Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wallowas Ski Trip Prep

I'm two weeks away from setting out for my first multi-day backcountry ski trip to the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon later this month. I've been super excited for this trip ever since Charlotte and Aaron invited me to join them and another couple (hooray for being the 5th wheel!). We'll be skiing in to a hut glorified tent and making it our base for a few days before skiing back out. But, I'm not sure my friends knew what they were getting into when they invited me. . .
Wallowas, up close and personal in two weeks!
First, they have a physical advantage. They're both bigger than me, but then again, nearly everyone is. Also, I live at sea level. They don't. Moreover, they live in Bend, the capital of overachieving outdoor enthusiasts. The fly fishermen in Bend probably wrestle bears, and win. I, on the other hand, got sick in the second week of February, which knocked out my respiratory system. At the same time, I was reluctant to do any upper body strengthening until the pinched nerve in my upper back/neck was no longer traumatizing me in my sleep. In short, I took the month of February to recover. And I'm pretty enthusiastic about recovery. Endurance athletes (not that I'm putting myself in that category) lament at not being able to work out on weekends; I cheerfully spent the better part of my February weekends in my pajamas, editing ski videos and catching up on Grey's Anatomy episodes. And reading about central Oregon.
Central Oregon propaganda!
Second, I still needed to compile my backcountry ski repair kit. Yeah, so to the folks that I ski toured with last year, guess what: I didn't have a ski repair kit with me. Whoops. You seemed like kind, helpful people that would come through in a pinch, though.
With this in my repair kit, everyone will want to help, right?
Finally, I should not be trusted with preparing any meals for a group unless freeze-dried lasagna sounds appetizing. Nevertheless, Aaron assigned me to put together one night's meal. He should consider himself warned.

Aside from my physical fitness, which is what it is, I've spent the last few weeks putting together a ski repair kit, planning my  backcountry meals (more on this in a later post), and reviewing strategies in snow assessments and decision making. As a result, I added Hello Kitty duct tape to the repair kit (for those backcountry MacGyver moments); discovered that although my local REI does not have skin wax in stock (yeah, I don't know how to use it, either), it does sell replacement powder baskets for my ski poles; scoured the local grocery stores for shelf-safe foods; and perused some exciting bedtime reading material.
My avalanche mantra: 'fraidy cat = alive. And other stuff.
Onward with the trip prep!