January 14, 2012

CMH Kootenay

Kootenay glades are a dream, a sweet dream of everything perfect.  Towering Selkirk Mountains above the Columbia River valley catch the snowfall among perfectly spaced trees in a way to create perfect skiing conditions.

Conditions are extraordinary right now in the Selkirks near Nakusp, BC, home of Canadian Mountain Holidays' Kootenay area.  And, the people of CMH create a wonderful, positive vibe, from snow safety guys to helicopter operations to the delectable British Columbian cuisine at the Kuskanox Lodge in Nakusp.

The Kootenay people of CMH have mapped and named all of the helicopter landing zones and ski runs, and the ski guides and pilots know them by heart.  Names like Drambuie, Cognac, Depth Charge, Snakebite, Steam Vents, Too Much Fun, Vista West, Grand Marnier, Tina's Turner, Little Leary, Too Deep, Squarehead, Trout, ...  Very creative and fitting of the run, the names are, but it's so difficult to decribe that feeling.
Feeling It
A gentleman of many extraordinary experiences from the south pole to the northernmost parts of North America and both hemispheres told me that it is impossible to explain it.  That feeling of swooping down the mountain in great arcs of sinusoidal balance on an airy, billowing white cloud of powder snow... the physical act can be described, but my words cannot rekindle that feeling it evokes:  some sort of exhilerating, euphoric, and focused sense of being in the moment of weightlessness, speed, and freedom.  We soak up the elixir, but we cannot really relate it to the uninitiated.  We sometimes make an attempt to explain it, and for doing so, we get quizzical or stark stares.  That gentleman's wisdom accumulated over his 75 years and global travels reverberated through me.  How did I ever expect to relate, define or describe the untracked experience?

Cold Smoke
The Sun Also Rises (and shines sometimes, too)
Photos by Kruser

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