With a current spell of warm weather my mind has been turning to my bike with a combination of excitement and sadness at the melting snow. It has been an interesting season this year with the lack of snow in North America. In Rossland we had snow but not nearly as much as we like, it makes you wonder when you are still talking about 'early season hazards' at the end of February! Personally I have had an eyeopening season with many new opportunities taken and a whole new world opened for me.
Last spring I was talking with my boss about instructing and coaching snowboarding and he asked me why I didn't just go and get my CAA level one avalanche certification and become a tail guide with them. I have been thinking about that very question for years and realized that powder skiing was definitely a better option than teaching snowboarding. I was nervous, no terrified of stepping into that world, being responsible for 12 other people skiing through avalanche terrain, around tree wells, tight trees and all the other hazards that go along with being in the back country. So I decided that I was going to do it! That I could do it! And I did. I passed my level 1 with 82.25% and started following people around in the powder. It has been a great season! Many awesome powder days and hopefully there are more to come.
What I have appreciated (apart from the pow turns) is the challenge, pushing my comfort levels and putting myself out there. Every day there are new challenges; different conditions, ability levels and personalities. Assisting the lead guide in managing these factors is my job, thankfully my most challenging days have consisted of photo shoots, cat breakdowns and having to dress up as Bat Girl with a bunch of crazy superheros:) Plus the guests have been amazing and the guides I work with are super supportive and a lot of fun.
After completing my level one I was super keen to get out in the back country and explore but it seems there is something very convenient about the chairlift when you only have an hour or two to get a few laps in, plus yesterday you were out on a cat. However, it is not my first choice, after my taste of fresh turns every lap, every day, my schedule next year will be configured to fit many touring experiences in. Snow shoeing is great for exercise but now I know what it its like to slide up the mountain on a pair of skins I am as happy going up as going down. I'll never give up my board so thank you to Voile for my split board, stay tuned for my board review this week.
I love spring - boarding and biking all in one day could it get any better.....