Started the new year with doing something spontaneous (1 Viewer)

Kate Westcoast

May 11, 2012
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Rossland, BC
Nothing like a broken ankle to make me check squat the planet for the first time in a long time.

Heres a story from Canada friends

Our spontaneous new year adventure hadnt quite gone as planned, not that we had planned our trip at all. We drove far, crossed the province into Alberta, saw some grasslands, rolling hills, saw the mountains in the rearview mirror. Our spirits were elevated the whole time, holding hands over the shifter, catching each others eye, kisses on the cheek. After 5 years we are still our best selfs together when were behind the windshield. It must be something about not knowing where were going to sleep upon nightfall. I wouldn't have it any other way.

It was pitch black when we were decending down the long and drawn out stretch of road that led into the Castle mountain provincial park. I could feel the resistance as we pushed are way through the whipping winds. Snow blowing all over the road. It was too dark to see any mountains, and it definietly didnt look like we were headed towards a ski area. Sure enough we arrived and saw bungalows, cabins, and trailers inhabitated by fellow ski bums parked for the season. We set up camp beside them and went to see if we could find a bar.

Inside the T-BAR Pub and Grub of Castle Mountain ski resort we sat drinking double rye and gingers to "warm" our bodys for a cold night and chatted to the bartender. She was from Winnipeg and had worked there for 5 seasons, lived in Pincher Creek and thought it was hilarious that we had any sort of desire to go there, coming from the kootenay paradise where we now call home.

The bartender told us about millenial albertan culture, house parties all with cowboy boots in the entrance, conservative conversations with folks that grew up on ranches far and wide.

I told her BC was the opposite, blundstones in the entrance instead of cowboy boots, and pot heads.

We fell asleep to the wind whipping around our tent, flapping the canvas loudly, and tearing off part of our tail gate that night.
- - -

Our orange room, covered in condensation, frozen to the walls from our overnight breaths. We were separated by our feathered cocoons, but still comforted by the body beside us. My shoulders, sore, after laying on one side for too long. My feet noticeable warm. My partner, beside me, breathing slightly, bad morning breath, forehead morning kisses. Our rooftop tent: winter edition.

The wind was so strong the night before that we didn't find it worth it to ski on the hill that day. We fixed the tail gate and drove out of there, marvoling at the rockies that we couldnt see the night before. We took the detour into Pincher Creek, our final destination before turning around, and once we arrived we just laughed.

It was starting to make sense why the nice bartender thought we were crazy.

Pincher Creek Alberta was nothing. A quick development of a small town. All the buildinga were new, rectangle, and had no personaility. It looked like a extremely minature Calgary, the strip malls. Tim Hortens, Boston Pizza, Walmart, and of course A&W because... alberta beef. It looked like it was all the franchieses were placed in their locations randomly and strictly for the conveience of the ranchers in the surrounding areas. The land around it was flat, rolling, and the mountains were in the far distance but it definietly felt like a world we have not really even started to explore together.

We walked into Tim Hortens with our toothbrushes and our hair crazy from the outside prairie winds. It seemed like the obvious place to be, as old men gave us their criticle stares and made us feel like runnaways from the law.

So, we went back to where we belonged, good ol British Columbia, and we drove straight back to Nelson, but took the long way along the coast like highway around kootenay lake, and took the ferry.

We decided to camp at Whitewater ski hill for the night for a 2nd attempt at resort skiing this trip. It was suppose to snow a lot overnight. We had expected a nice dead silent night, listening to the soft stellar flakes flickering off the outside canvas of our abode, but instead we listen to the growl of snow mobiles, the roar of snow cat groomers, working around us.

In the morning, we packed up in a hurry to not be in the way of the parking people who are just trying to do their job getting everybody organized. We carried our cooler into the main lodge to make breakfast and lunch for the day after deciding due to the lack of snow once again that it was not worth it to buy a lift pass.

While I unpacked what seemed to be our entire fridge and cupboards out of our cooler onto a large table where everybody was getting ready for their day, we started chatting to some "Super Seniors" who were bragging about how they get free ski passes now that they are 75 years old, and that they bought their house in nelson for less then their car back in the day. Looks like we got only 50 years to go, and once again, feeling like our generation is so screwed.

I was feeling a little discouraged to be honest. Not sure what to do with our day. But didn't want to go all the way home without having skiied anything on our skiing road trip. So I pushed myself out of the mindset and we started to trek up Evening Ridge, a popular ski touring destination of the side of the road near the ski hill.

On our hike up we discussed our options. Dreaming of being home owners. Having a big dog and a little dog, because that is really the best combination. We discussed Castlegar, Nelson, Rossland, all the places we have come to love. Just dreaming about how great our life could be if we took this opprotunity we are so lucky to have (because of our wonderful mothers) and make the right decision. The thought of making the right decision has become a minor stress in our lives.

The avalanche rating of the day was moderate, considerable, considerable, so where we were that day was a good choice, and a popular route with other hikers as well due to the large anchors, (trees) and because of the low visability we deicded to not go further.

We tore off our skins, Connor clipped in his splitboard, and we put our gear on to get ready to ski down.

I went first, scouting out a lovely looking drop between two trees, landed it, and skiied right into a roll that I did not see.

I knew right away I had hurt myself but there was no time to panic. Connor sat me down and told me to breathe. So we breathed. We took our slow breaths for 5 minutes. We drank some water, ate some of our granola bar, and thought about our options.

Due to the fact we really werent that incredibly far from the road, the only option was down and out, and the only way to get down and out was to go down and out.

I tried to ski, side stepping down, but it hurt to much. It felt like my foot was gonna break off completly by placed my ankle on those angles. Connor was just encourgaging me the whole time, stating we just have to get down the mountain.

We got to the treeline, where visability was better and were now protected by the wind. Connor suggested because what we were doing was clearly not working, that I was to climb on him like a koala bear while he held my skis which were attatched to my backpack while he snowboared us down. This was frightening and I didn't do it right and it did not work for me.

I tried walking.

The skin track was padded down in such a perfect way that day that I was able to stumble out of there using my heels each step, digging into the slope, and my poles to hold my weight. It was a long and lengthy process but because of the rare conditions of the track I was feeling confident I was going to be able to get out of there even with pain shooting through my leg with each step, but it was bareable. Couldnt be more than a sprain.

Everytime I started to laugh I started to cry. Connor encouraging me the whole way down. I hummed zippity do dah on my breath, after every switchback I told myself that that part was over. I was doing it.

We came across other skiiers and I apologised for ruining the skin track. All I could choke out was that I was sorry, I had hurt myself. Some offered to call rescue, to make a toboggan out of my skis that I wasn't using. A nice man slipped a fruit source bar into my pocket. Connor gave them our description of our truck where everybody parks so if it was there by the time they were done skiing that something was wrong.

By the time we were just off the slope on the mountain, those skiiers skied passed us, and offered to take my pack and skis that Connor was carrying the whole time as well as his own pack and his snowboard. They put my bag in the back of our truck for us so our treck through the base of the moutain would be a little easier.

I made it out and Connor lifted me into the cab of the truck and took off my boot. It was fucked, that was for sure. So we went to the hospital and they told me I climbed down the whole mountain with a broken ankle. The rest is history.
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Kate Westcoast

May 11, 2012
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Rossland, BC

Always something waiting around the corner anytime it seems the road has gone dull or you've taken a wrong turn, ha

Wishing you a speedy recovery! Hope you dont need surgery..?
Going to find out in 1 week 3 days 22 hours lol! Its so true, when life becomes fairly predictable it throws you a curve ball.

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