Well,… chasing a dream or going on an adventure. It’s more of the same really. But not completely, as one is intended to find something positive as a goal, whereas the other holds an element of positive surprise. Classically, or in canonical form, the positive surprise happens to the protagonist in the adventure, while the one chasing a dream is defined and characterised by his own actions as he sets out to chase his dream. And after some bad luck, I could use something positive. First point of action: Enrol for a weekend trip with the local tour-group. Setting out to discover no-man’s land on ski. Saturday morning 9 o’clock at the petrol-station, and the game was on!
Previous reconnaissance-trips showed that the last significant snowfall had happened two months previously and everything that fell before was either blown away or frozen down completely. Think ‘more than half a meter of depth hoar’. A lot of ice and off-piste skiing on hard wind-battered layer as solid as a piste. And a lot of other signs of the winds activity. Far from ideal, but if you want to be an all-round skiers, it’s precisely what you need to improve your bush-whacking skills a bit further. I smile all along as we park the car at the end of the road and walk past someone’s house up, into the forest that covers a mountain far away from everything and everyone. Treating a low blood-glucose level with chocolate and nuts we pass the snowline, a frozen swamp and continue towards more alpine terrain.
Walking below a ridge, my skis disappear below the surface with every step. We find up to 80 cm of depth hoar locally and one of the guides conclude that my 85 millimeter skis may be a bit too skinny for the occasion. The descent is worth the efforts as it sets through a small bowl which is littered with some rolling terrain that allowed funny lines and even some small drops. The groups gathers smiling from ear to ear some moments later as clouds roll in and it starts snowing. It isn’t more than a couple of millimetres but after more than two dry months, it really sets a positive mood.
After a nice lunch in the swamp there are some doubts about the rest of the descent. Should we skin back to our climbing-route, or return a bit lower? The problem lies in a steeper forest section that runs above a cliff. The traverse through the steep and icy forest could be a problem for the splitboarder in our group. Now that I think about it, he masters the challenging traverse with the hard work that all splitboarders I’ve met, sacrifice with the intention of finding the best line. He bushwhacks better. And that motivates me as I cross silly bits of forest and nasty patches of ice. Especially as the sun wins its struggle with the cloud cover and shows us snow, rock and water.
The freshly fallen millimetres of snow hide some of the patches of ice in the forest, resulting in an unwanted crash. Luckily, the damage is limited to some bruises and a broken pole. The incident shows me that bad luck and its twin brother carelessness dance hand in hand with enthusiastic bushwhacking and delightful descents. Arriving at the end of the road, we stand tired, sweaty and smiling at the place that was the end of the road, but has become a new beginning for me. And hopefully a beginning of new trips with more and better bushwhacking as I want to chase some more dreams, but hope to be surprises by more adventure as well :)