17. Chapter – BSM – The first ascending

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Legionnaires climbing on snowy montain

Sunday was the rest day of the week. Light skiing on the slopes until lunch and the afternoon was free for the platoon. Most of the guys were watching a film, some of them were sleeping or talking with their family on skype. After dinner we received the orders for next day, I prepared my stuffs and returned to watch a film.

The first assembly was at 6 AM for a short instruction.

We had a small sack with a shovel, a bottle of water, a second pair of gloves, a Gore-Tex vest and a t-shirt. Some stuffs which allowed us to pass a day in security in the mountains.

The instructors explained and showed us how to use the climbing skins for ski. These special skins are strips that attach to the bottom of skies to help while ascending backcountry slopes. Some of us needed a half an hour to discover how these things really work and when everyone was ready, we started the ascending.

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The objective was to do 500 meters ascending elevation. We took almost 3 hours to arrive. The instructors were permanently explaining us how to march correctly with the skies, but it wasn’t that easy as it seemed to be. It was a good experience; I’ve never done it before. The weather was super, the sun was shining and I was happy to be a legionnaire.

We arrived around 10AM in a small forest, pulled off the ski skins and prepared our stuffs for the descent.

I found a bit weird why we didn’t went higher on the hill, but the events after explained me pretty quickly why not. For the guys who have never seen snow before, it wasn’t an easy exercise to go down on backcountry slopes with a backpack.

At the beginning I found it funny, but I didn’t have to wait for a long time to realize that my ski level wasn’t as good as I thought and I started to fall down each 15 meters. 2 hours later 80% of our platoon was like a snowman.

I became much more tired while we were descending than during the ascending part.  After a quick lunch, we got on the trucks and went to the normal slopes, but from that moment, we have never skied without a backpack again.

I needed 2 days to get used to my small backpack and when I started to feel myself well again on the slopes, we left them to ski in the forest and outside the designated areas. I found that part exciting, but I didn’t have any force left to watch films before go to sleep.

This time we got the Saturday afternoon off and we could go out to complete our gear. The most of us also stopped for a beer and fondue in town.

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