The trip began, as per usual, like a dream.
We were on our way to Sentry Lodge for a ski and yoga week led by ACMG Ski Guide Kitt Redhead, IFMGA guide Lilla Molnar and yogi extraordinaire Ally Bogard.
Kitt Redhead- Sentry Lodge- Zoya Lynch Photo
Lilla Molnar- Sentry Lodge- Zoya Lynch Photo
Zoya Lynch, Jesse Johnson Hill, Leah Evans and I packed up and left well ahead of schedule, making the quick jaunt over Rogers Pass to Golden in our luxury sport utility vehicle with the most excellent winter tires. .
In the morning I woke up from this sweet fantasy and realized… we had thirteen minutes to reign in the gear explosion that had resulted after our late night arrival, pack Zoya’s tiny car with three times too much stuff and make it to staging for our flight into the lodge.
Just a few minutes later we were buckled in and ready to go. A round of high fives, a sigh of relief, and we started up the road… Only to find the sports car didn’t quite have the gusto it needed to make it up the long icy driveway.
In a state of shock and early morning delirium, Jesse fumbled with chains sized for a semi truck, Zoya tried to call for a tow and Leah and I wrack our brains for friends that could get us out of this mess. Scrolling through our contact lists, Leah had a hazy flashback from Freeskiing World Tour party in Revelstoke a week prior. Tim Grey!!! she cried. “He told me if I ever needed anything to call him”.
It was 7:03 am and within twenty minutes, the Biglines.com Saab rolled up to save the day.
We raced to the staging area 50 km west of Golden. The rest of the ladies were ready and waiting for the heli- other flights that morning and weather delays meant we made it just in the nic of time. . More high fives to Tim, another sigh of relief.
We were ready for our week of backcountry zen. And then I realized…
I forgot my skis.
More panic ensues.
Race to get extra skis from other girls vehicles. Adjust bindings, and nothing fits. The beat of the heli sounds in the distance and we find a set that works… phew..
The nightmare is over, I owe everyone a jug of beer… but we made it to the lodge. Sentry is as elegant as a backcountry can get. The luxurious building is surrounded by mind blowing ski terrain on all aspects, after a quick beacon practice we clicked on our skis and sank into lodge life immediately.
Sentry Lodge- Golden Alpine Holidays- Zoya Lynch Photo
Each day began with a 6:30am fireside yoga practice with Ally , followed by breakfast and heading out to whatever piece of terrain called on the given day. Pillows beckoned, peaks loomed and cold temps brought blue skies halfway through the week. The summit of Sentry Mountain hosted twelve backcountry babes in minus 28. Seven days in a row deep cold smoke kept our legs pumping laps after lap until the the sun was setting and the sauna was hot.
Leah Evans- Sentry Pow- Zoya Lynch Photo
Sentry Sunshine- Zoya Lynch Photo
As usual words wont do this trip justice. It’s not often that I get to spend an entire week in the depths of winter ripping it up with twelve other strong, inspiring, ambitious mountain women- skiing, practicing yoga, eating, sharing stories, and dressing up and getting a little bit crazy (hey! what happens at Sentry dance parties, stays at Sentry dance parties..). For one week were lucky enough to come together and explore, some as strangers, some as acquaintances and some as best friends because of a common love for the mountains. The universal forces that drive us were especially notable during a week that the world lost two dedicated mountain souls and some of Canada’s most renowned female athletes- alpinist Carlyle Norman and freeskier Sarah Burke. Our hearts grew heavy when we heard the news of their tragic passings, knowing the family we are all a part of was suffering a huge loss. But, together we were reminded how fortunate we are to share in the magic of the mountains and it compelled us to continue living each day as fully and completely as they both did. The desire to embrace our passion for adventure, growth, challenge and exploration was elevated as every glimpse of majestic alpenglow, perfect turn and step towards a snow peak throughout the week became a tribute to those two extraordinary women.May the souls of friends lost find freedom in the mountains forever…
Shredder Girls- Zoya Lynch Photo
Thanks a million to Tim Grey for getting us to the heli on time. THANK YOU Kitt, for being a the most well prepared ski guide with extra skis in your car so I wasn’t stuck being the lodge girl all week long! Kitt Redhead and Lilla Molnar for their guidance and sharing their wealth of mountain knowledge. Ally Bogard for opening our hips and our minds. To all the girls- Courtney Albert, Becky Bristow, Leah Evans, Jesse Johnson Hill, Zoya Lynch, Betty Purser, Charlotte Tooby, Lisa Weber and Kim Younger for the laughs and adventures!! Isaac and Cody for being great custodians and water sherpas.. Ski ya soon!