Fairy Meadows Part II 3/7-3/8

We woke up to stormy weather the next day; a welcome break after the previous two days. With non-existent visibility in the alpine, we decided to check out the trees near the hut. Our day’s travel was the following:

We left the hut at a leisurely 9:45, planning to head up the slopes above the hut before dropping down a ridge into the lower elevation trees. But Prescott had some other plans. The previous day while returning from his ski he had spotted a large, pillowed cliff a couple hundred yards downhill from the hut.

Radiating his usual endless stoke, he convinced us to go check it out. As soon as I saw the cliff, I knew there was no way I was hitting it. The rest of the group agreed. That is, except Prescott. “Light’s a little flat, but looks reasonable” he told us. Feeling a bit wary I headed around to the base to watch the show. “Does the landing look clear?”, he shouted down. Hearing a positive response, he disappeared back from the edge for a second and then reappeared, launching himself into space. He fell for an eternity, tucked into a perfect flying cannonball, disappearing into a cloud of snow at the bottom before emerging, his smile visible through the veils of snow. A cool 20+ footer to kick off the day. Prescott’s Huck Your Meat Camp was officially in session.

The group, infused with a newfound energy and playfulness, set off up the skinner for the day’s adventure. We found zero visibility on the slope above the hut, validating our decision to stay low for the day. A quick 30 minute climb brought us to the plateau above the hut. We traversed over until we gained a ridge which, beyond, dropped steeply off to the northeast. We transitioned here and worked our way down a couple hundred feet before dropping back off the ridge into a low-angle, tree filled clearing. Continuing down, the terrain suddenly transformed into a perfect, steep hillside, full of spaced trees and snow covered boulders. Feeling inspired by Prescott we all spent the first lap eying up every cliff and boulder we skied by, scoping landings and sizing up takeoffs.

After about 1000 feet of skiing and scheming, we reached the flat ground atop the moraine. We located a pre-existing skinner and followed it back up through the woods to the clearing up top. We took our time on this next descent, carefully retracing our earlier steps as Prescott flitted around offering advice. “Punch your hands forward”, “A slight jump on takeoff”. Our hoots filled the air as we gleefully threw ourselves larger and larger drops into the soft snow below.

We did one more lap before heading back to the Hut in time to wolf down a late lunch and prepare for the evening’s festivities. Back at the hut I found myself marveling at the variety of skiing that Fairy Meadows was offering. The day’s playful and carefree nature was a perfect contrast to the big vert and challenging route finding of the day prior.

The weather was once again clear the next day. The day’s route was the following:

Still feeling jazzed on jumping off things, Hunter, Jake, Zack, and I decided to head back up to the ridge above the hut and ski down through the trees again.

The new snow had erased all signs of prior days’ adventures and we paused on the ridge to watch as new lines were drawn across the vast landscape.

We made our way down through the glades to the flat ground atop the moraine. The newfound visibility offered us our first good look at the terrain below. One glance and we knew that was where we were going to be spending the rest of our day. Beneath us lay a 35° slope, covered from top to bottom with perfect snow capped rocks; the dream pillow zone!

We eased into our first laps, tentatively lining up some of the smaller features, feeling out the snow.

The conditions could not have been more perfect. The snow somehow managed to feel not only bottomless, but also predictable and energetic. Smooth landings and swooping turns had us all smiling ear to ear when we reconvened at the bottom.

By the time we had reached the top the group of ladies (Taryn, Deidre, Jess and Tierra) had arrived. The influx of friends only added to the great energy, and we cheered them on as they dropped in for their first runs.

For the next four hours the schedule was blissfully simple: scope an untouched line of pillows that looks appropriately challenging, let friends talk you into a bigger and scarier line, launch down said line as everyone yells and cheers, skin 15 minutes back to the top and repeat all over again.

My confidence grew with each lap, and I soon found myself hitting drops I would have never dreamed of even a day earlier. The canvas was seemingly endless, and we continually painted new lines across it, rarely having to cross each other’s tracks. In the end, I skied six of the most fun laps of my life. Pillows have always seemed to me to be the quintessential British Columbia ski feature, and this slope gifted us the perfect opportunity to immerse ourselves in these unique landscapes. I can’t imagine a more perfect day out with friends.





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