Opening Day at Lake Louise just the tip of the iceberg

Opening Day at Lake Louise just the tip of the iceberg

TODD O'KEEFE

Lake Louise opening day 2011
There's more to riding than gnarly powder days. There's the time you spend with like-minded shredders, no matter the conditions.
Photo courtesy of Todd O'Keefe

CALGARY, AB — "Just head west, man."

These were words of wisdom sent via text from a friend of mine at Salomon Alberta Freeski. I smiled and pulled out of the gas station while Cage the Elephant screamed loud on the stereo, my ride gear stored safely in the back. The anticipation of the season burned bright in my mind.

This season calls for the return of La Nina, but the drive through the Rockies was a mild shock. Roads were dry with light sprinklings of snow. But the sun shone so bright and clear. Its warmth filled my soul and gently reminded me of bluebird days. I turned off the exit a couple of hours later and headed up the hill toward Lake Louise Ski Area.

It was Opening Day, so naturally parking was tight; but the lift line was quick and easy. Surrounded by smiling faces, I could only smile back. Just snow seekers out on a day to have some fun. I realized there is more to skiing/riding than powder days.

Conversation on the chairlift soon turned into an afternoon of riding with a cool married couple. After spending the last eight years living, working, and riding in the Rockies, Melissa Rainville now lives in the city. But the lure of the mountains and winter brings her back every season.

Day one ... check

“I told my husband that he was going to have to learn how to snowboard,” she said. “So he did. He knew that I spend my winters in the mountains looking for snow.”

The only run open was quick and tight. It was so incredible to test my new Man’s Board and feel the strong hug of its edge. No chatter. Nice pop off rollers. Sintered and fast base. Can’t wait to test it in deep tracks and tight glades and more than one drop here and there.

One day down. So many more to go.

But any day in is a day in. Any day on the mountain with people of the same mind is a good day. I'll see you at Marmot Basin for Opening Day on November 11, 2011.

Todd O'Keefe is a fan of SnowSeekers on Facebook. We're always looking for cool, first-person stories from our fans. If you have a story from the season, send it to rick@snowseekers.ca and you just might find yourself on the site.

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