'Boarding B.C.'s Backcountry
|Ready for takeoff|
Our next stop was the town of Invermere, a few hours to the northwest and home to RK Heli-Skiing. We were greeted by Christy Madson, who's part of the family-run business. Christy had one of those healthy mountain glows that only come from these parts.
"But what about the city?" we asked her.
"The city can be fun," she said to us. "But after a few days, I'm ready to come home, and I wouldn't want it any other way." She paused and, doing her best to curb a smile, said, "Look, you make your own reality. That's what counts."
I thought about my life in New York and the paths that led me there. I knew I was an urbanite, but I also belonged to the mountains. My own reality was a convergence of the two. This healthy-looking woman from a tiny town in B.C. made me think back to the woman in New York with her face in the newspaper. The two realities could not be more different.
The next morning, the reality that confronted us was a delightful one: skiing 2,000 square kilometers of sweet powder in RK's playground in the Purcell Mountains. Reaching over 11,000 feet, these mountains attract moisture from Pacific storms and get 40 feet of snow annually. Although not one of these 40 feet fell on our appointed day, RK managed to find us fresh tracks all day long.
Rod, our certified mountain guide, gave us the ritualistic avalanche-beacon lecture and a warning to avoid leaning on the Plexiglass windows of the helicopter unless we wanted to become a permanent part of the mountain-scape. I later learned that of RK's 120-plus runs, over glaciers and through gladed forests, few are avalanche material. And at $500 a day, who really wants to be crushed by a 100-mile-per-hour wave of snow and debris?
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication