The snow dances in cascading sparkles as we move, the crystals refracting the sunlight in every direction. Theresa and I are skinning toward a convex slope on an especially warm spring day. A third member oufour party is out in front. Just as the thought starts to creep into my mind, Theresa stops. She's standing in the exact spot I would turn uphill. She's reading my mind again.
I met Theresa in rather unusual circumstances, a good indicator of the remarkable skilationship to come. We met at 9,000ft on Wy'east (Mt. Hood) on July 28, 2013, and summited together the next day. I liked her style, and she liked my tutu. A match made in backcountry heaven.
My admiration for Theresa is well documented - I appreciate her ambition, humility, aggressive knee-bend, and overall stoke - but what continues to surprise me is our sympatico relationship in the mountains. When we're adventuring just the two of us we don't stop to talk about things, or rather we do talk but only to confirm our shared assessment of a situation. We read mountains in the same way, and share a similar tolerance for risk. I know when she's afraid, and trust that when I'm nervous she'll talk me through it. T's a better skier than I am. I am a little more confident on steep, icy terrain. We both enjoy powder days, skinning in the rain, bad 90s music, long trudges stupid distances for silly objectives, and an occasional beer for breakfast before long trudges stupid distances for silly objectives, sometimes in the rain.
Theresa is my ski mountaineering solemate.
Which is why, on this particular day ski touring in Canada, I am not at all surprised she is reading my mind again. Where she stops is so obviously the only place to do a kick turn I don't understand how anyone else could have skinned right by. But that's what makes soulmates so special, they get you in a way no one else can.
October 20, 2018 - Tahoma 7-Year Skiaversary!
Ours is a skilationship forged in the mountains. Between the day we met and now, I have skied 189 days (for you math nerds out there, that's about 38 days/year). Of those, 72 were with Theresa. Meaning I've spent 38.1% of my ski days in the last five years chasing her. I can think of no better use for my time.
As co-conspirators in Turns All Year, we often try to celebrate our anniversaries together. She's a year ahead, so this October we visited Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) to mark 7-years for me and 8-years for T. As a special treat we had Theresa's twin sister Trisha with us, who was celebrating one month of turn. The snow, as expected, was marginal to poor on the lower sections, but up by Camp Muir we experienced a little over a thousand feet of October magic: not too soft, not too sticky, and offering a glint of the late corn harvest, the snow sparkling in the late afternoon sun.
|#TeamTutu going for a very long walk.|
|What marginal to poor snow looks like.|
|Nearing the final stretch. Snow is getting better!|
|Zero for Trish, 8 years (96 months) for T, 7 years (84 months) for me!|
|The deep knee bend of the Sipple Sisters. Demonstrated by Trisha.|
|I'm WORKING ON IT! Okay?!? Photo by Trish.|
|Theresa enjoying some surprisingly good turns.|
|Linking patches of white. They're running dry.|
|Took a little drive past reflection lake on our way home.|
Top photo by Theresa.