January 30, 2000

White Fish Road Trip

We took off right after skiing on Saturday (hence no report) for White Fish in Montana and the Big Mountain ski resort. Although in good weather it is less than a two hour drive down there, we really hate to get up early and thus decided to be decadent and spend the night down there so we could sleep in and still get a full day of skiing.

We had not been to Big Mountain in about fifteen years and of course a lot has changed in that time. One thing that hasn't changed is its reputation for foggy weather, but we lucked out today and while the odd fog band rolled through, it was generally sunny and gorgeous. I had also heard the opinion that the hill was pretty tame, which somewhat corresponded with my fuzzy memory of the place, but there are several new areas available and some pitches that certainly can get the juices flowing. In fact I came away quite impressed and eager to return and explore some more. With lots of nooks and crannies and other fiddly bits, as well as lots of trees, it is a hill I think I could be quite fond of.

The conditions were similar to what we have in Fernie, but with a lot more loose and even powder snow. In general the off trail areas did not seem as skied, even though I think they have had similar recent snowfalls, or lack there of, that we have. Perhaps they have fewer resident ski bums or may be just more tucked away spots.

Conditions at Fernie on Saturday were similar to what I have been reporting recently, but the weekend crowds were taking their toll. The crowds seemed larger than usual too, with some significant line ups at times, although they died off over an extended lunch period.

At 11:00 PM it is -14 C and the stars that were visible earlier seem to have disappeared.

The view from the top of Big Mountain looking down one of its easy blue runs.

Sun on the clouds from beside the Summit house.

An easy part of East rim. :-)

How could I resist more snow ghosts and sun on clouds.

Looking up the front side from the bottom.

The Picture Chutes in Hellroaring Basin from the very long Highway to Heaven traverse.

Saturday at Fernie - bizzzzzy.