September 07, 1999

The Future of Bear

Now that Labour Day has come and gone and the Elk chair is once again closed, it seemed safe to grind my bike and bones up to the Bear's Den without risking being a traffic impediment to the armored downhill hordes. I was curious to see what was going on up there, but I had to work my way up by going by the Haul Back to avoid gasping my way through the copious quantities of smoke from burn piles up along Lizard Trail.

I had heard that they were going to replace the Bear's Den with something new, but there was no sign of that. However lots of logging and scraping had been going on and the cut line for the lift that is to replace the Bear Lift is now obvious. This will be installed next summer along with a high speed detachable replacement for the Elk chair. I had thought that the bottom of the Bear replacement chair was going to be around the bottom of China Wall, but it turns out it will be down beside Lizard at about the point where the cat track turns to cross Power Trip. Apparently the bottom of China Wall was ruled out by avalanche worries and given what happened to the old Griz Chair back in the late 70s, this was probably a pretty valid concern.

The lower base of this chair means more vertical, but that bottom part is pretty flat and much more likely to be in the rain zone on THOSE days. It might also tend to put more high speed traffic on the beginner runs, which is never good. I guess time will tell how well it works out.

Freeway appears to have been given a bottom, with the area immediately below Deer Trail having been cleared and the creek crossed. I am not too sure if this will be much of a benefit, but I guess it doesn't really hurt anything except the funky little route down the creek bottom.

As the sun sets at 8:00 PM, it is pretty clear out and 10 C.

Lizard Bowl and the new wider Ballet.

Ballet from a different angle showing the upper lift cut.

Looking across Dipsy from near the bottom of China Wall. The new lift cut intersects Dipsy in the upper left and the trees have been cut back on Dipsy itself.

The area below Freeway has been cleared and a creek crossing built.

Looking up the new lift cut from where it crosses Lizard Trail.

Looking down the lift cut from the same location