Ahhh, pre-trip excitement! You know the feeling, the night before you leave for your CMH trip: Can't sleep, the 'What did I forget?' feeling. Well, I asked Tim Oliphant, winner of our What Inspires You to Ski Tour video contest and first-time CMH'er, to give me a run-through of his pre-trip jitters and first impressions. He shared the following with me. Can you relate?!
April 1st: The night before I left for Canada, I didn't sleep a wink. All I could think about was what I was going to be doing for the next 10 days. I was about to fly to Canada (a country I had never been) to ski tour (an activity I had never done) with CMH (a company I knew very little about). Yeah, I was definitely a little nervous but I couldn't help but be super excited at the same time.
April 2nd: I eagerly hopped out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and headed to the airport. A few hours later I met up with my buddy Pat in the Calgary airport. We couldn't believe that we were actually in Canada about to go Ski Touring! We walked across the street to the Delta hotel where the CMH folks greeted and helped us check in. They then helped us prepare for the journey to the Adamant Lodge that would take place in the morning.
In the hotel lobby we began to meet people that were going to be part of our adventure. Steve and Heather, a father and daughter from Virginia who would be Heli-Skiing. John and Thomas, a father and son from the Caymans who would be Ski touring with us. I found that almost everyone we met had skied with CMH before and I started to think that there must be something special about this place because so many people were coming back year after year. Pat and I were asked to accompany our new friends to a Calgary restaurant were we sat around, shared some wine and exchanged stories. Very quickly this trip had already begun to exceed my expectations.
Once back at the hotel it seemed that Christmas had come early. Our new ARC'TERYX gear was waiting for us at the CMH desk. Pat and I ripped open the boxes and were amazed at what was inside. We each received a Stinger Jacket, Stinger bib, Hercules jacket, top and bottom wool base layer, a Silo backpack and a toque. I'm telling you, I‘ve never owned anything as nice as the gear ARC'TERYX gave us for this trip. So now that we had our gear we were ready for the mountains.
April 3rd: Our bus ride to the to the Adamants helipad was highly entertaining as we met even more great people (Ellen, Matt and Mary), we laughed a lot and we took in the beautiful Canadian scenery. I was already having the time of my life and we hadn't even gotten to our destination! We arrived at the helipad where the helicopter zoomed us away the Adamant Lodge. We were greeted by the friendly staff and informed that we would be going through safety training once everyone had arrived. During the interim we got our skis, skins, shovel, probe and avalanche transceiver...then I met Greg Hill.
I definitely didn't recognize him when he walked up to me and introduced himself because he looked very different from all the videos I had seen of him. Greg Hill, it seemed had acquired a mustache. I was so glad that we finally met and had some time to talk because it helped to take away some my anxiety. I mean, little old me ski touring for the first time with the guy who basically wrote the book...that's a little intimidating! But he was very encouraging and offered to help as much as he could. I was energized by our conversation because I knew that I would learn a lot from him in the next 7 days. Heck, if just a fraction of his skill would rub off on me before it was all said and done I'd be a much better skier... But first, everyone in the Adamant Lodge had to go through safety training.
Safety is priority #1 for CMH and they trained us well. We learned helicopter safety, avalanche transceiver usage, as well as, probe and shovel procedures. We spent a good amount of time practicing with our avalanche transmitters making sure we knew how they worked. We even participated in a mock emergency to put all our newly learned skills into practice. After the training I felt much more at ease because I was confident I knew what to do in an emergency, but even better than that I also knew that everyone in the entire lodge was just as prepared as I was. I felt very safe, even less anxious and my excitement continued to build!
Now everything was in order and my dream of finally getting to Ski Tour was about to come true!
Check back next week to hear how Tim's week at the lodge evolved and for more stories from the skin track.