Led Zepplin’s hard driving rock song "Whole lotta love" cranked from the car stereo as we pulled into the unbelievably full Highwood pass parking lot for some early season turns. Usually that last song is the one that sticks in your brain for the day, so I was glad the music matched the stoke my Skimo world’s teams race partner and I were feeling. Unfortunately I was soon to learn that there wasn’t a whole lotta love in the backcountry scene that day.
First off, as we were staging our gear in the parking lot, a very slow moving large pickup truck proceeded to run over one of my skis. I quickly ran over, protesting loudly so the rear wheels wouldn’t find the same target. It was to no avail. The bandits seemed to uncaringly ignore me. I’m so glad K2's light paulonia wood core was up to the task as any foam core certainly would’ve been damaged for sure. I yelled at them, "you guys must be snowboarders. Did you know you just ran over my skis?" They didn’t care, no apology, nothing. Then when they got out I noticed they weren’t using split boards or snowshoes..hello post-holing on the skin track.
The next encounter featured 2 hikers. We saw them leave the parking lot and wondered why they’d travel all the way to the pass to hike in 3-4 feet of snow when the valley trails were still pretty usable. We quickly caught up to them. One glanced back when I was only 4-6' behind him. At that point he squarely positioned himself in the middle of the trail so I couldn’t pass. I didn’t feel like opening my mouth as I wasn’t sure I could resist chewing them out for walking/wrecking the skin track. As I attempted to pass he squeezed over to try to keep me from going around. I went anyway. As I did he sarcastically said, "excuse me". As if that’s what he was expecting me to say. I joined his game and sarcastically accepted his non apology and said, "ok".
Pter at the Pass
The next group was tailed by a snowboarder (he at least had a split-board and wasn’t screwing up the track). I politely asked to pass on the right. He didn’t budge. I patiently skinned behind him for a bit at a 1/4 of the speed I was previously travelling at. A 2nd time I asked to go around. No budge. Finally with just a bit of space I busted a move and got around him. As we passed his other slightly more cooperative ski mates, they gave me a look that said, "how dare you pass me?".
On the zig-zag uphill to the start of the run we passed a couple other guys. They were obviously a little more experienced and we had a nice chat. As we shared our stories I had the thought that these newbies need to understand the ethics of the bc world a little better. I wondered aloud if they’d even bother to help in a possible rescue scenario...or if they’d even be able to.
Once we got away from the masses though we got some great turns in. 10 runs in all. Stellar weather, great company (the more hardy that went a little deeper in the bc were great-even the snowboarders). Great to be in the back country and on the boards again!