Friday, April 26, 2013

Trinity Alps Ski Trip pt. 1

On April 15th four other guys and I hiked into the Trinity Alps with back country ski gear and food for seven days. The Trinities are the highest sub-range of the the California coast range. These mountains get so much snow that they have permanent snow fields, and even some glacial action, despite never reaching 9,000ft. I could talk a lot about all the sweet couliors, perfect blue skies and corn snow. But instead I'm going to share some real deep campfire wisdom from the back country. When you are skinning up every run there is only so much skiing you can do in a day. Thus you spend a large portion of time sitting around a camp stove waiting for that dehydrated bean powder to rehydrate. It is during this mouth watering lull in activity, surrounded by boundless vistas of alpine glory, that we "shoot the shit." These conversations are so deep and profound that I feel the need to share them here.

L-R Matz, Ghelfi, Joe and Brian survey potential lines during day 3.
First some terminology:
Pow- powder, light fluffy snow, the stuff of dreams, non-existent during the spring ski season
Corn- hard snow that is made soft by solar radiation, the best you can get in the spring ski season
Mashed Potatoes- snow that is made too soft by the sun, heavy and wet, it sticks to everything
Slay- to ski awesomely, usually used in conjunction with pow, "slaying pow"
Shralp- like slay, but more agressive (I always think of scalping, only putting tracks on a ski line instead of knifing a dead guys head), "Lets shralp this shit!"
Shred- again, like slay or shralp
Rip (ripping)- another term for awesome skiing, like shred/slay/shralp, "Watch me rip this shit!"
Charging- like ripping, "charging hard"
Huck- to go off a jump or cliff drop
Huck your meat- to huck big, putting your meat or physical body in jeopardy for the sake of the huck
Rad (radical)- something cool or awesome
Gnar- Gaffney's Numerical Assesment of Raddness, watch this video for further explanation:
Gnarly- something having the characteristic of gnar
Stoked- excited to something
Psyched- see stoked
Next level maneuver- doing something like a pro, really well, so well that its an innovation and a revelation, borderline genius
Jengis- failing to do or doing something badly, inefficiently or ineffectively, usually in the backcountry, this is usually visually obvious, the opposite of a next level maneuver
Couli (pronounced cool-E)- short for coulior, a snow filled gully, idealy steep and narrow, the gnarlier the better
Death Cookie- balls of hard snow and ice that have rolled down into the middle of a slope, oft hidden under nice snow
Spam!- a cry in favor of eating spam for dinner, this is always a bad idea, more on this later
Winco- a large discount supermarket chain with awesome bulk foods sections
Winco veggies- dehydrated carrots, onions, celery, and tomato mix from the aforementioned Winco bulk section
Personal cheese- we each had a 2lbs block of cheddar cheese with us on the trip, except for Ghelfi who had a 2lbs block of cheddar AND an 8oz block of pepper jack

That was probably pointless but anyway...
Stream crossing on the hike in. L-R Brian, Matz, Ghelfi and Joe.

Convo #1:
We have hiked in 8 miles with 70lbs packs while it started to snow. We pitched our tents and got inside. It is kind of windy and hard to hear each other talk since our tents are flapping and if we open the door we get a face-full of snow blown in.
Dude #1- Dudes, it is coming down!
Dude #2- I know man! Pow day tomorrow!
Dude #3- I don't know guys, I don't think it will dump that much.
Dude #1- But bro think about the potential for windblown pockets!
Dude #2- Yo guys, how much snow do you think is going to fall by tomorrow morning?
Dude #3- Dude, bro, no way will it be more that 2 inches.
Dude #1- No way man, at least 4-6 inches.
Dude #2- Hey, you guys up the hill... how much snow do you think is going to fall?
Dude #4- I can't hear what you guys are saying!?
Me- I'm betting on 10 inches!
Dude #1- NOOOOO! Don't jinx it!
Dude #3- No way.
Dude #2- Hey what do you guys want to do about dinner.
Dude #1- Personal cheese!
Dude #3- Yeah I vote we stay in our tents.
Dude #2-Anyone, want to cook dinner and bring it to me?
Dudes- silence....
Me- Personal cheese!
Dude #1- Spam!
Me- What!?
Dude #1- I'm eating spam!
Me- Yo, I can barely hear you. What are you saying about dinner?
Dudes #2&3- laugh
Dude #1- I love Spam!
Me- I love you too bro, but I don't understand what you are saying!
Dude #1- Spam! Spam! SPAM!
Dude #2- We are going to slay tomorrow!
Dudes- F*$% YEAH!

Yeah! Inspirational! But it gets better, really.
Wind and snow blast our tent village at Lower Canyon Lake on day 1.

Dinner of champions on night 1. Sourdough bread with cheese and sausage plus wasabi peas.

Convo #2
A couple days later under sunny skies and after ripping some gnarly lines.
Dude #1- What do you guys want to have for dinner?
Dude #2- Spam!
Dude #3- Spam is made out of pork ass-hole... and it tastes like cat food.
Dude #2- No way. It is not made out of pork ass-hole.
Dude #3- Read the ingredients.
Dude #2- Ingredients are... pork, water, salt, dehydrated potato starch, sodium chloride. That's it!
Dude #3- Yeah, pork. That means pig ass-hole.
Dude #2- No way!
Dude #3- Think about it. They take the best part of the pig and make pork chops. The next best part goes into ham, and then bacon. After that they make sausage and then hotdogs, pepperoni and salami. At the end the only thing left is pig ass-hole and that's what they make spam out of.
Dudes- Whoooooa! That makes sense!
Dude #2- I still don't believe you but I am less tempted to eat it right now.
Dude #1- We should make those dehydrated hash browns on the last day and fry the spam to go with that for breakfast. I bet it will taste okay then and we don't want to pack any food out.
Ghelfi and Matz double team the ravioli with powdered cheese sauce as Joe day dreams about beautiful women.

First ski run of the trip... awesome!

Convo #3
The last day after decidng to hike out that afternoon instead of spending the night at camp. We have still not had any spam and have just gotten back to camp and started to take our tents down.
Dude #1- Spam!
Dude #2- Are you actually going to eat that now?!
Dude #1- Yeah! Do you want some?
Dude #2- Uh, sure. I might as well try it.
Dude #1 opens can and an overwhelming smell of cat food wafts across the pristine alpine valley
Dude #3- I told you it tastes like cat food.
Dude #2 (gagging)- Oh god! That is awful! I take it back! I take it back!
Dude #3- That is so jengis.
Dude #1 starts eating spam out of the can with his pocket knife- Ugh, this may have been a mistake!
Dudes- You think!?
Dude #1 (gagging)- I can't do it!
Dudes (chanting)- Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!
Dude #1 shamefully wraps opened spam can in a plastic bag and sticks it in his pack

Wow, aren't you glad you read that? See what you missed out on? Anyway, I should probably become a playwright, but in the meantime here are some more skiing photos...

Epic shralping.
Waiting for Matz and Brian to slay the Couli on Thompson.
Shasta rises behind granite buttresses.

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