We all gathered at Donna and Ron’s place in Canmore to make the final plans for our trip. The group skiing in, Jane, Steve, Donna, Ron and Margo were on their skis by 8:30. The weather was overcast with no wind and gently falling snow. It made for excellent skiing conditions. Fortunately the group were able to follow tracks so trail-breaking was very moderate for the majority of the route. However, the group helicoptering (Jeff, Debbie, Ivan, Steve Bennett and George) experienced a 3.5 hour delay in departure. There was a window in the weather that lasted about an hour, just enough time for the passengers and gear to get into Assiniboine safely. The group skiing in were able to contact the Helicopter outfit and were aware of the delays. A group decision was made to continue onward and snuggle together in the huts to keep warm, if necessary, knowing that their gear may not be waiting for them. (Margo was missing her man at that point!). The skiing group arrived around 6:15 pm with a warm welcome from the others and good food prepared.
Ivan worked enthusiastically to keep the fire going in the huts. It was toasty all night. A very cheerful Ivan woke us with such joy! it was a cloudless sky, the first time in 14 visits to Assiniboine that Ivan had seen it so clear. Ivan made sure Steve B. was up and ready with his camera to catch the sunrise on Assiniboine. They both left a good hour ahead of the group and cut a great trail up to Jones’ Bench. The others followed their tracks and we met for lunch. We then played for a while on some gentle slopes before continuing onward. We skied along the Bench eventually finding our way down to Og Lake and then back through the gully to the main trail back to Assiniboine Lodge area, a circular trip of about 14 kms. The sky remained clear and the snow retained its powder. Back at the cookhouse Ivan made his blueberry tea… it put everybody in the mood for a great evening of eating and drinking.
Sunday we awoke to a presunrise temperature of -19 and clear skies. Everybody was ready to leave by 8:30. The ski down the pass was wonderful, with powder snow all the way. Steve B. was able to ski down the pass so gracefully, shifting his weight on his skis in a magical way. He earned the Warren Miller Award for that! Lunch was at the Warden’s Cabin in balmy +3. The temperature continued to rise through the afternoon which made the second half of the trip more challenging. We arrived back at Shark Mountain around 3:30, exhausted but thrilled to have experienced such a wonderful time in the mountains.
A great group of people to be with to experience some of the best scenery nature has to offer!