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Dispatch from a winter of contrasts

March 14th, 2014

Osprey Athlete Jasmin Caton owns and operates Valhalla Mountain Touring along with her husband, fellow Osprey Athlete Evan Stevens. Jasmin grew up in Hills B.C. and has been hooked on skiing ever since. She devotes most of her time to her passion for outdoor recreation, primarily rock climbing, alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. Some of her most memorable outdoor adventures are guiding her parents up Bugaboo Spire, hiking the Valhalla Range in 3 days with her sister, and topping out on War and Poetry, a 30 pitch route in Greenland in a raging storm. Jasmin is an ACMG assistant rock guide and works for Squamish Rock Guides during the summer.

The epitome of winter bliss. Rosy cheeks, tired legs and great friends to celebrate with. "Porch beers" was part of the daily schedule of the VMT Women's Week.

The epitome of winter bliss. Rosy cheeks, tired legs and great friends to celebrate with. “Porch beers” were part of the daily schedule of the VMT Women’s Week.

Bhumi Mountain Camp participants skinning across the Secret Valley at Sentry Lodge

Bhumi Mountain Camp participants skinning across the Secret Valley at Sentry Lodge

As a ski guide and ski touring lodge owner, winter always passes in a blur.  A day of sitting on my butt in front of the computer is the exception not the rule, and time seems to slow during these days as I get caught up on my inside jobs. I revel in this time — I can almost hear my leg muscles say “ahhhhhhhh” as they sink into the couch and my normally ski-boot clad feet say “thank goodness” as my toes spread into the furry depths of my slippers. It’s nice to have a bit of time for hang-boarding, yoga, and feels great to achieve that feeling of caught-upness that comes when I tackle my to-do list.

But as I look outside, at the winter sun reflecting off the snow I know that I won’t make it a whole day. Afterall, my dog needs his walk so I’ll use him as an excuse and get out for a run or two. Hopefully I’ll finish this little post first!

My winter up to now has been characterized by extremes: A January that was both sunny and crazy warm, followed by sunny and crazy cold. A long drought followed by 150cm of snow in a week. Two all woman’s ski trips, two all men’s ski trips. A month of not leaving the quiet isolation of Valhalla Mountain Touring followed by a marathon drive to Snoqualmie Pass Washington to teach a ski clinic for the Alpental Vertfest. The youngest VMT guest (Kai Everett, 7 weeks) and the oldest (Bob Workum ,82). Pushing my skis up the mountain in thigh deep snow at VMT and getting whisked to the top by a snowcat at Retallack. Hero skiing in 30 degree boot top and sidestepping my way down an icy 45 degree couloir.

Caroline skis down from Profanity Col, Sentry Lodge.

Caroline skis down from Profanity Col, Sentry Lodge.

It's tempting to get frustrated when it's not snowing, but far more fun to revel in the sun!

It’s tempting to get frustrated when it’s not snowing, but far more fun to revel in the sun!

Most of my time and energy is spent sharing my experiences with the guests I am guiding, hence the lack of blogging. Even my best buddies in Squamish don’t hear from me for months at a time. However even though I am working, being surrounded by people who are on their cherished ski vacation time is infectious! As long as I get plenty of sleep, don’t drink too much and carve out a few minutes of “me time” each day I truly feel this is the best job I could ever have.

Here are a few more of my favourite moments from the past few months:

Guide's day off with my sweetie means going exploring in our south tenure looking for new lines.

Guide’s day off with my sweetie means going exploring in our south tenure looking for new lines.

Up-and-coming photographer Zoya Lynch shredding at Sentry Lodge

Up-and-coming photographer Zoya Lynch shredding at Sentry Lodge

Happy guests post-Baron Bowl shred. "I can't believe we just skied that!"

Happy guests post-Baron Bowl shred. “I can’t believe we just skied that!”

Team K2 Anex 108 poised to shred the Baron Bowl, the first time in years that it's both been in stable conditions AND had good snow!

Team K2 Anex 108 poised to shred the Baron Bowl, the first time in years that it’s both been in stable conditions AND had good snow!

Bhumi Mountain Camp Sentry Lodge crew. What a pleasure to work with these beauties.

Bhumi Mountain Camp Sentry Lodge crew. What a pleasure to work with these beauties.

She kept us safe during the Valentine's Day week.

She kept us safe during the Valentine’s Day week.

Evan poised for the first descent of the Hourglass Right above Shannon Lake.

Evan poised for the first descent of the Hourglass right above Shannon Lake.

Guests at Retallack enjoying some ridge time between snow-cat assisted laps. Only girls on the mountain were the guides!

Guests at Retallack enjoying some ridge time between snow-cat assisted laps. Only girls on the mountain were the guides!

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