Fairy Meadows 2008 Exchange Day and the Practise Slopes

Words by Lee Lau. Photos by Lee Lau, Sharon Bader, Mike McArthur, Jeremy Roche and Bill Carey. All rights reserved

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After a few days skiiing and touring in the Revelstoke area, it was time for us to take the elicopter to Fairy Meadows. Our pickup point was 50kms or over 25 minutes flight from the heli pad. Unlike last year the weather was cooperative and the flight went off without ahitch. Amusement was provided by watching the group before us unload spaghettied tangled piles of skis, poles, duct-taped milk-crates and sundry containers with goods strewn all over. Clearly the briefing about safe and efficient packing of helicopter loads had been ignored.

Alpine Helicopters comes in with a sling load

Kinbasket Lake

View from the front door

A ski cut released a bit of tension in a wind-loaded slop

Fairy Meadows is the last group to fly in so we didn’t actually all get into the Bill Putnam hut

and ready for a quick tour till about 3 pm. After our group of 10 plus cook were assembled we took off for a quick exploratory tour up to the Practise Slopes W of the hut. Not wanting to rely on beta from the previous group Benet and I took off to the most wind-loaded exposed slope we could find and parked ourselves on top of a convexity. We found the main event to be wind-slab and a thin layer of buried stellars at about 15 cms, 40 and 70cms. I then ski-cut the slope and it proceeded to avalanche with the slab remotely triggering above me (whoops!). Luckily my zone of safety was a flat bench and the slab moved slowly so I had lots of time to watch the slab flow around my feet.

The next thing to look forward to was a great dinner from our cook, Julie of Revelstoke. We had never had a cook before but now that I’ve had one on a trip I’m sure that it’ll be a continuing event. What a treat it is to have good food prepared consistently every day.

With the promise of good weather coming in tomorrow we went to bed, fully fed and eager with anticipation.

Upstairs in the hut – the sleeping quarters

The Bill Putnam Hut

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