Letters to the editor for the week of January 3rd 

Personal groomers

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Page 2 of 11

It was a Saturday and I showed up at Creekside around noon. Since everyone was eating lunch the lift lines were minimal so I headed straight to Peak Chair. Visibility was great although I noticed all the bowls were quite tracked out as I saw them from the lift. I decided to see what was around back. I went straight ahead off the chair and followed the cat track (Matthew's Traverse) for about 300 metres when I noticed an untouched powder-filled bowl to the right that was beyond the out-of-bounds markers.

Stopping to admire how epic this run looked I noticed there were a few tracks through it. I counted about five different tracks that others had taken and with a little deliberation I made the foolish decision of following them.

This decision, in hindsight, could have cost me my life. This bowl, which I later became aware of, is called Cakehole and there are several search and rescues performed there annually.

I dropped in and right away the powder was chest high and the pitch was steep so you could really haul ass. It was truly amazing, it's what I imagine heli skiing to be like. It felt like the movies looked. I had the best 20 turns of my life until the voice in my head said, "this is too good to be true, something is wrong."

By this point I had made it down to the tree line and was in the forest so I had lost my perspective of the mountain below me. I could see how the tracks of others before me got funnelled down into a valley with an exposed creek bed at the bottom, so I decided to stay as high as I could on the valley ridge. I had been in the woods for about ten minutes continuously making my way further down the mountain until I found myself following one set of ski tracks and then they suddenly vanished. I took two more turns and realized that maybe that person had stopped and backtracked, so I decided to do the same.

I quickly noticed ahead of me was a deep valley and that I must be at the top of a cliff. My view of the valley below was blocked by dense bushes and trees that had overgrown the crest of the cliff and I saw no safe way to pass. I backtracked further by walking parallel to the edge of the cliff in the direction I came from. As I walked through chest deep snow, falling into holes was my main concern. At one point I stepped through some fallen trees and got sucked into a hole.


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