One Christmas Eve I went down to Turnagain and skied Tincan Proper. This is more or less how it went… (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore).
Twas the day before Christmas and all through the Pass
All the boarders were hucking and landing on ass.
The kickers were built next to the skintrack with care
In the hopes a good run-out would give them big air.
The skiers were all stopping at the top of run
Preparing to drop in with lingering sun.
Not a creature was heading up past upper bowl
But conditions were stable, so I continued to roll.
A goat watched my progress from his perch on a rock
My slow upward movement he clearly did mock.
The goat seemed to ask: “Why enter my domain?”
This snow and ice ridge was clearly his reign.
But goats cannot stop the thrill of descent
Onward I continued to the goat’s discontent.
Up past the south face, I flew like a flash
Over rolls and bumps I continued to dash.
A final headwall lead to the top of the peak
Where I looked around – and started to freak!
The view was superb – the mountains supreme
However the entrance to the run was clearly extreme.
I looked skiers left and I looked skiers right
But everywhere I started gave me a fright.
I was about to give up, turn and head back
When behind and above me, I heard a loud clack.
A large man had locked a splitboard together
Off summit he launched, light as a feather.
Down onto the face he flew like a flash
The powder below was clearly his stash.
On a giant splitboard, he was clearly a ruler,
I knew in a moment it must be Old Ullr.
He carved through steep rocks with a pure grace
And before I knew it, I dropped in and gave chase.
First turns were steep, the powder was creamy
If it continued like this, the run would be dreamy.
But the pow turned to ice and I pulled up short
If the going got worse, I’d have to abort.
Old Ullr had stopped and turned to observe
Now he shouted advice to give me some nerve.
“Oh skier! Oh climber! Please heed my advice
It sucks where you are, but below it is nice.”
“The steepness relents, the ice turns to snow
Keep going, you’ll make it. – just take it slow.”
I swallowed my fear and pointed my skis
Ullr’s favorable words had put me at ease.
I pushed through the crux my teeth in full chatter
But a few turns later all my fears did scatter.
For the ice turned to powder that reached the knees
And my breathing no longer came with a wheeze.
I skied down the rib, outrunning the sluff
Stopping just short of a frightening bluff.
I looked left and right for the easiest line
But all around me was a steep incline.
The final turns were full of ave debris
A mix of ice, rock and the occasional tree.
I tried not to think what a fall would entail
If I screwed up the exit, with a horrible flail.
But once again Old Ullr showed me the path
Threading round rocks and down avalanche swath.
I followed his lead into the perilous trough
And before I knew it – the angle eased off.
I carved turns down the apron and onto the flats
Hoping to catch Ullr and have a long chat.
But when I stopped moving and looked all around
I was truly alone – not a soul to be found.
Ullr’s tracks on the run vanished with nary a trace
Where he stood moments before was now empty space.
In the cold winters air I stood fully perplexed
Whether this encounter was real was an issue quite vexed.
But darkness was approaching – I must head to my roof
I could not stay here hoping to find proof.
I skied towards home – my mind mystified
What could this unearthly encounter signify?
T’was almost totally dark when I looked to the west
To see a man with splitboard standing on ridge crest.
He waved his big hands and leaned back his head,
Yelling: “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good shred!“