Saturday, August 24, 2013

Up the Mountain, Day 5

 Our ski-cabin is the light spec at the middle of this photo to the left of the lift-line.

Legend has it that my dad moved us to Smithers in 1965 because of the mountains. He had other reasons but they were lost on me. We skied on Sundays, as a family. Other families went to church, we skied. We ate pancakes in the morning and then we all piled into the VW Bus and after he had yelled his head off at us to get our boots, poles, and skis together, we were off. It was exciting and terrifying. My father at the wheel, hunched over, willing the underpowered vehicle up up up, around switchbacks lined by snowbanks just waiting to suck you in. He was a mountain climber but had given it up by the time I was born. Skiing was his next passion. So we skied.

He built us a ski cabin. It was a PanAbode number and the pieces got dropped by helicopter onto the mountain like bundles of Lincoln-Logs. The area that was the mountain was on Crown land, owned ostensibly by the government and we were all squatters. People built little basic cabins to huddle in after a long day of skiing, there was no power and we melted snow for water. There was a Ski-Club cabin as well where you could eat your bag lunch. I spent a lot of time there drinking cocoa and amusing the other skiers. Our cabin materials got dropped in the wrong spot so the cabin got built closer to the main run than it should have. Our outhouse ended up in the meadow where the cabin should have been. In winter I remember the deep path dug into the snow behind the cabin to the outhouse. As a child it felt like walking a long blue white corridor to the little wood hut. Scary and magical and slightly stinky.

Crater Lake beyond the trees. The alpine flowers were sparse due to the dry summer. Elevation is about 5000ft.

The Green-T hut. This was near the site of the original rope tow. As you rode up you could see our cabin and an optical illusion was created, the cabin appeared to sit tilted back into the hill, I imagined cups and saucers sliding off the crude table inside. In years of heavy snow my eldest brother and his friends made a snow-bridge onto the roof of the cabin and skied down the hill and over the roof, launching themselves into the ether. Spread eagles all of them, landing mostly softly below. We sold the cabin when my mother was dying, I am not sure who owns it now.

Many of the original ramshackle cabins still exist as well as many newer better ones. Everywhere progress and change even on the mountain.

The original ski-club cabin.

1 comment:

Paula O'Brien 6 said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog, so glad you followed through and went. Sort of disappointed we didn't tag along but tag along it would have been. Big hugs from the Coast! Good writing.

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