Saving Face on the Trees

Ron found adventure on the best ski slopes in Canada while writing features on winter sports. Here's an excerpt from an outing in British Columbia:


A VISIT TO WHITEWATER RESORT on a B.C. trip was the venue for my best Recreation Section ski story ever. Whitewater is a small resort. Located in a little box canyon near Nelson BC, it sucks high-altitude precipitation -- falling as the driest and lightest of powder snow. Signs along the access road looked like lollipops covered with dandelion fluff because of the amount of snow that clung to them. Curious about what they said, I stopped the car and brushed the powder off one of the signs. It was a warning sign: Avalanche Zone. No Stopping.

I knew I had struck skiing writer gold when I was still in the Whitewater cafeteria doing a preliminary interview with my guide. He was a cornice jumper, digging through cliff-top snow overhangs to start his run. Heíd been caught in avalanches. He said, "Donít even try to make swimming motions; itís like youíve been thrown you into a clothes drier. You donít know which way is up.Ē He skied powder so deep that it flowed over his head and wore a snorkel to keep from inhaling it. "You canít see where youíre going. You canít see where youíve been. So you just point your skis down the hill and set up a rhythm,Ē he advised me.

I was sorry I didnít have my miniature magnet with me to find out if he already had a steel plate in his head. I figured I had a genuine crazy on my hands and a great story even before we went outside to put on our skis. Then it got better. The chairlift passed over a heavily treed area on the way up to barren high altitude slopes. Unsure if the conifer-covered lower section was skiable, I asked, "Is that your glades run?Ē He nodded affirmatively and what he said became Quote of the Day on the front page of the Globe and Mail, "Thereís a lot of pieces of my face hanging from those trees.Ē

 Photo: A daring skier, not Ron Truman