AIRPLANE MODE: Greg Hill On Disconnecting In The Selkirks

Words by Greg Hill. Photos by Fredric Marmsater

It’s getting hard to remember a time when my iPhone was not a large part of my life. Slowly this need for constant communication invaded my world. I hate to admit it but my addiction is very strong. Almost immediately when I wake up I am on my phone, brewing my coffee and sitting down for a solid 30 minutes of screen time. I typically start off with my email, to see if there is anything important, then a quick swipe through Instagram, followed immediately by Facebook. Then…(am I going to admit this?) I check in on my Clash of Clans game. A quick battle for some gold and then back to CBC news and social media again.

I’ll read my book for a few more minutes sipping coffee, while my hand plays with my phone, waiting for my next unfocused moment when I need to look through it again. Ohh cool, a few more likes on my photo from yesterdays ski, or a comment on my 5 rules video… some more time wasting and I will put it back down… to read for a bit longer while I struggle with my desire to pick the phone back up.

It’s a wild struggle that we all face these days, this irrepressible need to check in on life. Although nothing is so urgent that we need to check so frequently, we have become programmed with a need.

I often notice how disassociated it makes me, when my son is talking to me and I regretfully miss part of his conversation… its sad how it removes us a bit from the present. As a family I am imposing a no screen/phone time between 6-8, it’s a needed time to ensure that we connect since our online connections disconnect us from each other.

Needless to say it felt great on Monday, to slide the bar to the left and go into airplane mode for our 4 day trip into snowfall lodge. Christina Lusti, Fred Marmaster, Jeff Mitchell and my amazing sister Jesse organized an impromptu trip to this new lodge in the Selkirk mountains.

As the helicopter flew away, we left most of our worries and cares behind, and really had no way to check on them. Spotting the lodge from kilometers away, I was excited about the remoteness of our mountain dwelling. We landed, unloaded our gear and began our 4 days of exploration. Working our way up the moraine we talked and bonded without the typical disconnects that happen when our phones ping or ring. The weather was blustery and we found a great north facing run through untracked powder.

Two great runs in unfamiliar terrain had us sliding back to our cold cabin. We quickly lit a fire and warmed up the hut. Hot chocolate and tea infused with spiced rum warmed us up as we all chatted and talked our way through the night.

Early morning had us all waking and talking, no one was on their phones, or checking in to see how many likes they had. We were all simply being and it felt so great. Sitting with our coffees, watching the fire spark and planning our day.

Another cloudy day, had us navigating through seracs searching for the summit of Beowulf. We toured into a glaciated cave looking for the mythical beast from the story, but fear had me touring backwards, I guess I am not the hero type…

A fun ridge scramble around rhymed up granite spires had us high fiving on a peak surrounded by clouds.

We ripped a fun face and couloir and toured up another couloir, finding great turns everywhere. Eventually we found ourselves back at the lodge and stoking the fire. Again we all settled in to conversation and tea drinking, then wine and beer of course. Not that we had any real deep introspective talks but we for sure were more in tune with each other..again no blings, beeps, or any distracting sounds.

Days and nights flew peacefully by, mornings calm and complete. The skiing was great, the evenings centred around food and conversation. As with all things it had to come to an end. Eventually the helicopter flew in and picked us up.

Flying around the bend, with town in sight, we pulled out our cameras and turned the airplane mode off. Immediately the pings started, landing we barely talked as we all reconnected with the world as we disconnected with each other. Moments later we were in the car and erratically driving while checking our statuses and uploading our latest grams.