Fast forward to earlier this month and I was pumped, and although the average age of that week's clients would exceed 55 as estimated by the lodge manager, the weather was looking good. Weather-wise, I picked the perfect week. After a week of frigid weather, the skies opened up and it snowed almost 1m of snow while I was there!
On Sunday the fly-in day, I was a little hungover and I knew I had to bring my 'A' game if I was to sit shotgun in the helicopter for my first ever ride. Fortunately the flight went fairly smoothly, but with some clouds obscuring views of the high peaks of the Freshfields and Mt. Forbes. Mistaya Lodge is just on the other side of the divide from Peyto Hut, in fact it is not uncommon for motivated groups to exit to Bow Lake over the Trapper-Baker col.
Upon arriving at the lodge, I was hit full force with the smell of warm cinnamon buns, in a warm, spacious lodge complete with composting toilets and 4 person bedrooms. A definite step up from the ACC huts.
Delicious breakfasts preceeded days of skiing deep snow that had refilled skintracks intertwined with digging into our lunch bags for home baked goodies, then followed by tasty apetizers, sauna time, massive dinners, and sweet deserts.
We explored zones like Heather Ridge, Mista Vista, Leprechauns, Wildcat Moraines, Grindal Moraines, Red Cliff, Mohawk Ridge, the Abyss, the Waterfall, Shroom Room, Sarah's, and Leah's Lane. Runs below the lodge (Shroom Room, Sarah's, Leah's) were definitely the highlight of the week as they were full of partially submerged boulders where we could bounce over the pillows.
I really enjoyed the skiing, and I found that lodge owner, Dave, and assistant guide Ken had an excellent handle on the area and were able to get us into some fun terrain even during elevated avalanche danger.
I found the guided pace to be almost excruciatingly slow. There were probably some of the best ski conditions that I would find all year (comparable to Valemount), but collectively, we just didn't have the speed, endurance, or quick transitions required to make the most of it. A couple of days into the week, I resorted to breaking my own trail to keep things interesting for me. There was a 6-4 split of slower skiers to "better" skiers, and there were days where we skied as a 10 person group!
|Cave at the top of Sarah's|
|After my first heli ride. shot gun!|
|Skiing to the Shroom Room. I would get to punch this track in on Friday!|
|Pillows everywhere in the Shroom Room.|
|Leah's Lane funnels into an avalanche path, very much like a ski run at the hill.|
|Awesome glacier runs would certainly be a highlight if the weather, group abililty, and stability stars align.|
|My handiwork. A new track every lap!|
|Sky cleared up so we could fly home and what did we see!|
|It does snow in the rockies!|