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Yes – while this post will talk about my AST (Avalanche Skills Training) Level 1 Course at Mount Cain last weekend, it is categorized as “bacon”.  This will all make sense by the time you finish reading.  As will the title…

So, I headed up to Mount Cain for the weekend on Friday – solo for a change.  My back, while still sore, was much improved compared to the previous Sunday, and a weekend combining class room work, some light skiing and skinning and maybe a bit of snow shovelling sounded like just the thing to get my back sorted.  Friday was rather uneventful, save for meeting Matt who ended up splitting my room for the weekend.  He was supposed to get a ride with a friend of mine, but was “in surgery” and left late.  Then his clutch went, so he had to hitch hike up the last 50 km or so.  Turns out he didn’t grab too much stuff from his car, and spent the weekend sleeping in his jeans and a hoody (no sleeping bag)…

Saturday dawned with some clouds, but mostly clear and I headed up to the cabin where my group would get classes for the weekend at the oh so early time (for a Saturday people) of  8:30 am.  It was a pleasant skin up the hill, and despite my back being sore enough to wake me up several times during the night, I could feel it “loosening up” as I climbed the hill.  I put my yoga mat at the front of the class, met my instructor from Island Alpine Guides and my classmates, and settled in for the lectures and videos.  I spent the classroom time of the day split between lying on my stomach, kneeling, standing at the back and sitting – stretching all the while.  By the the time we had to head up the hill after lunch, my back hardly hurt!

We spent the afternoon going around Mt. Cain checking out the terrain and discussing the avalanche risk.  It was a bit of an eye opener as I learned that the West Bowl – which I have skied quite a lot, is considered “Complex” terrain – the highest danger rating for terrain in the lingo of avalanche awareness.  While I had always understood it was a risky place, I guess I always felt it wasn’t too dangerous…

Saturday night, despite four young, attractive women making googly eyes at me and wanting to go to the impromptu dance party happening out by the maintenance shack, I was responsible and turned in early.  My back still woke me up a couple of times, but not as much as Friday night.

Sunday started with some more class time, and then practice with beacon searches and companion rescue.  My back felt better and better all day, and we were done early enough for me to sneak in a couple of runs!

Now – enter Sunday night, and a seemingly sudden dip in my intelligence. You see, Mt. Cain isn’t often open on Mondays – only when a school group has the hill booked.  Thus, there were only about 4 other people staying in the fancy lodge that night with me.  I guess that since I didn’t party it up Saturday, when there was actually a party to go to (with a DJ, a glowing cube and all!), my subconscious must have decided that Sunday was a good nigh to get completely gooned!!!

Despite going to bed earl-ish and having no back issues (I wasn’t feeling any pain) I woke up Monday feeling horrible.  I drank some water, which I promptly puked up, and then tried to eat some breakfast.  Still feeling awful, I struggled into my gear and onto the lift.  I rode up with my buddy Chris to whom my discomfort was obvious as he made fun of me the whole way up.  Run 1 – honestly one of the best runs I’ve had in a while down the left side of the main face off the lower tee – untracked six inches of pow on a firm base!  I almost started to feel better.

I headed up for a second run, and tried some of the trees to the right of the tee.  Part way down I started having trouble keeping it together, so I decided to head into the lodge…as I was starting to get my gear off, I could feel my stomach rebelling.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough and spewed my breakfast (well half of it) all over the floor right in the middle of the lodge…right in front of two of the four people who had spent Sunday night there also…this is where the bacon comes in.  I had attempted to eat breakfast at the lodge – bacon, eggs, toast,potatoes – hoping that the mass of food would settle things out.  I couldn’t have been more wrong…I feel almost blasphemous to have upchucked bacon…

I cleaned everything up, and by 10:18 am, after only two runs on a day when the slopes were empty and there were 8 inches of fresh, I was back in bed.  And that was it – I had to be back in town to give a presentation to one of the local municipalities council meetings, so by 12:30 pm I was in the truck, driving down the hill…

Ugghhhh

I think the worst part, worse than wasting that wonderful bacon, is that I lost 2-3  hours of powder skiing.  Oh well, all I can really do is laugh at myself!!  However, I will be cutting down on the booze – can’t have anything interfering with bacon and powder now can we!

On a brighter note, my camera arrived at London Drugs finally, and I have begun to snap pics and video.  Here’s the best so far.  Have a great week!

Jamming with “Those Guys from Tin Town” – photo by Gordon Ross.  Taken with my new TS-2 Lumix!

Andrew