Went for a BC ski on a favourite 2-hour circle route today adjacent to the Fraser Experimental Forest in Grand County. Bluebird skies, temps between -3 and -6 C. My wife set out to do a trail along the creek on wooden Grasshoppas, and I started out climbing up battered tracks on the well-used unplowed forest road. I was skiing my S-Bound 98's and Alicos. Easy ascent 800-900' vertical over 2k, then gentle descent on a tight forest trail. At the turn-off that would connect me to the descent down to my wife's creek trail, I saw that the connecting trail hadn't been skied or trod upon since 6" powder fell 2 days ago. Perfect! I'd get fresh pow and a workout for the next 2-3 k. The S-Bounds plodded along well in the 6", and the Alicos... well, did I tell you I've grown to really like them...
Anyway, no rushing, nice exploratory space, the trail barely perceptible under the new snow. Just as I was trying to figure out where the trail went as several possibilities seemed feasible, something moved behind the spruce boughs 10 feet in front of me. Something huge and brown and bearded. No, not a hipster on skis. She moved out from behind the boughs and stood ski-pole-poking-distance in front of me. I took about 3 seconds to try to visually locate the trail, but couldn't make out which way it went. My first impulse was to quickly ski past her. She showed no sign of wanting to change her location. Just stood her ground while I retreated 50 feet back the way I'd come. I waited from what I considered to be a respectful distance. She showed no aggressiveness, at least not that I could interpret from her stance. But she made no move to depart. Up until recently, I'm sure I would have tried to bluff her with an aggressive gesture to get her to move away. Lately, I have read so many reports of moose charges and unpredictable behaviour that I sensed caution was the better strategy. I watched her for several minutes. She watched me, too, and made lots of sniffing movements and head rocking back-and-forth, but seemed in no mood to leave her space and plunge into meter-deep powder.
I decided to turn around and head back the way I'd come. I'd done two-thirds of the tour, but didn't relish tangling with a cow moose that just might have an unpleasant surprise in store for me. The ski back the way I'd come tired me more than I expected, but at least I had a good story for Lisa when I arrived 30 mins. late back at the car.
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You made the right choice Martin, I've been turned around by moose more than once. When you weigh a thousand pounds you're not easily scared away. A few years ago my wife and I got approached by an aggressive moose, I think she wanted our granola bars.
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