Here, one short article about the passion of skiing published in Couloir magazine, in 2004. Peter obviously liked to write. Sometimes, it would not make it to publication, or was not intended to be published. The Grizzly article was left around KH resort to tease the mountain's administration. Then, Peter muses about poor quality snow, surely inspired by the incident he refers to, all because of this not-so-white stuff. I say, this is shameless subliminal promotion... Contributed by Brenda Bowle-Evans
The writer lives in the small town of Golden, British Columbia, home of the presently developing Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, that was preceded by the community started and owned Whitetooth Ski Area, of which the writer was a founding member - and that, after skiing the mountain for several years previously.
Life opens up again as those longed for and ever exciting pulses begin to flow through the body and mind once more. The purity and freshness of those icy crystals in whose many forms we call snow, once again are stretched out in front of us, waiting and welcoming as what we pass through breaks away, moves around us, and flows over us. The caress of icy perfection is at one time soothing and electric. It is here again! It is real! It is the reality we live for! There is this emotion of wanting to embrace every living soul that understands, or that we wish to understand. There are shafts of sunlight, that over this north-eastern exposure streak obliquely here and there, so that in places, if we travel just so, illuminate our track, before we cross into shadows, that accentuate the ribbons of magical light. The magic is made more by a layer of cloud that lies suspended over the valley floor; a soft cushion to the bottom of this upper world of snow and mountain and sunlight, separating us from the hard world below, as if to call, come on up and be here too. The mind is both relaxed and alert, as movements from many years of memory start to happen once more. As the body responds to the mountain and the snow, as in mountain to snow to ski to boot to foot and all the way through to memories in the mind, our friends with whom we only ski in memory now rise up and join us, call hallo one more, move with us, and exhilarate through us. Then the question comes, from them and us, from my friend and I, "Is the music still in my soul?"; and as I spring and bounce and curl around the turns, it comes back loud and clear, as if the whole world could hear, "YES! My friend! The music is still in my soul! The music is still alive in our souls!"What joy, what splendid release from the trammels of ordinary life, as tensions drain away, and effervescence pours in. So we bounce a bit more, wriggle more, pressure this and that way, blending to our environment as we say our hallos again, to the most real of our realities. Yet all it is, in one simple and all encompassing word, is to ski.
How can it be explained? What a life it is, to ski!
All in a precious moment, on a White Horse Morning.
from a pause in time, in December, 2003.
As many people are already aware, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is engaging in a unique biological experiment in acting in a foster parent role with two orphaned grizzly bears, Boo and Cari. Entrusted with the task of keeper of the grizzly bears is a young man by the name of Adam, who must surely become the world's most experienced, hands on expert on grizzly bears. The phrase “hands on” is used metaphorically, of course, or at some point he may not have any hands any more. Anyone who has watched the movie, “Grizzly Adams”, will appreciate how particularly suitable was the selection of this fine young man, who must surely become Grizzly Adam.
Ensuring a healthy diet for these bears is obviously of prime importance, and during the summer just passed, a trial program of providing highway road kill was initiated. The scheme was devised so as to develop the bears natural meat portion of their dietary intake, while avoiding promoting the instinct to kill. The dead meat was dropped from gondolas, so as to avoid leaving a trail that the bears might be tempted to follow.
Assessment of the highway roadkill experiment has lead to the tabling of a proposal for a Skier Donation Program (SDP). Another unique experiment, the SDP would provide fresh, human meat to supplement the bears' winter diet. A trial program of one (1) skier per week has been proposed.
There is a public conception that bears hibernate throughout the winter. Black bears indeed do, but grizzlies, however, arise from time to time, and when they do, they can be particularly hungry. Therefore, the SDP has the double benefit of not only providing fresh meat for these winter arousals, but of engendering another unique opportunity, of studying the hibernation parameters of grizzly bears. Anyone who has contemplated the fascinating challenges of space travel over tens or more of years will have focused on the matter of hibernation. The bears are wintering in a specially prepared log cabin, immediately adjacent to the Kinbasket Roller, located on the lower third of the mountain. For reasons that are explained in the following paragraph, the program will entail extending the fence surround of the cabin so that it reaches under the gondola line, setting up a spectator gazebo adjacent to the bears' winter quarters, and extending the roller skiers left to compensate for the gazebo. The environmental creditation that the SDP is anticipated to generate will more than compensate for this work.
Each week, one donor skier will exit a gondola car so as to land within the extended fence area just described in the previous paragraph. Donors will be asked to undress immediately prior to exiting the car, and to exit head first, in order to ensure a quick, clean kill upon reaching the ground. Donors will need to be skiers, and go outfitted as they normally would for a days skiing. This is to cover the eventuality that the gondola should break down before the car reaches the drop point, and a lift evacuation take place necessitating customers to ski back down.
You may be asking yourself, why not open the program to hunters? This was indeed considered, but the idea was dropped as it was felt that this might introduce an element of revenge. Since the program is intended to be a physical exercise rather than a psychological one, the decision was that the use of hunters would be inappropriate.
Donors will, of course, have their names recorded in prosperity, including places like the Guinness Book of Records, for stupidity if nothing else. Boo and Cari should also make the Guinness Book of Records, as having eaten more human meat than any other grizzly bears on record. Doubtless there will be keen public interest in which bear eats more, and indeed there is opportunity for a lottery on this item, which can be arranged to offset some of the cost of the bears upkeep for the Resort. Astute salespersons may have scope to arrange TV spectaculars on which bear can eat 100 lbs of fresh meat the fastest. An event such as this could attract enormous spectator value, if only on the additional number of potential donors required in the event of a tie.
The program is open to anyone over the age of majority. Applications for donors are now being taken, and overweight skiers are encouraged to apply.
The grizzly program was controversial from the start and seen as promotion for a lucrative activity. Fate demonstrated the overall opinion when the female Cari died in young age, leaving only Boo at the resort. A year or so later, Boo made the news for a couple of weeks when he found the enclosure's door key and fled to freedom. All responsible were worried Boo would not survive on his own. And why wasn't he coming back? Turns out, he was courting a female that came at smelling distance. It was a delight to hear most, if not all, saying "run Boo, run!" wishing him all the best and please leave him. However, life in the woods is not so easy even for giant bears. Once the escapade over, Boo came back to his pen claiming his missed meals. Mmmmh, there's a solution to rampant obesity...
Totally cool this living in a ski town, ha? You do wear at least ankle high waterproof footwear all day every day? It keeps your feet dry while you reach over the hood to claw the semi-frozen sludge off the windshield wipers that has made using them worse rather than better. Of course, if you happen to look up while one of your friends drives by and waves you usually get soaked. That is, assuming your completely waterproof coat hasn't already given way to the cold moisture being pressed into it by your leaning over the hood, because you are never tall enough to reach any other way. Never mind, you often get an eyeful from your friend's passing vehicle. Now, you have to be hitch hiking down the highway to really appreciate the full immensity of the repulsiveness of this shit. I do apologise for using very simple, plain language, but you will get my point in a moment. You see, the greater the depth of slop on the road, the faster the semis go. The faster they go, the further they throw the slop. This reduces the amount left for the plow trucks, and nets a cost saving. So here you are, hitch hiking back to town because your vehicle is in the ditch someplace. If you say this never happens to you, you are a liar, pure and simple. If you are a greenhorn, you will gleefully protrude your arm to the approaching semi, only to net the exact opposite of what you want. If anything, it will speed up, so as to avoid having to look at you any longer. The correct move is to head for the snowbank and dive over it. The seasoned ski-towner will head for the opposite side of the road, and take a header over that snowbank to boot. Failure to execute one of these courses of action, and promptly, results in being plastered with an icy, semi-liquid sheet of black filth that can take a month to get out of your clothes, if ever at all. Snow - white? Sorry, you got out on the wrong planet. As for your own vehicle, well now - however smart and well equipped you think you are, or were, you are going to need someone smarter and better equipped to get you out. Probably more expensive too. All this of course after you have missed the vitally important thing you were off to do in the beginning. Whether it's going skiing, doing the grocery shopping, burying your grandmother, collecting a pay cheque, robbing a bank, or making a hot date, it's always vitally important. Get it clear in your head, there is just no such thing as a convenient time to go into the ditch.
As for this stuff called snow, there's a good reason the Innuit have no single word for it, since aside from on mountaintops, a good deal of the time it's anything else but, ice and water being the most common. There are streets within these mountain towns where it seems you need hip waders to get out of a car, and that if it weren't for the parked vehicles, you could paddle a canoe down the gutters. Question: Do you need a driving licence to paddle a canoe down a public street?
But hey, if you can manage not to go into the ditch, and can afford the sort of 4WD vehicle that can swim through a good foot plus of fresh white stuff - yup, it does exist some days - after managing to get out of the driveway, that is, which if you live on a school bus route can be not so easy as those roads are well up on the list for snow plowing, then there is gold at the end of the rainbow. Actually, most of that gold will go into the fuel tank that is needed to power the machine that is needed to make it that you can actually get anything without either tracks or wheels about 3 feet diameter out of the driveway and onto the road.
Of course, you can bypass all of this by living right at the ski area, not just in the town. This mostly means you have to be rich, which has always eliminated me, or you end up serving anything from coffee & muffins to lift tickets or chairs to those who have made it there on pow mornings. Your time off will be when it's quiet, as in raining or bullet proof. See, I don't really have a single word for snow either.