Courage To See It

If an avalanche occurs you could die. You can also be buried unsure of if you are going to die. And, you can put others at risk of dying.

Before going to the avalanche course, I knew the basics. I understood how an avalanche occurred, what to watch out for, and how a beacon worked. What I didn’t know is how to be efficient and be faster ar searching, every second matters when an avalanche occurs. 

I encourage everyone in the backcountry to participate in an avalanche one course. We enrolled in a split board only course, which played particular attention to faster ensemble and how to be better backcountry participant (aka don’t slow down the skiers). 

The most valuable lessons came from using the equipment to actually search for missing objects. For women, I think it is particularly empowering to know what to look out for when planning an outing. Too often do we depend on the more experienced rider who is more often than not a male rider. 

D and I also used the weekend to just relax. We booked a hotel in Silverton and paid a friemd forty bucks to watch Shasta. D picked the Alma hotel. Silverton is full of historic buildings, and out hotel was no different. Bernie and Albert were our hosts, an elderly couple fully embodying the mountain spirit and also fully believing in the house spirits. 

For starters, D and I have been together six years. When we first started dating, D had a really hard time with strangers. It was actually one thing that bugged me the most about dating him. Strangers are how we gain a little humility in some of our toughest moments.

D and I went out after our avalanche course to a restaurant recommended by our guides. I was feeling a little over what I like to term “young men” in the backcountry: over eager and chauvinistic. Dont get me wrong, I  strongly encourage everyone in the backcountry to take the course. But, sometimes when you know how to snowboard and understand the basic concepts,  you are placed in the advance  group. The advance group can have participants that are “young men.” We went to Eureka, it was definitely a breath of mountain culture. The server was just delightful, D  did such a great job asking her questions about her life and what she recommended. It all felt so natural, we belonged. 

After dinner, the waitress bought us a round. We started playing pool, and two people joined, it was smooth and easy conversation. We came back to our room and it just felt good.

The next day we went out touring, and the guides kept us on our toes. As the weather changed, the guide challenged our knowledge of the snow. The ride diwn was just dreamy curls of snow as if it was tge ocean. After the course, we headed to a local brewery. We chatted with or avalanche group and exchanged numbers, as the conversation started to head towards more “young men” style, D and I bounced to the hotel. With a hot tub to ourselves, we watched the snow fall. D challenged me to a cold plunge of snow. Shortly after, Bernie came out to give us fresh towels, and again the conversation just flowed. We learned about how she used to be a ski bum. We learned how she sneaks into the hot tub with Albert between guests. And, I just loved it. 

This is D, and I am so glad we are a team through “young men” to exploring a town. I never thought I would be a long term girlfriend, amd especially not at a young age. Sometimes, it just works, you have to have the courage to see it and appreciate it. 

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