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Alex Wigley: This Last Month is a Blur

The following is a trip report from DPS friend and stellar mountaineer Alex Wigley, from BC. You can visit his blogSkiTheory

The past month is a blur.  Every day became another mission, whether it was a summit on a glaciated Coast Range peak, skiing a steep line, or just ripping down untouched mountains, painting my tracks into its walls with deep blower snow.  Perhaps I'm spoiled, but a day without skiing, is just another day not worth talking about.

All year, I've been training for the Ski Mountaineering Racing World Championships in Italy, focusing on skinning thousands of vertical feet.  Training is training, but when you combine it with backcountry skiing, it becomes something totally different.  Each day of skiing, or "training," makes every day mean something more than just another day out for a few laps.  Moving faster brought more fluidity.  Never stopping, arcing smooth and high speed Super G turns down big faces, and then quickly winding back up another peak for another lap.  This is the ultimate in flow: downhill and uphill, together. 

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That flow has always been one of the best aspects of backcountry skiing.  An entire day with multiple peaks and lines enchained into one single path.  Why not enjoy the flow, progressing beyond just skiing one peak in a day, when you could enjoy another four?  Moderation is dead.

The mornings before work are my favorite.  Starting early, my partners and I start skinning, before the sun is up.  Skiing lines off nearby peaks in the Spearhead Range, or the long drive up the Duffy to climb couloirs in white-out conditions, and capping our descents with face shots before anyone else is even out in the cold, crisp air.  By 9:30am on most workdays I have already gained and lost 2300m of elevation - all before downing my morning coffee. My quick morning jaunts became as strenuous as a full day out skiing for most adding more checks to the tick list. 

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So, although I spent today wasting away doing errands down in Vancouver, the night is young, and I'm strapping on the headlamp.  At least my day won't be a total loss, and sleep comes easy, after a night of flowing through the mountains.