December 10, 1999

Flora and Fluff

Okay, I apologize. This report is way too long and has way too many pictures, but it is opening day and if you will indulge me this once I will try to behave in the future.

Griz did his thing yesterday and the hill was reporting over twenty centimeters new up top in the last twenty four hours. Sure enough my first turns on Kodiak found nice chopped powder and miraculously the skis still seemed to somehow turn both ways. The low base revealed itself in all the shrubbery that was common off of the normally groomed runs, but in the silky snow the twigs often just provided amusing obstacles to toy with. Of course in many areas they were simply impassable, but there didn't seem to be any shortage of fine spots to go.

Things were, as expected and as pointed out by a sign at the bottom of the Timber lift, significantly rougher on the new side. This didn't prevent streams of the judgment challenged from trying to negotiated the rocks of the Knots Chutes though and I suspect there must have been some occasional entertainment for onlookers on the chair. Currie was closed, but the snow in upper Timber was excellent and soon I also found it all too easy to set judgment aside. In my case this was rudely pointed out when I experienced one of those tree skiing uh-ohs of blasting between two trees only to find nothing underneath me on the other side. Fortunately I managed to miss all the nasty bits and landed standing up in a large hole perhaps 4 or 5 m lower than my previous terrestrial contact. It was fortunate that I did since behind me was a rock filled hole leading directly to the bowels of the earth and even standing up my head was below the rim of what was essentially a huge tree well, minus the tree. I was also grateful that all the snow stayed in place after the impact settling was done and I was able to extract my skis and climb out. Soooo, be careful out there boys and girls. :-)

We gave the Heartland bypass a try and it seem suitable for all but beginners and leads onto the fairly easy Highline run which I thought was in pretty good shape, but my wife thought reminiscent of Lake Louise as a result of hitting a number of rocks. My condescending 'you ski around the rocks look' shortly proved to be a mistake. Below the bottom of White Pass there was a sign indicating marginal skiing, not recommended, but at that point your options for getting off of the hill are rather limited. (You could go back up White Pass and take the cat track that loops around the top of Diamond Back). In any event we took the right fork of what I guess is still Deep Sea and it was pretty good, but I couldn't resist playing in the powder at the side and before long some malevolent rock took a great hunk out of my ski. This is the first time in 10 years that I have had a divot that even suggested that P-Tex repair might be necessary. Clearly though these will be more frequent if I continue to play on the new side early in the season. A little farther down on Deep Sea we had the choice of the gully of rocks or the valley of stumps. Actually the latter wasn't too bad and everything from there on down was fine. My ski is now under the doctor's care at the Ski Base in town and I am hoping it will make a full recovery for tomorrow. (Arrrgh - just as I was about to post this I got a call from the Doc and apparently one ski is terminally bent, presumably from the hole incident). :-(

All the lifts were running except the Face Lift and Deer (I didn't notice the Mighty Moose), but quite a bit was closed due to avalanche risk, including Currie, upper Lizard, Snake and parts of Siberia Bowl. They were blasting though and perhaps more opened later.

At 3:30 it is -1 C and snowing hard - nice for folks whose skis are still with them. Sniff, sniff.

The last time you will see Kodiak without moguls until next year?.

The alder amusement park formerly known as Boomerang.

Cedar Ridge - much sweeter than it looks here.

Lest you think everything is bush, this is the new lift line for the Bear replacement. Much of it is just a variation on Sun Up and a little farther down it is closed, hopefully just for now.

Sunnyside from the middle of Lizard Bowl

Mitchy Chutes - hmmm, I don't think so.


Shakey's Acres. I came down in the trees out of frame to the left and they were excellent.

The Hole that tried to EAT me. I took this after climbing out and didn't have a wide enough lens to capture it all. I came in well out of frame to the top and landed such that standing my head was still below where my feet are now. Exhilarating!!!

ARRRGH! My skis delicate inards laid bare by a treacherous rock creature lurking on the edge of Deep Sea.