Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"In Canada..."


I won't lie. I am fascinated with Canada. And things Canadian. Some of my most vivid childhood family vacation memories are from Canada. I was once granted honorary Canadian status. My first wild partying experiences were in Canada. There was a time when I had visited a greater percentage of Canadian Provinces than I had visited US States. But then they went and split the Northwest Territories in two, and I kept plugging away at the State visits. Anyway, I dig Canada. I also have a coupon for free admission to any Canadian National Park. Sweet.

As if I wasn't already fully enamored with our 51st state, I've gone and started this guide-training regimen. When it comes to avalanche training and awareness, backcountry ski guiding, ski-guide instruction and ski clothing and equipment manufacturing, them Canadians are unparalleled. It's enough to drive an already obsessed person over the edge. Every other sentence out of AMGA and AIARE instructors starts with "Well, in Canada...". They just seem to get it. They have huge mountains, great snow, and reasonable access options. Roadside, wilderness, helicopters, huts, even railroads. However, I must confess that, aside from a weird trip to Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula, I have not yet skied in Canada. Weird, eh? Nonetheless, I think I am obsessed with Canadian "ski touring" (as they call it). These guide-trainers have me sold.

On top of all that, I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition scholarship for my AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide Course that finished up a few weeks back. And it's a Canadian company that funded the generous honor! ArcTeryx is based in British Columbia and no one will argue that they make the absolute best mountain clothes, climbing harnesses and backpacks. Quite the flattering endorsement, to have them supporting my mission. To boot, I like using their stuff. I tromped all over Alaska in April in their ski pants, carried my overnight gear in a pack they made, and tied in with one of their innovative harnesses. To be clear, the pack I used is one they no longer make. But, whatever. I'm psyched with their stuff, their support, and their Canadian-ness. And that's what it's all a-boot, eh?
ArcTeryx pants, pack, and acres of sick Alaskan powder. Alaska is like Canada, but better!

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