When I announced my move back to southern california, more than a few of my outdoorsy friends offered a mix of sympathy and concern.  Los Angeles is famous for many things, but it takes a connoisseur to know about the amazing recreational activities beyond the beach.

For my first full weekend back, my old buddy Greg invited me to go backcountry skiing with he and his lovely girlfriend Marilee.  I gladly accepted, though I rarely ski anymore and it’s been years since I climbed a mountain.  But that was the plan and soon enough I met them in a parking lot and we were on our way.  Just an hour and half away (not counting the time waiting for the officer to write the speeding ticket) and we were in the parking lot, gearing up.  I felt like such a hopeless newbie.  although it combines two sports I have done (mt. climbing and skiing), I hadn’t really done them together like this.  Nevertheless, with Greg’s guidance, I was packed and we were on our way.

Huh.  Wow.  It’s steep.  I’m gasping for breath.  Moving slow.  it’s not long before Marilee and Greg are way up the hill.  I do my best, but it was a real gut check for my current fitness level.  Must train.  Seriously.   We climb for what was hours, but felt like days.

Greg had scoped the bottom of the gully on a previous trip, but hadn’t climbed or skied this line before, and it turns out it didn’t go quite where we expected.  We hit a small, secondary type summit and it became clear we werne’t going to the top of Mt. Baden Powell today! It was solidly in the afternoon, and we knew with shadows the snow would firm up and be less fun to ski.   So after a break on the summit, some snacks, and wrestling on my ski boots, we descended.

I was tired from the climb (really tired, really need to train) and didn’t ski nearly as well as I would have liked, but it was still fun.  I’m on a new fitness regimen, partly inspired by getting my butt kicked here, and look forward to doing more backcountry skiing next spring.

thanks Greg and Marilee for your patience and company!

Geoff “Earn your turns”

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