Okay folks. After three years of passing the Powder mag Shooting Gallery section to my wife with comments like, "doesn't that look like fun?", she's finally expressed interest in getting into the backcountry. So I've planned a 4 day hut tour with two 13er summits.... Just kidding. I mean, that's what I wanted to do but common sense prevailed.
I'm starting this thread to document the successes and fails of getting her into BC skiing. We've made a date next week for our first venture. We'll see how it goes. Now, for the back story.
My wife. Andi is a professional photographer. She's the type that would gladly sacrifice shoes to make room for more lenses in her bag when we travel. She is a decent downhill skier, and an intermediate telemarker. She loves nordic and skate skiing so the UP will actually be a blast for her. To that end, she completely digs backcountry travel on nordic skis - like to the point that she has a pair of Asnes with three pin boots. So for her, this is a chance to get up off the valley floor and take some great photos. *I must remember that*
She'll be traveling on telemark gear. The boots are pretty light. I'm not sure the bindings have a climbing bar. Will have to check. And the ski is more of a *ahem* carver.
She's never really skied powder. I mean, not much.
So, since I preach safety, I've been running her through principles of beacons, searches and extractions. In the next day or two we're going to work on conducting searches, probing and lots and lots of digging. Because of her nordic skills I am not too worried about skinning. If anything, the skins will just piss her off because of lack of glide. But she'll be fine there.
We're staying uber mellow on our first venture. If the snow pack looks good we'll head up Red Lady and ski the glades. Very low angle stuff - no avy danger due to the terrain. Looking at the pack and the storm forecast we're probably in for about 3 - 6 inches of powder over a supportive mid pack (if you'll call it that). If there is a breakable crust then we'll divert to a different aspect. Can't think of a worse way to introduce someone to powder than breakable crust. The UP is mellow (except for the start and we'll just book pack that to make it easy), winds through some beautiful aspen and pine stands. Another thing I like about this route is that at almost any time in the UP that you want to bail you can just traverse skiers right and ski down the glades. So, we won't have the "must get to the top" syndrome going.
So that's the plan. Not optimal and violates rule #1: there is no reason your wife should ever be on equipment of lesser quality than yours. We may opt for renting some BC tele skis for her if I can talk her into it. The climbing bar has me worried.
The End Game
Here's what I am trying to do: 1) grow my own live in BC partner and 2) get her comfortable in the BC so that when my girls are old enough we can all do it as a family (they're gamers now - my 7 year old asked if she could have a pair of Dynafits - I got choked up).
She'll never be into big descents. For her it will be the experience of the tour that matters. However, I think she'll like skiing low angle powder. If she gets into it I'll give her my Shaman which would make a great BC ski for her. She's also a ridonkulous photographer so I have a vested interest in those pics!
So I am trying to be realistic here. We'll see. So, what do you think my chances are:
Great - Dude, she'll be asking for heli drops for Xmas
Good - Sounds like you won't screw this up too bad Que
Poor - This is gonna cost you dude
Edited by Que - 12/8/10 at 10:24am