We awoke before the dawn, a fresh snow fall blanketed the streets leaving an almost eerie silence echoing through the neighborhood. Excitement brewing with every passing minute. The truck was loaded, the monsters were fed and the mountains were calling. I sat with my steaming mug looking at the new world of winter outside, what a beautiful thing. A smile crept across my face and I thought “these are the mornings we live for”.
Our destination: Black Prince, Kananaskis Country
Mission: Fresh turns, big views & belly laughs
Crew Members: Me, Benny & The monsters
Essentials: Skis, skins, boots, poles, camera, packs, tunes, thermos, flask and snacks including but not limited to dried pineapples and gold fish.
My husband, a backcountry enthusiast with almost two decades of ski touring under his belt has always pushed me to get off the resorts and into the mountains. This was not a difficult feat; no lines, no tickets, just the slow climb ahead with endless turns as our reward. Quiet surrounds you, just the sound of your breath and your bindings. Each step a lesson as you struggle to reach your destination. Stronger than I was the last time, more confident than the trip before, determination pushes us forward. It’s here that I have learnt not to judge myself so harshly, to bask in the journey as it is meant to be taken in.
With every kilometer that passes, the mountains once just a silhouette in the distance as the sun set over Calgary the day before are now standing at attention all around us. Unable to contain my excitement I reach for the volume knob, vibrations come bellowing through the truck speakers, sounds of Alt-J set the tone for the adventure ahead. We take our last turn off the highway leaving any sign of city life behind us, losing bits of blue sky as the rugged peaks of deep grey grow taller.
UNLEASH THE MONSTERS! 250 Lb’s of dog come barreling out of the bed of the truck, they are a mess of fur and fury and a visual display of my own emotions in this moment. Rolling in the fresh white magic, the two of them are representations of pure, honest joy. Impatient, they let out small whines and sharp growls while we gear up in the parking lot. They know with each skin on a ski and boot buckled that we are closer to breaking trail on the unmarked path ahead of us. The sound of boots locking into bindings, a deep inhale and eight paws disappear into the woods ahead. We are off.
Your heartbeat sets the pace as you step one foot in front of the other, this morning’s affirmation resonates as each cold burst of mountain air hits your warm pink lungs “breathe in what you need exhale what no longer serves you”. Before you know it, when you least expect it you will find yourself in full stride. Your body temperature is rising even with the mid-winter air ensuring your cheeks grow rosier with every step. You catch a quick glimpse of magic as a cool layer of frost dusts your eyelashes with reflections of glitter and gold. You turn your face towards the sun and let out a deep howl as a smile paints your face a glow; it’s here amongst the snow and trees underneath a January sky, you’ve found your wild within.
Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need to warm your soul.
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