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Eventually we crest the top of Sproatt, and get the chance to explore the sunshine-soaked alpine. The trees thin to reveal meadows and a panoramic view of Whistler below. I try to surf the heavy beast in powder; it's a trail machine, my guide says, and so not quite meant for it, but I start to get a feel for leaning the skids from side to side.
After whipping around in the untouched snow we pull in to CWA's Sproatt cabin. Inside we stuff ourselves with a logger's breakfast, devouring eggs, bacon and vegetables from a giant cook-up that has been roasting on an 18" frying pan sizzling over an ironclad, wood-fed stove. My fingers thaw; out the frosted windows the view stretches dead across the Callaghan, where we can see distant tracks traced across the icecap.
It is night, and I have just finished ripping up Blackcomb to Crystal Hut. The old triple-seater sits quiet, immobile against the stars, oblivious to its coming dismemberment this summer. I have downed an artery-hardening quantity of cheese, and my officially sanctioned single glass of white (CWA is careful not to let anyone rip around tipped). Beside me sit two fire-breathing circus performers who have just returned from Disneyland; my Swedish server, Liselotte, chats up an entire table of her stuffed kinfolk. And much to my perverse pleasure, Dave Morris of the Alpha Lake Three throws down a heart-throttling rendition of "The Man Who Sold the World" on acoustic guitar. (And thanks to popular demand, he is now working on expanding his catalogue to include Joy Division.)
As the evening winds up, we don our helmets and bundle up for the drive down. The return ride takes about half the time as the climb up; the efficiency of a sled in snowy terrain is evident. With engines growling, we prowl the way back home.