Powder Days Part 1

After watching the weather forecast with bated breath, we knew it was going to start snowing again.  So Excited.  It also meant the temperature was going to rise a bit, and while -30 degrees was interesting to experience, it is fine if it doesn’t continue for our whole trip.

It started snowing!  We had to work for another day, but that was fine, as it meant the snow could start building.

On Wednesday morning, we consulted the internets, and due to the 10cm of snow overnight, and the accumulated snow over the past few days, we decided to go to Kicking Horse again.  There were puppies playing in the carpark.  They don’t seem to care about the snow.

Happy Snow Puppies
Happy Snow Puppies

It was ridiculous and amazing and so soft and foofy.  The whole day was great, the powder was great, the field was so much fun with that much snow.  Everywhere is so much fun with powder!    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Cruising down into the bowls, it is all quiet and peaceful, and the only sound you can hear was not the scrape of board over firm snow or ice, but the “WooooOOOOO” and “YEahhhhh” of the people riding around you, everyone was just so excited and happy to have a powder day.  Even Canadians get excited about powder!  It was the best day we’ve had, and Woooooooooo.

I love the trees in the snow, not only for zooming around them, but they look so pretty!  And they have squirrels in them!

Foof!
Foof!
Valley
Valley
I love the trees!
I love the trees!
Trees trees trees
Trees trees trees
Trees trees trees
Trees trees trees

Thursday (today)  we decided to mix it up and go to Lake Louise, as it was closer, even though they hadn’t had quite as much snow.  We had a great day there, we stayed on Larch and Ptarmagin lifts, over the far side of the field, and the whole day was great, lots of zooming through trees, falling around trees, and a few swear words, but mostly it was fantastic and there were freshies galore!

Snow on branches
Snow on branches

We arrived home to nicely plowed streets, and a large ledge of snow in our driveway, so we had to spend some time clearing it out before we could park.   Not so much fun after a couple of full days of boarding, but it was nice to get the driveway clear.

I’ve formed a theory, on why Canadians are so nice and helpful.  I think it is cause of the powder, and cause their country is so pretty.  They can’t help but be super happy after having a winter of riding powder, it makes everyone so very happy!   And everything is just so pretty, even when there is no snow, the mountains and trees and lakes are all So Pretty, that it just makes everyone happy.  All the happy.

Animal Tracking

After dragging myself out of bed on Saturday,  I got to go out to Emerald Lake, and take part in an intro to tracking course.

Looking towards Lake Louise
Looking towards Lake Louise
P1200004
Chilly to start

It was with a guy called Nick, from North Star Bushcraft, and he was very knowledgeable, and the course was very fun.   l I was very interested in this, as I kept getting excited about all the random tracks I was coming across…We don’t get to see many tracks in NZ, we just don’t have the same population of mammals, and I don’t get to spend much time in areas of snow, where the tracks are all laid out, easy to see.
It was a balmy minus 33, I was equipped with toe and hand warmers, and we traipsed around in the snow with our snowshoes, examining tracks, and growing icicles on our faces, beards and eyelashes.  Even the guide’s feet were frozen by the end of it. We would stop and look at some tracks, have a bit of a discussion, do a few measurements, and then walk around a bit before we froze.

Heading off
Heading off
Some kind of weasel tracks
Some kind of weasel tracks
The group
The group
Different sizes of the weasel family
Different sizes of the weasel family
Making measurements
Making measurements

P1200013

Was very interesting, and hopefully has given me a few tools with which to interpret all the rest of the tracks I find in this lovely snow laden wilderness.  They’re not just tracks, there is an animal at the end of them, and they were going from somewhere, to somewhere, and the tracks tell a story.   Also, most of the things here are cute!   Cute little bunnies were hopping over there, cute little martens were bounding across the frozen lake over here!

A snow walrus!
A snow walrus!

P1200021

Icicles
Icicles

P1200025

Lovely and sunny
Lovely and sunny

Skiing! 7th February

So, it got cold!!  Like, your face is freezing off cold.  I think our new record low temperature is -36 degrees C, Chilleh!  I’m very glad we got the down jackets, they are amazing at being warm.  It is quite ridiculously cold.  I stopped going for runs, coz I felt like I was going to give myself pneumonia just by breathing.   Is quite an experience.  We haven’t been doing much, it is the kind of weather where you stay inside and be warm!
We went for a walk with Yogi the dog (Craig’s dog), up the hill, and he was absolutely adorable, running around, and rolling upside down in the snow like he was at the beach in summer.   He liked to eat elk poo, which was sad.  He loved to chase sticks, and would go bounding through the snow, much like a dolphin through waves, and send a spray of snow everywhere as he slides to a stop in front of you.

IMG_0333

A winding trail
A winding trail
A dolphin!
A dolphin!
Excited
Excited

Our last movie night in Banff, with some lovely negative temperatures, and the new headlights are much better, these ones actually light up the road.  Dale also adjusted the height of them a bit, so now we can see stuff while driving.

Chilly drive
Chilly drive

Friday, we decided to go skiing.   Didn’t want to board again, as we had plenty of boarding at the places we had been, but after a week of no snow, and barely any the week before that, we didn’t want to go again.   It wasn’t icy (it hadn’t warmed up enough to melt), but it was solid enough.  Groomers are only fun for a few zoomy runs.   Off piste is all tracked out, and there are moguls.
Lake Louise has a fantastic learners area.  Areas.  Especially compared with Ruapehu, where most of the learner trails are either quite flat, short, very skinny, and have lots of people.  At Lake Louise the green runs are mostly very wide, smooth, with a good mix of slopes, and with mid-week skiing, pretty much empty.  Based on these criteria, I decided it was time to try skiing again…I have been keen to get good at skiing as well as boarding, but every time I tried in NZ, either we had awsum people to board with, it was a fantastic snow day, or it was very busy.   I haven’t been skiing in a  couple of years, and have only done around 4-5 days, over the course of the years before that.   When I first started snow sports, way back before I moved to Wellington, I tried skiing for a few days, then tried snowboarding.  I liked the boarding so much, I went out and bought all my snowboard gear, and hadn’t looked back since.

So, we went skiing at Lake Louise. It was a cool and clear day (read: freezing, literally), and it was mid-week, so very few people.  We got some very nice hire skis from the local rental place, and proceeded to ride all the green trails, with pretty much no one to bother me!  It was exciting and interesting doing something different.  You can go pretty much all over the whole area, and still find green trails, so that was good.  It was a novel experience, not having to sit down all the time, unstrap your foot, and sitting on the chairlift was super comfy, you get to sit straight, and rest your feet, unlike boarding, where something is always twisted a bit.  Getting off the chairlift was also the easiest thing ever – even though I’m decent at boarding, sometimes getting off the lift can be a slight challenge.

Dale
Dale
View
View
Standing
Standing
Skiing!
Skiing!
Ring around the sun
Ring around the sun
Pretty skis :)
Pretty skis 🙂

Anyway, by the end of the day I was attempting many parallel turns, and even zoomed a few times, even though I didn’t always want to.  I only fell over a couple of times, and while you could argue that meant I wasn’t trying hard enough, I was incredibly tired at the end of the day, like, ridiculously tired, and we were in bed before 10pm, which has been unheard of so far on this trip.   The scenery was all amazing, and we both had a lot of fun.

 

3rd Feb, 2014

Turns out it is February already, not sure how that happened.  I like Canada.

I am a little disappointed it is not snowing more.  When we arrived in Field, it was in the middle of a week or so of snow, and it was all cloudy and snowy and delishuz.  After a few days it stopped, and has only snowed twice since then. I wish it would snow more.  I need more powder on my skifields.   I do appreciate the sun, and the sun makes the amazing scenery that much better… but… snow..

The temperature has been dropping over the past week.. our first couple of weeks here, the minimum was about -10, and some days it got up to 0, but now we’re getting usual temps of -15 to -25, and much colder overnight.   It is certainly an experience.  There is a windchill warning on the weather network website, as the windchill can make it ridiculously cold

I went for a run yesterday morning, even though it was -20 degrees C.  I wasn’t that keen on it, but thought I had better try it out, to see how it would go. I put on an extra layer on top and bottom, along with a balaclava and a hat, covering everything except my eyes, so I could see.  I thought wearing snow goggles to run was a bit extreme, but maybe next time!
The problem with running is that you generate a lot of heat, steam, sweat, evaporation.  As you heat the air around you, and the moisture settles on your balaclava, legs, hands, it then freezes again, and you get a nice little farm of ice crystals growing all over you, especially around your face.  At one point, my balaclava was frozen to my face, but it was better than having a bare face!

It was awkward, but doable, and it encouraged me not to stop during the run, as you get too cold!

Dale has some flu/cold/bad cough thing, that is exacerbated by the cold, dry air, so we are sticking close to home for a few days.

We will have to decide what we are doing in the next couple of weeks, for the rest of March, and whether we are going to stay in Canada.   I love it, and want to stay for the rest of the year, but we shall see what happens.  There are other things coming up that might be an incentive to move on sooner.

We saw a video on the net the other day, of people throwing boiling water out into the air, when the air temperature is less than -35 degrees C..  We don’t quite have that yet, but we thought it would be a fun experiment.  It ends up a lot of steam and foof, and not much of the water makes it to the ground.