April 24, 2000

It's Dead Jim

Another season is done and the usual end of skiing blues have set in and await expulsion by bikes, canoes and what not. The last couple of days were quite decent in my opinion, but while I think most people would agree yesterday was pretty good, that was far from the common view today. We were warned of gruesome conditions by a number of people before we went up and indeed my group abandoned me for Kelsey's after a mere nibble. My sense of sanity was restored when another acquaintance skied by and exclaimed "Isn't it a fantastic day?".

That might have been going a bit far, but the couple of centimeters of sticky heavy snow that coated most of the mountain did agree with me and at least a few (very few) other skiers. Of course it would have been a pretty miserable day for the middle of January, but for April 24th it was good enough for me.

So how did the season stack up? I guess mediocre would be my over all opinion. It certainly did not shine in the snow fall department and the hill base only briefly crept above the 3 meter mark. Last year it was pushing 5. The first couple of weeks of January were vaguely reminiscent of that awesome January in 1990, but back then we received about 3 m of snow in a couple of weeks and were just wallowing around. This January's snow fest was much more modest and while very nice indeed, not epic. Indeed it has been a while since I have experienced one of those legendary Fernie days. The last one that really sticks out in my rather porous memory was back on January 24, 1997. There may have been others since that I forget, but none this year.

On the plus side, there were no really cold spells and virtually every day was skiable. I have never counted my days before, but courtesy of the electronic ticket checking gizmos I know I was out more than a 100 days this year and I suspect that is more than in previous years. It was personally a good year for me as my skiing seemed to improve noticeably and for an old fart like me that is worth celebrating. On the other hand perhaps I am just slower and more cautious. :-) In any event, I at least had a really good year even if Griz was a bit stingy.

I will be posting the occasional report over the summer on what is happening on the hill and the current plan is to continue the reports next year, although probably at a reduced frequency and with fewer pictures. Time will tell though.

The end was clearly near at the base, but the framing of this picture probably makes it seem worse than it was.

Up in Cedar Bowl there was a little new snow, albeit not exactly light and fluffy. This is looking towards Cedar Ridge from Cruiser.

Griz Peak looms over Cedar Bowl in this winter like shot from lower Cedar Main.

Despite the decidedly different weather, all of these pictures were shot in a space of less than two hours. The gully in lower Currie has clearly seen better days, but it still proved quite skiable as long as you were sharp eyed.

Might as well end the season with a bang! I didn't catch what exactly he hit, but this fellow allowed as he was going 'quite fast' when he hit it and had a rather dramatic double release and ski demolition incident. I'll bet. :-) While his bandit Xs are close brothers to my beloved new skis, I suspect I rarely attain the velocities necessary for this and if I did, it probably wouldn't only be the skis that ended up in a big baggie.