“Terminal Cancer”… that’s some name. It sure sounds like the end, imminent death. Normally in my life’s journey I try to stay away from things that really don’t sound like a good idea. Somehow in the ski world “Terminal Cancer” is the place to be, maybe the sickest line around.
The term couloir is a french term referring to passage or corridor. In the Ruby Mountains of Nevada the term couloir refers to “Terminal Cancer”. Sledding into Lamoille Canyon I had all kinds of ideas what the line would look like. I heard stories, thought about it in my sleep the night before. They were no comparison to seeing it for the first time. I looked up, giggled a bit and knew right away we were in for some serious boot packing.
Along with Kris Thomas and Rylan Cordova we had very little knowledge of the Ruby’s snowpack. As I crossed the creek, rock-hopping in my ski boots I was hoping to not fall in although somewhere deep down inside I thought about how funny it would be to see Kris or Rylan floating in the creek. The ascent was about 2000 feet up, one foot in front of the other. Debris from a previous slide and chunks of snow falling off TC’s canyon walls lined the sides of the couloir. We continued to post hole up to our waists.
At the top we geared up and dropped into one of America’s 50 best ski descents. The walled in line sits at about 40 degrees. It was definitely the line of my week. Jump turn after jump turn my legs began to ache. The snow was a mixture of chalk, pow and chunk. I’m not sure that I would have dubbed it such a deathly name, maybe it’s due to the way it looks from the canyon floor, maybe it’s to frighten the infinite snowmobilers of Elko away, maybe it describes that nasty cough I have developed since my return to the basin. I guess I just prefer to look on the bright side of things. Either way it’s pretty awesome!!
The Line of the Week will be a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest skiers skiing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. For more of Ryan’s work check out www.ryansalmphotography.com or http://ryansalmphotography.photoshelter.com/