Fear, Loathing and Gravitational Enlightenment at Meadow Lodge

The doctors think the hut caretaker, Myles has pneumonia. At least based on what he has been able to tell them over the radio. They’re trying to send a helicopter for him, but it’s snowing too heavily to get him out. He’s been asking around the hut for codeine, for an asthma inhaler, for anything we’ve got. Maria’s leaving too. She’s got a sinus infection and hasn’t been able to get out on her splitboard for the past two days. Living with 15 people in a 20 x 30-foot, two-story box at 7,200 feet can feel claustrophobic at times. Especially when the black lung is present. But man, it’s a beautiful place to be stuck.

Just beyond the outhouse are pillows—800 vertical feet of them stacked all the way down to a small lake. The run’s called Front Door, and it’s got everything from mega-stacks to mellow poppers, powder ramps and gullies in between. That’s why most people come to Golden Alpine Holidays’ Meadow Lodge in the winter: to ride pillows.

Meadow’s in the Esplanades, a subrange of the Selkirks, which is a subrange of the Columbia Mountains, and so forth. British Columbia’s like that—mountains stacked upon mountains, all with increasingly specific nomenclature and microclimates. It’s like they were classifying a mammalian species when they named these mountains. Cue Planet Earth’s David Attenborough: “The majestic Esplanades, a subspecies of the Selkirks, share similar genomes with the Columbia Mountains. They can all be traced back to the granddaddy of them all, the Kootenays. Known for their pillows and deep, continental-leaning snowpack and large alpine couloirs, the Esplanades are some of the most easterly peaks in their group. Sometimes stable and friendly and at other times life-threatening, they’re a seasonally-volatile, unpredictable bunch on the surface. And every winter they play host to small groups of stick-wielding humans in search of gravitational enlightenment.”…

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