AVALANCHE! …or how to avoid one.

Initially, I’d had pretty mellow ideas of what the weekend was going to be like.  At Friday night’s showing of this year’s Teton Gravity Research film, however, we talked to an avalanche course instructor and suddenly had a family backcountry expedition planned on Sunday!  Even after reading just the intro to the essential handbook Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, it became clear that this is something ANYONE going into the backcountry should study at length if they wish to continue living.  I especially liked the statistics and pie charts in those first few chapters, illustrating for example that 93% of all avalanche victims are male, and that most of them are between the ages of 18 and 25.

And yes, three members of our party fit the description for the “danger zone”.

Anyway, we drove up to Turnagain pass early in the morning, and were skinning up the mountain just as dawn began to illuminate the sky (around 9, mind you).  I think that was my favorite part of the whole day – just touring along through the snowy forests with awesome skins that never slipped once, watching the day get brighter, talking about how not to die.  Very peaceful.  And the 5D came along for its first-ever adventure!

We trekked around, we learned how to use our receivers, we played “unbury the hidden receiver”, we dug snow pits and checked out the snow stability, we talked about terrain and all those warning signs to watch out for.  And then we just went skiing.  And it was glorious, because it’s November.

An awesome Sunday.  The next day I woke up bursting with restless energy (weirdly) and raced around on the Spencer Loop and Hillside Lighted Loop at Hillside – in under an hour.  Now my goal is two Spencers in an hour.  The nordic skiing is SO FAST!  And I’m in way better shape than I thought I was – it’s not even hard!  Is doing pilates and yoga in addition to normal daily exercise really as beneficial as they say?  Anyway, I keep telling myself that I don’t want to do anything besides ski, but then I go and wear myself out and then there are days like today where my primary “free time” activity is taking a bath.  So be it.

COUNTDOWN:  10 DAYS!  In the meantime, I have college applications to complete, at least one senior portrait photoshoot to have fun with this weekend, a very varied suitcase to pack, a visa to receive, and some SPF 85 sunscreen to purchase (because even in the tropics I must stay cancer-free).  I can’t WAIT to go to college again… applications are occupying a large percentage of my thoughts.  That’s all for now!


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