Of course, I was back at Sunshine on Saturday for the second powder-Saturday in a row. This one was even better than the last. I joined Megan, Alex & Finn for a morning camped at Goat's Eye enjoying the powder. Well, it was me & whoever wasn't watching Finn at the time. Here's everyone waiting for the gondola & looking either happy or unaware & confused at the prospect of all that nice powder.
With a baby-sitter change, I got in a couple of runs in with Alex and then Megan before we skied out (I enjoyed it again, what's going on?) around lunch time. A great morning's skiing & I was pretty tired out - all that turning in all that powder & the heat really took it out of me.
After a lunch & shower stop at home I was walking around to entertain Finn while Megan finished off her rather elaborate rendition of the Settlers board in cupcakes for Alex's almost-birthday dinner. Here's the creek just out side our backdoor, the ducks seem to have come back now that it's not -20ºC.
With all the snow in the last few days & the warming of the temperatures, the avalanche risk was high all weekend at & above the tree line. I wasn't keen to head out back-country, so decided to go to the hill again with Kurt, whom I'd met before Christmas at an Alpine Club event - I mention that only to show that I do actually know a Canadian here & not just Aussies. Beside, when you wake up & see this, how can you stay at home?
Sunshine conditions have definitely improved a lot in the last few weeks! The crazy temperature variations were in full swing today - so much so that even though I stood outside for quite a while waiting to be picked up, I didn't even notice I had forgotten to put my soft-shell on. It wasn't until we were in the parking lot that I realised that I didn't have my jacket. I survived the day with my down jacket on the outside, I was a little concerned that the high temperature would have all the snow that was landing on me melting - this turned out not to be the case.
Kurt, it turned out, had been skiing for most of his life - he comprehensively left me behind on many occasions. At least I was able to entertain him with two big crashes on some more of those really bumpy runs off Goat's Eye. By lunchtime I was keen to head up to the village to try out some different runs. We managed to meet up with Joel & Kristy (in Trappers of course) for the afternoon. By now the clouds had really come in & it was snowing quite heavily again. We split up shortly after - I figured Joel could give Kurt a better run for his money & I was happy mucking around on some blue runs with Kristy & Ryan. It was a good afternoon as we stayed away from the white-out on Standish & kept to some of the lower lifts. By the time we got back to the gondola base, it was fair puking down - as it was so warm, the flakes were huge & pretty wet. It snowed all the way back to Banff & then strangely turned to rain - I haven't seen rain for months. Near the park gates the temperature had dropped slightly to -1ºC, a few kilometres later nearing home it had plunged to -11ºC. That was pretty crazy - all the rain water had instantly frozen to the side of the car. I haven't mentioned the freezing rain yet either. Alas, it seems all is back to normal now - it's touching -20ºC again, in time to go back to work.
Going to local news for a while: I'm now extra pleased that we didn't go back-country this weekend. Two skiers got buried in an avalanche up Burstall Pass way yesterday - Adele, you may remember we were up there a few-days-shy-of-a-year ago. They didn't survive & weren't easy to find as they were up there with out avalanche transceivers. I don't know a lot about avalanches, but that doesn't seem particularly smart on many counts. Interestingly, emergency services were alerted by others in the area activating the SOS function on their SPOT - nice to know it works.