Words By: Kat Parks
Photos By: Cayman Waughtel
Objectives. They dictate our plans, fellow alpine enthusiasts ask about it at trailheads, and there’s a weird obsession with one-upping as if a more gnarly objective dictates a person’s mountain worth. First off, I’d like to set the record straight and say that my no. 1 objective, at all times, is to put myself into situations where I can be the best version of me. And I am my best self when I am having fun, growing, and pushing myself. I personally do not ever want to complete an objective while feeling at the very cusp of my skill level, physical abilities, or scared out of my mind. I want to be able to look back on my mountain rambles with a deep appreciation for the land, my body, and the ability to remember what I learned. Sure, I often have moments where I’m pushing my limits in terms of skill or accepted risk level (because this is how I learn) but I am never teetering on the edge. I love this approach to objectives because it takes the pressure off completely.
So with all that said, I can move onto today’s objective: getting Pippy some snowy mountain time. We had a couple places in mind going into this morning but opted for something close because neither one of us felt like spending more time than needed in the car today. We drove as far up the Ellinor road as we felt comfortable and parked. From the get go this morning, Pip knew that this trip was about him and he followed me around like a sticktight as we got ready and didn’t relax until we loaded him up into the car to head out. We set out knowing we’d never rip skins as we felt the rain-formed ice crust under our skis. Looking up, we saw where freezing level had been the night before - a clearly defined line that separated the landscape like two distinct worlds. For miles, Pippy faithfully carried his most prized piece of gear - his disc - and he finally got to chase after it when we stopped at our turnaround point.
Upon arriving back at the car, we sat and enjoyed a pizza and beer lunch to savor the successful completion of the day’s objective. And just because today’s objective didn’t involve sick lines, blower pow, or sweeping views, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t just as important, just as epic, or just as worth it.