Claiming the Snow
~ ZZ Troutski
You think cleaning up after that white stuff is bad!
Look, the snow seems to never stop falling outside some windows this year. Even with March here and Easter being talked about, the snow-filled skies do not seem to be moving away as they should, leaving a lovely spring behind in its horrid wake. There are pictures of homes that still have hills of snow blocking their first-floor windows. So…how can you claim the snow? How can you put it in its place and master the cold, white world?
The ultimate skier (or crazy person, depending on how you look at these following locations), seems to want that hierarchy over the snow-ridden world. They want to risk life and limb to use the snow to exhilarate and excite by taking runs down slopes that not even the Abominable Snowman would want to leave his cave to walk down.
Delirium Dive is not a fake name, but it certainly seems to stand for the disease that any skier must be suffering from who wishes to stand atop that thing and actually want to ski down it. Located in SunshineVillage, Banff, Canada, this is one place that looks more like an instant death ticket for those who wish to try, but it is also one on the ‘bucket list’ of many adventurers who seem to have no fear when it comes to reigning over the snow.
This is what you would call a true free-ride zone, beginning with a horizontal rock band that funnels into a tight channel, and moves on to a ridiculous pitch (50 degrees), which calls out ‘AVALANCHE!’ to Mother Nature. Skiers must carry a radio transponder for just this emergency as they are walked through a very private gate to try it out.
When it comes to wanting that massive chute, that speed, that locale of snow and ice that allows the skier to feel as if they are flying (and they actually might be, considering the amount of skill, talent and all out courage needed to ski Corbet’s Couloir), the man or woman (or delirious person) heads to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
You can’t blame the skiers who stand up there and change their minds. In fact, those are the ones who deserve a nice cup of coffee in the village so they can lift a glass to their common sense for letting the snow win. Epic is the term used by the ones who have approached this area. The lip of the opening precipice is legendary – a cliff face, to be exact, where the skier will have to drop approximately twenty-feet before ever placing their skis on the ground. This begins a leap of faith, but if landing right and survival is maintained than the rest of the course will seem almost cross-country.
La Grave…perhaps it will be just that? Skiers sometimes wish to leave home and venture to France just to see the massive La Meije glacier rising to 13,000 feet (plus) into the air. La Grave is there; it is the run just waiting for that extremist who wants to ride the 7,000 vertical feet of unmarked terrain. A mountain guide is suggested; rappelling gear, ice crampons, and a radio beacon are a must; and a kiss goodbye to the family and friends is something you definitely may want to do before traveling to your G…I mean, La Grave.
If you survive the gravesite and decide there must be more – then you either head to the Black Hole in Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont…or you seek therapy just as fast as humanly possible. This is a tree slalom, to say the least. Dense land providing the only triple-black-diamond trail in the eastern part of the United Stats. Think, super-fast at a 50-plus-degree pitch while having the wind blow through the trees around you. Just make sure your eyesight is good and your talent is high so YOU do not blow through the trees. BAM!
In the end, you have two choices. One; stay inside and look out at the snow, sighing, yet knowing completely well that the sun will be back. OR, head out with skis and a sense of adventure to claim lordship over the snow white world. Hint: The first choice is far easier and the chances of living to see the spring increase!