Saturday started early, at the trailhead getting our packs checked by 7am. Our packs were heavier than most of us would normally backpack, as we were carrying climbing gear, extra clothes, and snow gear like ice axes, shovels, and pickets. My pack weighed in at 44 pounds.
The last station of the day was ascending and descending. It sounds easy, like don't you just walk up and down a mountain? But there are definitely useful techniques to help make you more efficient and safe on steep terrain in variable snow conditions.
Then it was time to get into costume and start making dinner! I hadn't seen the kitchen since the beginning of the day, and couldn't believe the transformation that the other groups had made.
We started cooking for our own student group, making enough for a taster share with the 20+ instructors. What we didn't know was that the instructors provide appetizers! That was one of the best snack experiences I've had in a loooong time- to be so hungry from the active day, and suddenly stumble on a bunch of amazing food. There were raw oysters (shucked with ice ax), artisan salami, cambozola cheese, chips, salsa, guacamole, caprese skewer, and homemade brownies to name a few things.
The other groups all got super creative too. The salsa group had made tortilla soup; The disco group had fondue in a double-boiler; the reggae group went Caribbean-inspired.
The costumes were awesome as well- wigs, full polyester suits, flowing flamenco skirts. No wonder our packs were so heavy! We were probably carrying as much weight in costumes and good food as actual gear! My group dressed as Nirvana plus Courtney Love.
That night, we got a good 4-5 inches of fresh snow. On Sunday we were up bright and early again, and back to our rotating stations. It was another full, challenging, and fun day of learning, but this time with deeper powder to wade through, and snow falling on and off.
By the time we hiked out Sunday evening, I was quite happy to still be warm and dry. I was feeling good, but fairly tired and ready to take a shower and dry my damp gear. Overall, I was so impressed with the quality of the instruction, the great organization of the group, the good attitudes of my fellow students, and the combination of safety, efficiency, fun, and creativity that every one brought. Looking forward to the next snow weekend!