It’s been almost 14 years since I started telemarking. I remember the thought process; I was a dirtbag poor student, was sick of resort and alpine skiing, wanted to use some of that wonderful snow that always seemed to fall in the mountains surrounding Vancouver. The options were limited at the time; AT bindings were junk. I had a pair of Fritschi Standard alpine touring bindings that were clunky, released in wonderfully unpredictable ways and were heavy. Then I scored some Kazama Couloirs with Riva III bindings and leather Merrell Supercomps and with this light setup I was off to the races. 14 years later and times have changed. I now have a nice modern lightweight tele setup (BD Havocs; G3s) and AT setups (Kneissl Tankers, Freerides/Goode
Extra Versatiles/Diarmir IIs) to pick from. I started down the path of the AT dark side a year ago during the woeful snow drought of 2003-4 when legions of hopeful backcountry tourers liquidated un-used alpine touring gear for peanuts. Since I got my initial setup, I’ve been using my tele gear less and less to the point that every now and then I have to take my boots and skis out of the garage every now and then to let the poor things see light of day.
I’ve been having fun on the AT gear.
My decision to go full AT was made for me when I snapped my Goodes leaving me with a spare of AT bindings but no light setup. I could have bought another pair of skis but the quiver is getting a little out of control. My Havocs, left in the darkness of the garage, were calling to me.
It was an easy decision to make ultimately. I’d used the tele gear twice in my last 40 days of touring. When my good buddy Dave from Vancouver Island called to let me know that he could get his one day of skiing a year this week, I decided to take my tele gear out for its last day in the pow. Since Dave is also a tele’er, this act of goodbye seemed appropriate.
We decided to hit up my favourite sidecountry; the Musical Bumps of Whistler. I start by meadow skipping down the backside south-east faces of Flute.
Dave knee drops while Sharon, lacking soul, pursues.
The slopes are really wind-affected so you have to pick an aspect and hope for wind-transported fluffies. Here I drop the knee (but am not squatting to pee). Note the wonderful gaper-gap.
After polishing off Flute Backsides, we gain Oboe Peak. The pure north-face aspects are wind-scoured so we pick an area that’s hopefully avoided some of the worst scouring. Success as Rob hits up the pow.
Peter on Oboe.
Then here come the twin tree fairies – Lee followed by Dave. Nice form Dave – way to keep those shoulders down the fall – line
Things don’t go right in meadow-skipper land.
I note Dave’s smile …. grrr
Then Dave cartwheels too … whats a tele turn without tele-tumbling?
I can make some decent turns.
Its just more fun to show the bad ones.
Forgot my kneepads but luckily there’s now a decent base over at Oboe.
Two years off his skis and Dave can still cut a mean turn.
Simon drives from the back seat showing that you don’t have to tele to make ugly turns.
Dave and Sharon on Oboe’s trees.
More tele turns; bye bye tele – I will miss you … a little.
Simon down Oboe.
The Oboe Creek interchange.
This time we cut down to the backside off the southeast aspects heading for the Singing Pass trail. Here’s Peter.
Dave again with some mean turns.
Watch for the next touring installment featuring my Havocsreborn as AT skis.
Sidenote: Singing Pass is skiable to the base with some exposed creeks at the bottom. Looks like you can ski right out of Oboe Creek also to the SP trail. Cowboy Ridge had good lines; looks like crowns from avalanches on the north side of the Cowboy Ridge and off the convexity in the middle of Cowboy Ridge. Ski-cutting convexities produced no results. Another party dropped the cornice off Oboe Peak on to the north face without results.