With a wedding, holidays, Christmas and New Year finally out of the way it was time for my little band of ex-pat ski brothers (and sisters) to get together for our first little ski outing of the season as a group. Having only a few flat local mini-excursions under my belt it still felt like the first time I'd been on skis in months and I was relishing being in the mountains and getting in some ups-and-downs.
Parking the car and skiing past the lift queues I'm always glad to leave the thrill-seekers behind to their expensive lift-accessed pleasure and earn my vertical more honestly. Conditions under the skis were good with plenty of fresh snow making the going easy but slightly slow, filling us all with a false but useful sense of downhill confidence so early in the season!
Eating is always a big part of being outdoors for most people and guilt-free calories are the best. We snuck out of the wind as best we could and packed down the snow to form a seat. Skis and sit-pads formed the upholstery while I dug out the rest of our picnic trench.
The weather was 'interesting' all day. The wind changed direction at will. The snow stopped and started when it felt like it, changing from dry swirling sprinkles to lazy fat wet flakes that smothered sound. Mountain views were the only constant, obvious by their almost complete absence throughout the day.
The trail eventually petered out into nothing but deep powder. We watched the more skilled telemarkers carve up the headwall and lusted after their god-like turns. We turned into the wind, pointing ski tips downhill. Wearing goggles and smiles we enjoyed the fruits of our uphill endeavour with a gravity assisted homeward journey. The almost effortless return's serenity was only punctured by a quick came of 'Dodge the Unleashed Dog' as we descended through the hyttes. Back at the car there were excited snippets of conversation in between mouthfuls of Christmas cake. It was a ____ing good day!