Monday, March 12, 2012

Comrades: Whitecap Alpine 2012

I have always felt that backcountry skiers have created strange bedfellows.  Perhaps surfers and other sports do the same, but I have really noticed it in powder skiers.  They tend to be extremely independent until one thing unites them and that is great powder skiing.  I think this happens because to really, truly get the goods (and I dont mean resort skiing although I do think this phenomena occurs there as well) you need to be a team.

 I am the last person to call Hut skiing extreme but you realize how far you are from comfort when an emergency happens that is for sure, so having a team allows you to access some really great skiing, but only because you rely on the other folks in your group to watch your back.  I have seen many folks who due to politics, occupation, personality etc would not get along at all in the real world, have great ski missions because of the singular focus they have on getting great lines.  It reminds me of pirates, they cut each other up on shore leave but once the fat prize is on the horizon they work like a well oiled machine to attain the prize.

In over a decade of really fun trips like this one I have had only a few emergencies.  However on this trip we had an injury that although not crazily dire, did call for some team work.  Kirk, was on his last run of the last day of the trip when the light left the scene and he smacked into a wind lip.  The resulting fall left him with a greatly destroyed ankle and the need for a sled out.  Incredibly Kirk skied out about 800 more feet of vertical before the pain hit him hard enough that he was down for the count.  Based on distance, depth of snow and daylight Rich estimated that we would need about 2 hours to haul him out once we retrieved the emergency sled from the hut.  We did it in 45 minutes.  Most would say it was because of the comrades in arms that we are, or the need to get a brother out of harms way....but the dirty secret is that Chris Clarks bachelor party was starting at 6pm in the hut and we needed to get Kirk in before it started.......


Train of pain

Getting ready for the "dogs"
This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you

Kirk with a good ankle

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