February 06, 2000

Cardboard and Crud

With no new snow and crisp temperatures this morning, our family showed remarkably little enthusiasm for an early start to skiing. We did finally get out after lunch and in time to check out the Cardboard Derby. This features folks sliding down the half pipe in vehicles they have assembled using only cardboard, tape, glue and such things. The entries are judged by appearance and apparently by how close they can come to stopping in the middle of a large bulls eye at the bottom of the run.

This event has gone on for a few years now, but this is the first time I have actually managed to witness one. It should not be confused with Fernie's infamous Dummy Downhill, where various outrageous unmanned contraptions hurtle down the hill and over a huge jump to what is usually spectacular destruction. The use of live participants in the Cardboard Derby means lower speeds and less carnage, but it was still entertaining. The number of spectators was much smaller than for a Dummy Downhill and it seemed that a high proportion of those were locals. When I remarked on this, a friend replied that was because the tourists probably thought the skiing was good. :-)

This mildly facetious remark was both indicative of the skiing conditions and what a spoiled bunch we are. On any objective standard the skiing was probably pretty good, at least if you kept out of the off trail crud, but for the seriously jaded it is just something to slide around on until the next dump.

There were some scrapped slick spots appearing on high traffic areas like North Ridge and Kodiak, but somewhat less traveled spots like Cedar Ridge, Sunnyside and Diamond Back etc., had firm but easy carving snow and of course lots of moguls. The groomers were firm and quite fast.

Our casual afternoon wanderings did not include serious crud traps like Snake or the Concussion Chutes, but we still encountered enough to let us know it was still ugly out there and we heard numerous reports of less than pleasant forays into those regions. I guess it is time to sacrifice a virgin pitcher of beer or two to the snow gods unless I plan to develop and sudden affection for the bumps. :-(

Despire all this moaning, even my normally very picky son had to admit that it was a lot better skiing than staying home. While this does suggest he has mellowed a bit, since it wasn't so long ago he would refuse to ski if he could hear his skis on the snow, it also shows the conditions were still more than good enough to have an enjoyable day.

At twenty to eight this evening, it has risen to -4 C out on the porch and I can only spot one lonely star from out there.

Jeep Thrills was the class act of the cardboard derby. For more pictures click here.

My son works his way through the moguls on Diamond Back

and then stops at the top of the steep section to wait for his sister. As you can see there are a few additional hazards to avoid in this section.

Lower North Ridge, just below the top of Haul Back. While there was quite a bit of loose snow, there were significant slick scraped areas too.

However Sunnyside, at least where we came down, craved easily despite the compacted snow.