2 Days on Fixed Heels

I always say I’ve never done any alpine but it’s not exactly true. I alpined 2 days in my life, once at Gore in the old Gondi days- early 90s. I rented gear and conditions were really bad – a sheet of ice and frozen dirt. If you skied Gore before they had access to the Hudson…you know.

The second time was actually a fair test. I was at Squaw for the first time. I was definitely still an intermediate on teles. I rented alpine gear and was skiing like an advanced beginner. Tripping on my tails, and frustrated walking in tight boots that were supposed to be excellent.

Back on tele in the afternoon and I was back to being an intermediate. I skied with a client. He was a total bomber, on alpines, on his home mountain. I skied stuff WAY beyond my ability. Anyway he took me up a lift on KT22. It had skull and crossbones on the lift at the bottom. “Expert terrain only.”

He ASSURED me that an intermediate would be fine up there. We get off the lift and the wind is howling. There is this crack in the headwall with a sign…. TRIPLE black diamonds, a skull, and the words “The Slot.” I was too scared to even look over the edge. All you could see through the slot was blue Sierra sky.

He lets me freak for a few secs and then tells me to take my skis off. We walk across a bunch of moon rocks, and get on this cat trail traverse…and somehow end up in a place he called the Enchanted Forest. It was awesome…really widely spaced huge trees. I know the tale isn’t totally relevant to the title of the post. And it may not even be totally true. That’s just the way I remember it. Somebody who has skied Squaw could tell me if the names match up with the topography up there.

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