Sphinx hut: How I won the game of GNAR

“The game of GNAR involves skiing + extraneous activities, much like normal VOC hut trips”.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend watching the G.N.A.R. video in a public library, in class, or at work due to the abundance of “Man Ass”. If there is anything I missed in the report, you can leave a comment below!

The Most Awesome and Amazing Skier/Split-boarder participants include:Olek Splawinski (organizer), Alfred Larsen, Petra Klumpova, Jake Alleyne, Paolo Aranoff, Steffen Randahl, Jessica Litman, Spencer Rasmussen, and me


Being a beginner skier, I had thought that all hopes of winning the game of GNAR was to be kept in a little box and shipped to the bottom of a crevasse in Antarctica after watching snippets of bold/stupid people skiing of cliffs sometimes naked and sometimes landing on their heads. I could score points for things like pole-whacking, calling my mom while skiing, and announcing I was the best skier on the mountain (which I couldn’t bring myself to do because I was raised by my mom as an honest and humble child), but the big points would be an issue. In addition, you could lose points for hurting yourself which I suspected was going to be a problem for me.

Anyhow, we all started the day off on equal terms with four hours or less of sleep and began the 15.7 km trek around 8 am. Stephen warmed up with a cigarette first, and Jake was going to do the trip in his girlfriend’s underwear (+GNAR points). We skinned 2 km on the logging road and slowly the majority of the group disappeared in front of me like ants in the snow. I was alone for 15 minutes or so before Olek and Stephen caught up to me and became trapped behind me. I skinned up at a steady pace (ever heard of slow and steady wins the race? It’s not usually the case), and eventually bumped into Alfred, Petra and Jessica who stopped to take a break. Unfortunately, Alfred began developing blisters from his new Intuition liners 2 km or so past the Garibaldi trail head.On the way there, Spencer wagered his chocolate, betting we would get to the hut at 4 pm, and I wagered my smoked salmon guessing we’d get there at 5 pm.

1km to Garibaldi lake, we bumped into Stephen hopping up and down to warm up with a cigarette dangling from his lips, it was a funny sight.  We met up with Jake, Jessica, and Paulo at the lake and all had a nice lunch. Paulo, in the midst of lunch, had legitimately fallen asleep while sitting. Jessica started off breaking trail across the lake and I left a few minutes later. Paulo later caught up to me, refreshed from his nap. Soon we noticed our skins beginning to ice up, and Paulo had fallen over twice trying to scrape the snow off while standing up. I had no problem with this, partly because I had shorter skies, shorter legs, and some prior yoga experience. With no candle wax around we eventually took the skins off, and even convinced Petra to do it too. This was a very, very bad idea for split-boards, we later learned. It was something like one step forward, one step back. At the end of the lake, I bumped into Stephen celebrating with a cigarette and I attempted to put on my skins without taking my skies off which warranted some GNAR points.

When we got to the hut, it was still light out and learned from Spencer that they had gotten there at 4:50pm (he still owes me some chocolate). After some faffing in the hut, we went night skiing and the snow was soft and smooth. Olek and Spencer had fun yoyo-skiing, and I had fun survival skiing. Before heading back, I noticed I had nicked my index finger somewhere and blood was oozing out like a light nose bleed. Unfortunately, band-aids were a limited resource on the trip, and I led be to the revelation that I should probably start bringing a first-aid kit along on future trips. I presented my blood covered finger to Petra and she gave me her last two band-aids. One of which I lost right away.

While cooking, I was stuck between Chef Spencer and Chef Alfred who tortured me with their tantalizing Coconut Thai Curries, boiled rice, and fresh veggies. I was making instant mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and sliced sausage. Somehow I cut my other index finger while cooking, and Alfred kindly gave me one of his last bandages. After dinner, I listened to “encounters with death” ski stories and talk of beautiful places to ski. We found out Jake had hauled up a bottle of liquor from Cambodia which consisted of a fully intact Cobra Snake, Scorpion and Ginseng (+/- GNAR points). I brought some Oreo cookies for desert and they were well received, when there were two cookies left, Olek said that the person to eat the last cookie and not get caught would win GNAR points. Somebody quickly claimed the second last Oreo. Soon I grew sleepy, and clambered up to the second floor to get some rest. While I was upstairs, apparently Olek tried to get the last Oreo and got caught. As I was falling deeper into slumber, somebody mentioned  the rattlesnake liquor and I was instantly awake and dragged myself to the opening in the floor. Being a fan of deep-fried grasshoppers, that was not something I was going to miss (+GNAR points for going to bed and getting up to drink rattlesnake liquor).

Jake handed me the strange concoction and I tipped the bottle, contents and all, into my mouth. Luckily, no scorpion bits fell out but it tasted unpleasantly of fermented seafood. I handed the liquor back down, and the Olek tried it next. Needless to say, he did not take it very well and I believe some coughing ensued. The only way Jessica could drink the liquor was if we put it in the Oreo bag so she couldn’t see the contents inside. The ones who tried it swore it was the worst thing they’ve ever drank. After some time, the flavour disappeared from our memory, and then Olek said if somebody would take another swig, he would too. And then we all put ourselves through the misery of taking another swig. The second time was worst than the first because we all knew how horrible it tasted. We rescued our taste buds with chocolate afterward. A third of the vile liquid was gone, but I didn’t mind it as much as the rest of the crew (though it didn’t taste very good). Then Olek said if somebody would take another swig, he would too. So the boys went outside because they were worried about puking and I remained in my sleeping bag. When they came back, Jake had puked outside, which he lost GNAR points for. Naturally, being the smallest person there, I finished the rest of the wine Alfred handed me and went to bed.

In the middle of the night, the urge to go swiftly came down on me, but I was feeling lazy. It was snowy and windy outside, my boots were soaked, and I was sleeping upstairs. I thought about my choices and saw that right in front of me was a window…

The next day

We woke up at 9AM, and tried to fix up the hut/ clean the hut a bit. Olek and Jake worked on sanding the window down so it could close but to no avail. I managed to close the window by pushing it farther and letting it swing down with more force (it’s a matter of skill). Still, a handle on the window would be better. Alfred and Jake got the hut warmer working. Afterward we went skiing for a bit. The snow was unstable so we didn’t go very far or very high. The boys built a jump and Spencer went really fast and landed on his back. In the meanwhile, I was back at the hut packing up because it was already 12:30pm and I needed some time to get down.

This is getting a little too long, so long story short, we skied down mostly in the dark.  Petra had to ski down with her split board, which she may have regretted bringing. Paul made it down first, and Jessica sped down like a swan. I twisted my knee before the 5km mark, Spencer and Stephen had to rescue me in a few awkward positions (one of which where my ski got stuck in a branch and between the ground) but we all made it down in one piece. Stephen celebrated with cigarettes, and we had no casualties, woo hoo!

In the end, I was delegated as GNAR champion, but I think we’re ALL winners (I’m just slightly more of a winner :P).


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One Response to Sphinx hut: How I won the game of GNAR

  1. Olek Splawinski says:

    Excellent report Angela! I would just like to add that I lost the game of GNAR by missing the exit for the Shady Tree (automatic loss).

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