–submitted by Matthew Lettington

Mount Becher is a popular destination for ski touring, hiking and snowshoeing, but on February 4th, it wasn’t our primary objective. Our first option was Mount Curran, in the Beaufort Range, but an unexpected snowstorm conspired against us. Mt Becher was a better goal for a day with a heavy snowfall forecast. I was only slightly disappointed to leave another peak on my Alpine Quest unclimbed because I was keen to work on my ski skills, and Mount Becher is always a great place to ski.

Our drive to the trailhead was an adventure unto itself. We expected poor driving conditions and we found them! Even though the road was plowed it was still covered with compressed snow.  The volume of snow that blew across the highway created near whiteout conditions.  Each snowflake that passed over my hood and into my window caught the light from my jeep’s headlamps (visualise the Millennium Falcon entering hyperspace). We drove slow, taking twice the normal time as the road was practically a single lane.

Forbidden Plateau Road was freshly plowed, better than the highway even. We pulled into the parking lot and geared up. Seven of us ventured up through the shallow, freshly fallen snow with big smiles on our faces. Despite the heavy snow that fell as we drove to the old ski hill,  as we worked our way up the slopes there was little more than a light dusting falling.

As we traversed the summit ridge a thin cloud descended, dropping the air temperature a few degrees and created a shadowless landscape. On the summit, many of us had frozen hair, white frost covered strands created streaks in our hair–Hey, it’s a mountain fashion trend! It was only noon when we stood at the summit but we didn’t linger long because we were looking forward to the best part of the day: the return home.

The ski down was excellent. The terrain on the summit ridge was perfect for my developing skills. Although I enjoyed the ski over the easy terrain, I didn’t’ push my luck down the steeper treed slopes. The combination of inexperience, and my too-long-skis, created a risk that I wasn’t willing to take and I carried my skis down the worst of the terrain.

We arrived back at the car around 1 pm and headed for home.