Meg Olenick is one of the young slopestyle stars of the U.S. Freeskiing Team. Raised just outside of Aspen, Colo., Olenick has been skiing park since she was a kid, following in the footsteps of her older brothers, Michael and Peter. After a series of knee injuries, she is looking to solidify her spot on the 2014 Olympic team. Olenick will be blogging for OnTheSnow this season as she prepares for Sochi in 2014.
When you are given the opportunity to go on a cat-skiing trip at Baldface Lodge in Nelson, BC you say “yes” no matter what. With over 32,000 acres of skiable terrain and 500-plus inches of annual snow, who in their right mind would even consider missing the trip?
Dave Morin, the creator of a social media outlet called Path, who I met in San Francisco in the fall during a U.S. Ski Team fundraiser, invited me on the trip. Kristi Leskinen, Chris Davenport and Charlotte Moats and I would be accompanying 35 of the most tech-savvy guys in the country as guest athletes. Not only was I fairly new to backcountry skiing but my tech knowledge was fairly minimal; I know how to logon to Facebook, download apps onto my phone and post a photo on Instagram. I was with guys who helped build Facebook from the ground up and guys who created apps for everything. Though we all had different careers, the one thing we had in common was our love for skiing.
Energy was high as we waited at the local Nelson airport for the helicopter to arrive and bring us to the lodge. Weather permitting, we could only fly part of the way to the lodge and snowcats took us the rest of the way. The amount of snow that clung to the trees was like nothing I’d seen before. The lodge looked like a five-star hotel that could be at the base of Aspen Mountain. Dinner reminded me of a meal that you would have in Italy looking over the Mediterranean Sea—words cannot begin to describe how amazing it was. The snow was coming down in sheets and people were drifting off one by one. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve going to bed that night.
We piled into four snowcats and shoved off for what I thought was going to be the best powder day of my life. Well, it turns out that 60 cm of fresh snow and rain don’t mix too well and create a cement-like substance. We ripped through heavy snow and blasted music in the snowcats; fun was had still despite our unlucky conditions. Dinner was outstanding once again and we went to bed crossing our fingers and toes that Day Two would bless us with better snow. Let’s just put it this way; the highlights from Day Two consisted of extreme sledding, raging bonfires, throwing axes, hitting a jump, lighting fireworks and drinking beers. This group of guys knew how to have fun in any situation; “bad snow, that’s fine we’ll build a jump and shoot off fireworks.”
On Day Three, we awoke with low expectations for snow and were shocked when we headed out to fairly good conditions. My adrenaline was high, as this was my first trip of the season and I was skiing powder in the middle of the woods with great company. Every run was filled with fresh snow and different terrain to keep us entertained all day long. I felt like I was laughing throughout every run and at the bottom just wanted to be back at the top instantly. At that point, life couldn’t get much better. I had made 35 new friends in the last four days, skied powder, taken my first helicopter ride, thrown axes into logs, watched grown men dance on the bar and laughed more than I had in the last year. Baldface—you have been good to me, thank you and see you next year!