Waking up friday morning, I head to my home office to send a few quick emails and do a bit of work before my lazy 9am departure. I’ll be skiing near Marble, CO in a few hours, but need my clients to think I’m happily working first. A quick phone call to one of my favorite clients ends with a disturbing conclusion; “Happy Friday the 13th” she says!
I’m typically a rational person. However, my mother passed one negative trait on to me that I’ve been fighting off most of my life.
I’m prone to occasional bouts of superstition. Combine that with my attempt to be more conservative in the backcountry, and suddenly I’m feeling a bit apprehensive about the day.
Suck it up, Dave!
I’m heading out with a good crew. Skiers and riders I know to be conservative and willing to back down when necessary. Our resident
telemarker is a local guide. We know the area and that we can eek our way safely out. But still, Friday the 13th!
We arrive at the trailhead without incident, “Whew!” Through on our gear, mine being loaded into my Sweet Pea. We ascend into the trees, which confirm the report of snowfall in the feet over the last week.
Calm and quiet, lightly snowing we climb.
We cross tracks with a few skiers heading down after skiing “crotch deep” snow up top. Sure it was, on tele gear. We are 3 alpine skiers, 1 split-boarder and Lynn, our lone telemarketer. We congratulate Lynn on the deep snow he’ll be getting later. Fifteen minutes later we meet 2 more skiers. “Epic!” is the word. “You’ll see,” they smile. As we cross a knoll known to be hammered by the wind, I notice the snow is still 18 inches deep and it was windy.
When the top of Marble Peak is attained, we drop packs, remove skins,eat up and marvel at the calm air. There is not a breathe of wind up here. Rare. As we select our appropriate layers and scope our line, I realize I have an odd decision before me. If the snow is truly as deep as we’ve heard, and the snow pack as stable as it seems, then perhaps I substitute the Avalung for the bandana. What! Yeah, bandana as snow breathing device.
What can I say, the snow was so deep today that not even the telemarker had a “depth” advantage! Like flying through a cloud, I
felt no bottom, could see no sky, head plants revealed no up or down.
As we descend the first 400 feet, the sky opens up. We enjoy the rest of the run in the sun. We mix pitch after pitch of perfect snow, sprinkle with a little bit of air, add good friends and back to the office by 4! What a lucky Friday the 13.