washington

Friday night Tim and I headed over to the island to race in the first of 4 races in the Yeti series. If you are not aware of what Yeti racing is, it is one of the newest trends among runners....snowshoe running. I know, what you are thinking...snowshoe running? what will they think of next? A relatively new sport that is increasing in popularity by the week. For the runner in us it is a fun and different way to run in the winter. I believe in using the four seasons that we are blessed with to their fullest so why not strap on some snowshoes and go for a run on snow in the woods, the mountains, the alpine.Believe it or not it is tough. Actually, it is deceivingly difficult. This particular race was my second time running on snowshoes and yet again I was shocked at how much energy and effort is required to conquer what one might on the trails or on the road. More on that to come.

After some adventurous times we made it to Mt Washington, the race start. After a busy sign up, we went for a warm up jog on some of the lower trails, I was quickly feeling tired...and hence a little nervous that I would totally zonk throughout the race as I could remember the weekend prior and how tired I felt after 2km and... this was a 10km race. At the start line, my strategy was to start slow and just go at my own pace and try to maintain it throughout the 2 laps. The race began on an uphill, tough but it was a groomed large trail, the single track throughout the first lap was tough, especially for the folks in front, there was tons of powder and so it felt like you were running through sand with these weird things on your feet. The second time round was much easier and smoother as the single track was well patted down from all the racers but then fatigue was settling in so not that much easier... I was pleasantly surprised at my result and how I felt at the end of the race. I was getting a little tired and my lungs were burning a little on the second lap and unfortunately my back was tighting up and seizing..I believe to my tight hamstrings...I need to stretch more! I ended up getting past by a female on the last half of the second lap and just couldn't catch her. In the end I was not going to complain about my second place finish. The awards were held in the chalet with some munchies and mingling. I got the chance to catch up with a couple of good friends which is always good times. All in all a great experience and am looking forward to Yeti number 2.

live, love,laugh,...DREAM!

Jan 16, 2008

Snowshoe Running, Paul's Ridge, Mt Zoa and TV show!

Paul’s Ridge and Mt Zoa

This past weekend was fantastic but we needed to be creative in order to find some safe places to backcountry ski as the avalanche risks were fairly high in many different areas of the southwest. Due to the past weather and the recent high snowfalls instabilities in the snow pack were causing avalanches to slide more easily. In the end, after many emails and discussions my plan was to snowshoe run with Kim and Tim early Saturday morning at Mt Seymour and then make it home for my pick up to head to Red Heather/Pauls’ Ridge with Kala and friends.

On Sunday I would head to Mt Zoa with some more backcountry friends for a new and different place to experience.
Let me start off with telling everyone that snowshoe running is harder than it looks…It seems fairly simple and easy at first but after 2 km I was zonked, done, breathing heavy while gasping for air…and I thought I was fit!!!! Hehe needless to say Kim and Tim kicked my butt…but the positive in all this…there is much room for improvement…never a bad thing!

Paul’s Ridge

We managed to make it to the beginning of the trail at about noon. We were taking up Geraldine and Dave (there first day in the backcountry) for a cruisy day out in the alpine.

The weather, day and snow turned out to be better than expected and we managed to sneak in a run up on the ridge. All in all a relaxing day out in the Squamish area alpine.

Mt Zoa

Sunny Sunday!!!! We had a fairly large group heading up to Mt Zoa Sunday..We arrived at the parking area to a packed parking lot. A little worrisome but shrugged it off and headed up.

On our way up to the summit the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the afternoon. It was a nice change from clouds and rain. We did encounter some sledders (my first experience backcountry with sledders…all I can say is they are damn loud!

As we skinned up and through the trees they were no longer in our way and a soft sound in the distance…We dug some pits and shredded some gnar… We chose the safest aspects of the mountain when considering potential slides!

We made it down through the trees and the choppy bits without a problem. Went to Home restaurant for some homecooked meals and headed back home! Another fantastic day in the backcountry…

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

Jan 11, 2008

Raid The North Extreme on TV

Check out a one hour coverage of a race I raced in over the summer on team Suburban Rush on the Queen Charlotte Islands and Prince Rupert: Sat Jan 12th at 9pm on Global. It will give you a good idea on just why I like to do what I do...

For more information, go to www.raidthenorthextreme.com

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!


Jan 6, 2008

Ringing in the New Year at Snow Spider

Snow Spider and New Years

Happy 2008 to everyone!!!!! I was lucky enough to spend new years and the days leading up to it traveling by ski up and over mountains with some fabulous friends, great weather and beautiful terrain. We landed ourselves in the cutest little cabin in one of the most gorgeous areas I have yet explored out here on the west coast. Joe picked me up from Squamish the morning of the 29th and despite his cold he kindly drove me and all my things to the entrance of the Cerise hike.

It took us a blistering 1.5 hrs to make it to Keiths Hut. We waited around for the others who were already there, ate some lunch and when they still didn’t show went out for a couple of laps. There was some fantastic snow in the area. Joe, couldn’t stay so he dropped me off at the hut and I just chilled in my sleeping bag while the others returned from their day trip. I had an early night due to my late night the previous evening at my friend Gary’s Christmas party. This entire Christmas holiday was testing my ability to stay calm, relax and go with the flow. My nature is to go go go and when things don’t quite work out the way I had planned it is sometimes difficult for me just to take the time to relax and enjoy the place I happen to be (and to be honest they are usually places worth taking a moment to admire and love). My mantra is “lina…its about the journey not always the destination….”

The 30th

We hit the skin track at about 8am. We traveled over the Vantage/Matier couloir, around Duke Mountain and over the pass to land ourselves into the SnowSpider Valley. The weather was great although we got hit by some strong winds in the first part of our trip until we got over the Vantage col. Mark led us through some trees hoping to find an old logging road that we were to follow until the pass. We eventually found the road and had some lunch on it…it was fantastic. The views were great, the snow was incredibly deep and the company fantastic (an my sandwhich not half bad…). Our road quickly came to an end and we were back in the trees. We skinned up and up and eventually reached our flat spot where the cabin lay. This cabin is tiny and on the edge of three tiny lakes….covered in snow…As one can imagine it is somewhat difficult to detect at the best of times and if you don’t have prior knowledge of where it is or exact coordinates for its location its darn difficult as we found out.

We probably spent approximately 1.5 hours searching for the cabin. We split up one point to try and cover more ground. Once we regrouped and secured our waypints on the gps and decided which way to go we were about 5 minutes from the cabin (of course). We arrived at about 3pm to an empty cabin!!!! We were pumped but exhausted yet thrilled we did not have to do an emergency tenting for the night. We settled ourselves in and made it our home for the next two nights.

The 31st

We decided to explore the area around the cabin for some skiing. We hit up the North West Ridge of SnowSpider. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top. The snow was deep and so trail breaking was a little tougher but still so great!!!!!. The views were unbelievable as we skinning up to our destination and I was giddy as anything…

As we were digging a pit to check out the snow conditions and avalanche possibilities the fog rolled in and so the rest of the skin up was done with little to no visibility (somewhat tough in unknown terrain). After lunch at the top the fog cleared and we scored a sweet run back down. We went up again for another try at a line Marg saw and wanted to shred.

We ended back at the hut at about 3pm. Relaxed, ate, played cards,drank and cheered in the New Year outside under the stars!!!!! Fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to ring in 2008!!!

The 1st 2008
We left the hut at 730am. We decided to take a different route back out. We skinned up Mt Casper (a steep, deep skin up….big pat on the back to everyone…..it was tough) We reached the top of the pass safely, excited and a little tired. I’ve never skinned up something so steep, deep and technical. We had to cross one avalanche pass and did so one by one…My favorite ski run down occurred once we skied over the pass.. It was just amazing….I think Craig got a video of my fine style…We then traversed and skied along the river, through a bunch of trees (some more ski whacking) in hopes of finding yet another logging road. We eventually found the road but just barely as to our surprise it was covered by overgrown Alder trees.

We were ski whacking (again!) through the alder for quite a while. Eventually it tapered off and we could get a clear path going. I have to admit my knees and toes were killing me….I didn’t think my feet were going to make it and it was really tough to try to get my brain to forget the pain especially with the fatigue rolling in. Sometimes its harder to get through the pain when you are not racing as nothing is really at stake but to finally pull through and finish off the task feels just as good and satisfying. We arrived at the road at 4pm. Craig and Marg hitched a ride back to our car (bless the kind sledders, it was 4km down the road). We finished out trip off in typical fashion at the Pony over good food chit chat and talk about the next trips to be had!!!!!!

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!