Blanket Glacier Wonderland!


By Derry

Backcountry skiers dream of carving turns in beautiful soft powder snow.  We may have exceeded our dreams with 165 cms of new snow (over 5 feet) on our Blanket Glacier trip from March 18-25.  Too much of a good thing!

Vance lead our merry troupe of powder hounds including: Kelly, Brenna, Derry, Pat, Brian, Andy, Steve & Jane, Linda & John, Rob & Dawn.

After helicopter arrival on Saturday, we formed a daily routine of eating, packing/shoveling snow, great skiing, then return to the Chalet for a sauna/shower, more eating and early to bed.  Rob introduced us to a stretching game that requires picking up a paper bag with your teeth.  Sounds easy until the bag gets shorter and shorter.  Undisputed winners were Kelly, Brenna, Andy and Rob.

Al Schaefer, our host at Blanket Glacier Chalet, provided excellent advice on avalanche risks and safe skiing alternatives.  We needed steep slopes for momentum, but not avalanche vulnerable.  Climbing was hard work, but the skiing was superb.  Andy, Brenna and Vance were amazing as trailbreakers.  Their antics jumping or “hucking” off 5 metre cliffs were very entertaining.  Digging avalanche snow pits confirmed the avalanche risk and provided an excuse for a major snow fight.  No winners were declared.

A medical emergency gave all of us a big scare.  Our medical professionals ably dealt with a concussion followed by seizures.  The rest of us provided support during the night until a helicopter evacuation was arranged for the morning.  After a hospital visits, our patient was declared healthy.  None of us will complain again about carrying first aid kits and a satellite telephone.

Key point of wisdom for the week:  AT is short for Aging Telemarkers.