Spring has bloomed and with it a whole lot of great weather and road racing has taken over my life.
I had set out to ski 50 days this year and having passed that with ease, my motivation to keep skiing has been greatly diminished. I had hoped to snag a ski day every month of the year but honestly I can’t be bothered to slog in the summer when I can be riding some great roads. The only saving grace for my ski season was a lucky win in the Expose Yourself Contest, courtesy of BackcountrySkiingCanada.com. Here is my (3rd place) winning entry: Pilgrimage to the Powder, the prize is a week for two at Kokanee Glacier Cabin with Heli-in and Heli-out provided by Kootenay Range Helicopters.
It has been difficult to switch back to skiing mentally. These days I just want to hop on my wheels everyday, but I know a week of ski touring will actually help improve my riding. The change of pace and the long aerobic days will allow me to load back on the intensity as I prep for the Capital Stage Race the first week of June.
I have done a few hut trips before and though they are extremely fun, the planning required to execute properly takes some skill. I am just finishing a certificate in project management and funny enough the planning required for a hut trip is very similar to executing a project. I always segregate my planning and process into three parts. When flying into a hut, you need to remember everything because zipping into town for a last minute item or food is not an option.
Technical Gear (aka ski gear)
- Make a list of required gear dependent on the terrain and the type of skiing conditions that you may incur. This will depend on the group you are going with and your aspirations for alpinism.
- For this trip to Kokanee Glacier Cabin the gear list is a little longer because of the time of the year and the variability of spring conditions. In this case, we’ll include additional technical gear such as crampons, ice axes, rope, harnesses and belay/climbing gear.
Clothing and Comfort
- Any trip over 3 or 4 days, I bring at least two of everything (gloves, hat, long johns, socks). There is no desperation to pack ultralight for a trip like this, and your hut mates will appreciate you wearing a clean set of underpants and base layers every day.
- Supplement essential items with weather-specific gear (big down jacket, or t-shirts and shorts).
- There is no need to load up on casual clothing. One sweater, one pair of casual pants, and two t-shirts (if they’re merino they can double as ski and casual clothing since they won’t stink!) is more than sufficient.
- I’ll likely bring a small towel for showers, and a pillow for sleeping. Typically on a camping trip I’d stuff clothes into a stuff-sack as a pillow. But for a week-long excursion, and knowing we’ll have a lot of down time in afternoons, a comfy pillow goes a long way for napping in comfort.
Not as easy as it sounds to plan for every single snack, drink and food item for one week. Especially when you need to factor seven days of moderate to intense exercise. Focus on high calorie meals that minimize space.
- Pre-prep the meals as best as possible for quick and easy cooking. Opt for pre-cooked meats, or frozen/refrigerated entrées. Brownie and pancake mix are great additions too.
- Don’t forget about variety – nothing is worse than being forced to eat the same thing day after day. Think of it not as camping food, but what you’d typically want to eat at home over a week.
- The better you eat the more you can ski. Don’t be afraid of eating a little less healthy than usual. Expect a day of touring to burn 2500 to 3000 calories. This is important as your intake early in the week will dictate your energy level at the end of the week.
- Liquor is an important staple of any hut trip, but mix it up a bit and pair your beer and wine with your entrées. A signature last evening feast with drinks is a great way to celebrate the week’s accomplishments.
- Plan for a post-touring snack to top up the tank before dinner. A protein shake or even an extra sandwich will do. Your body is quick to absorb nutrients after exercise, and this will help you better recover for the next day of skiing.