Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spring in the Rockies!

Hello lovely people of the world! If your reading this, you are most likely lost on the interweb, a fan of spandex sports, or my father (Hi dad!) I guess we can pick it up from where we left off: after the American Birkie adventure, where I arrived back into Canmore to a week of -35 and colder conditions. What a welcoming!

My parents, after having my home for a week, decided that was enough family time and jetted off to South America for 3 months. Not that I was complaining- oh the bliss of an empty house, full fridge, the family dog, a car and your home town you know inside out- Freedom! (My parents are actually lovely people- amazing human beings really- but moving home sure does bring that hidden/not-so-hidden 15 year old back out).

Some nice running adventures with my mother! 

I skied quite a bit and relaxed, whilst trying to figure out what to do with my life. I gave up on one of those, and ended up having many lovely ski adventures...I think we can all guess which one I gave up on....or at least, set aside for the moment... ;) I had some great skis up at Mount Shark, and went on a great overnight trip to Elk Lake Hut in Kananaskis. Just gorgeous!
The Leg Burner at Lake Louise ski field!

Excited to ski at Lake Louise!

Pumped to be out touring with my SportTagId! (

One of the adventures consisted of starting hiking in the dark, carrying our skis on our packs, up Ha Ling peak in Canmore, AB to ski Miners Gully. It is a popular ski mountaineering adventure as it only takes the morning and it is a cool thing to be able to look up from town and say "I skied that". We ended up putting our crampons on at the very start of the hike, which took about 1 hr. 45 mins to get to the top of the gully. We hunkered down, put our layers on and got ready for the descent.

Nearing the top of the gully

The main, narrower gully on skiers right is the usual descent, but after a nights freeze of three other tracks, we decided to ski the main bowl on skiers left. It was rock-hard, no question, but hitting the middle of the choke was a different story, as the snow turned into almost unskiable awkwardness. None-the-less, we made it to the main bowl where there were even some cheeky wee powder puffs coming from our turns.

We did not have to rappel the first little cliff band/waterfall, but the second one we set up a short rappel. The snow, at this point was pretty thin, but we were able to ski 95% of it. We even had a cheeky ski down the switchbacks on mountain bike trail, Highline. Arriving into the dog park on skis at 11am, and off to breakfast at the Summit. It is nice to look out the kitchen window and be able to remember a nice trip down Miners Gully.

Another wee mission I was happy to get to do was with my long time mentor, coach and friend, Richard Boruta. Richard had always wanted to ski off of the East End of Rundle (EEOR), which then found us at the trailhead at 5am hiking up a Canmore Classic with skis and boots strapped to our skis, and running shoes on our feet. I was a bit skeptical about the running shoes, but the coach is always right, and we were able to make it to the summit with no shoe change. We did ascend up a small, recently slid chute on the lookers left instead of heading along the ridgeline, so I was happy to have my iceaxe along for the extra stability! We made it to the summit in just under 2 hours, around 7 am, and waved at all the lovely folk of Canmore. It was great to be on the summit for the sunrise.
Top of EEOR

Looking into the bowl and trying to figure out our line, we had a choice between a two-day old avalanche debris or a 1-day old avalanche debris. We decided on the fresh stuff. It was chunky, but within the chunks were some secret pockets of half-turn wonders....It's all about the adventure, right? Richard, in his gloriousness, had a few heart attack moments (for me!) by falling near the top of cliff bands. He lived, so all was good :) I had a nice line down to the bottom of the bowl, where Richard had a bit of a challenging one, but in the end, we made it and were pleasantly surprised to have spring like conditions heading down to the tree-line.

Once in the trees, it was a different story- heavy snow that was pretty much impossible to ski. So, we had a nice 45 minute hike or so down to the Nordic Centre parking lot. Arriving time- 9:30am. What another great morning.

I was also pumped to have a great day out doing the third annual TRIFECTA: It starts with skiing every lift at Sunshine ski Village, followed by a canoe from near the Sunshine pullout to Banff docks, finishing the day off with a round of golf at the Banff Springs golf course. Very fun and after 15 hours, we were pretty tuckered!


Spring is here! Riversurfing on the Bow

Now the snow is melting and everyone is thawing from the freezing winter in Canmore. I have been  studying for my ACMG hiking guides course in Jasper and going on family trips to visit long-lost cousins and to help build houses. It may not be perfect, but it's made with love. (That's what I say anyways!). I am still contemplating that "what am I going to do with my life?" question, as I still have not decided on my biathlon future. If anyone has any insight, I am open to suggestions!

Thank you to Arcteryx ( and Suunto ( for the awesomest gear out there for adventuring! Also to OUT THERE for their love and support. A big hug to all my friends for being just absolutely amazing people! And a thanks to all of you for supporting me through the tough times, the fun times, and the good times :)

xx Much Love,



  1. Let’s start with the "Great Blog Sarah" bit, I enjoy reading your blogs, they always take me away from the mundane and transport me back to the activities that I love.

    As for the insight you are after, looking at your blogs I will jot down the obvious from your own post above for you to reflect on, so the insight is really your own.

    1.) Loves the outdoors
    2.) Studying for your ACMG hiking guides course - currently on day 2 of assistant hiking guide course – then Hiking Guide Cert?
    3.) Loves biathlon (skiing)
    4.) Enjoys hiking
    5.) Enjoys exercise
    6.) Enjoys the company of like minded people

    So I ask you the easy question and bearing in mind the countless variables that can apply, why are you doing the ACMG hiking guides course? What drives you to do that course? Is that something you could see yourself doing in the future?

    Look back at what you do in life and maybe you could put it all into a nice basket to create a future doing something you enjoy.

    As a biathlon fan, I am only going to encourage you to keep going, never stop, I reckon by the time you hit the grand old age of 80, NZ may get another replacement that’s half as good, damned if I don’t know why the Canadians didn’t grab you. 

    Between yourself and numerous other biathletes I follow on twitter etc, I will say the common denominator you all offer is “inspiration and a zest for life” not just to me but to many people.

    As a younger person I was extremely passionate about many outdoor activities (thank goodness x-country skis, backpacks and walking boots / outdoor shoes have improved out of sight since then), somewhere along the way and due to circumstances that I let dictate my life I lost a lot of my passion and was resigned to plodding along.

    About 5 years ago I found the inspiration to change for the better for various reasons.

    My daughter is 15 and is always harassing me to take her camping and fishing, to teach her various disciplines such as archery, shooting skiing, and to learn how to drive. For the past 5 years I have been the manager and coach of my daughter’s netball team so on Saturdays I have what I like to call an extra 8 daughters. So you could say my life has been kick started again

    The point of telling you the above wasn’t to induct you into my life but to just show that sometimes you need to find your passion and pursue it, to live life to its fullest, keep sight of where you want to be and know that it is constantly changing depending on circumstances.

    And finally, I could never presume to tell you what to do, I can only offer my thoughts and or experiences to help you look at the existing mix of thoughts and life experiences you already have to make informed choices for yourself.

    P.S. I don’t blog cause I waffle way too much.

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