I went to the big city down the hill today to take care of some chores. For awhile now, I've been hankering for a new ski pack. I love my BCA Valhalla, I really do, but it's just a tad small. I was looking for something a bit bigger, so I could shove my boots inside for those July skis with long hikes in, and that also allowed the opportunity to do some camping – 2-3 nights out in Blue Lake basin in June, or 30 days alpine ski touring in Norway in April (the base gear of what you'd need – minus food – is pretty much identical). Anyway, today I decided to pull the trigger. Went to BCA headquarters to check them out. BCA rocks in my opinion, and I've always used their packs. They are functional, light and durable. And they ski great. Nuff' said.
I ended up walking out with a Alp55. I won't know for sure till I ski it, but on first glance, this thing is going to rock. It's definitely spacious – I'd say 30% larger than my last pack, so shoving all my stuff inside is no problem. It's got lots of cool side entry features, the necessary dividing pockets and…important for strapping on skis…lots of straps and lashes. It seems to wear close to the body and should ski well. I'm stoked. I slapped some trademark Daniel prayer flags on the side, so the thing will be chalk full of good vibes in the big bad montanas. I packed it tonight for a little fun tomorrow afternoon after a morning that will require some patience.
Packs are one of those things that stir the imagination. What couloirs will the pack get to go down, what peaks will it climb, what rivers will it cross, what powder days full of grins will it be part of? The potential, the dreams. Right now, this pack is stiring a loose plan. I see myself with this pack on, Icelantic Nomads strapped to the back, IPod headphones in the ear, standing in a train station in Oslo, Norway, waiting for adventure. Heading north, to the coastal mountains near the arctic circle. Travelling light – Skis, boots, ski clothes, one change of street clothes (to impress the Norwegian ladies of course) , Mega Mid Tent, 20° sleeping bag, sleeping pad, lightweight stove, camera, memory cards, iPod, passport, travellers checks. Basically, an overnight camping set-up. But with some experience (thank you NOLS) you learn this is all you need to survive 30 days. Certainly 30 days in the sub-front country. Travelling light and fast – you see more – it's simple. That would be how I'd go. Hmmm. Depart April fools day. Go for a whole month. Head north, to Tromso, and ski everything under the northern lights. What's a ticket to Oslo? $900? That's doable. Need some cash for the stay – Norway's not cheap. Hmmm…where there is a dream, there is a way. This could work, this could be fun.
Imagination, stirred by, of all things – a new pack.