Saturday, January 21, 2012


What is your perception of this cross country skiing thing? Slinking about with friends on the groomers? Skating around at maximum heart rate and drilling technique technique technique? Or is it the silent solitude of backcountry trekking? Whatever your passion, there is always another tweak, another adventure, a whole new perspective to unfold around the next corner. Sharing that amongst friends is what I like most about being here, the collective energy and discovery of being in the woods, on snow, on skis.

This past Saturday night I went skiing with friends and season pass holders Peter and Beth after a fabulous dinner together at the Lodge. While sitting around the big stone fireplace plotting our strategy, it occurred to me that the options were limitless, right from here --no driving. The Plan: a late night ski down to and across 13th Lake to make echoes, then ski out to Elizabeth Point and return via Old Farm Road, no matter that it was nearly 10 below out! We set off into the dark down to the beach headlamps blazing, the world around a glistening white surreal winter scene fading to deep night outside the periphery of the beam, crisp air frosting your cheeks, gliding through the trees down to the lake. At the beach meant lights off, and we set out across as our eyes adjusted to the deeply purple moonless starlit sky. Overhead the Milky Way shimmered in a slushy state of frozen suspension, twinkling sharp blinking stars all around. There hung Orion, one of the Dippers, bold planets and an epic horizon ringed by Big and Little 13th Mountain, and the Balm of Gilead Mountain and unspoiled by light and sound pollution. Whooping out sharp loud yelps resulted in tremendous echoes far back into the mountains and all the way down around the lake. There is something spectacular about standing deep in the belly of the valley out on the middle of frozen 13th Lake, those mountains towering about and marvelling at the breadth of the clear sky during a windless silent still frozen evening. It is the under weight of the universe at these moments that you fully experience our remote wilderness splendor.

Skiing out the few miles to Elizabeth Point was wonderful natural light night lake navigation, gliding silently slinking along, feeling your nostrils freeze shut for a split second as you inhaled deeply. We paused numerous times to search the sky and make more echoes, seeking the familiar landmarks to guide our progress, chuckling at how our speech became more comical as our faces got colder. Climbing up and out to the Old Farm Road created comfortable warmth and lead to the nearly effortless night glide back to the start. Everyone had their own perspective of our little adventure: mine came while ascending Hagan trail to Andy's Run, experiencing the frost on my collar tingling my cheeks and watching my breath turn to frozen vapor as it whisked upward through my headlight's beam. It is amazing here, and sharing it all with friends is the best part of being here!

Come on out and make your own tracks, freeze them into your memory and breathe in the splendor of our wilderness location while spreading the winter joy. And don't forget to pack your headlamp -- the fun never stops here, and the Ski Director never sleeps...

Peter and Beth on Bobcat Trail, plus a Skullbuster bonus

Old Faithful Trail flyer


  1. I love the groovy music Jay-way cool!

    1. Glad you like it. I like skiing one-handed with a camera, too...

  2. Yep. Groovy trail ski music... look out warren miller et al....