July 15, 2000

Asphalt Flows, Trees Tremble

It was a good week to be a suburbanite as the long awaited paving of the Highline subdivision promised relief to its dusty denizens as well as symbolizing at least the beginning of the end of the worst of their construction frenzy. Our coniferous buddies on the hill were having a more nervous time though as various clearing operations have been going on.

To be fair, the tree slaying efforts are fairly modest and restrained and make sense in terms of skier flow and safety. I even have to concede the neutering of China Wall, complete with drilling and blasting, makes sense given that the new high speed chair is going to deliver a lot more folks to the top of Lizard Bowl, including a lot that probably wouldn't have attempted the old T-Bar. The already crowded Bear and Ballet runs certainly will need some relief, but China Wall was one of my favorite ways to get a couple of extra interesting turns before consigning my self to the long and not so winding road down. I fear it will be missed.

Of course all of these changes are needed because of the dramatic increase in visitors that has occurred and is anticipated. Now if more of you guys would just take up bowling ... ;-)

(He comments whiningly while writing reports that might well, albeit in a small way, encourage more folks to come. The hypocrisy runs strong in this one Yoda)

(As I wrote that a chilling image came to me, of myself before the Powdery Gates being interrogated by Saint Pat ... insert name of local of choice ... <g>)

Whoops! Incoherent digression alert - we now return to our report.

Actually most of the news is contained in the picture captions. There is also some beautification work going on around the base area, including what looks like will be a major face lift for the Tamarack and a large set of concrete stairs going down between the corners of the day lodge and the Cornerstone. The West Fernie bridge continues to be an obstacle, but traffic is now going over the new bridge and the delays at least seem to be shortening.

Did I mention there were a lot of people on the hill? :-)

The asphalt arrives for the Highline subdivision, much to the relief of our dusty neighbors. When I went by later they were even paving the old tennis courts. Does this mean they are coming back - or just paved parking? Hmmm.

Boom Ridge was sporting 10 to 20 cm of fresh grass with a sprinkling of daisies. :-) There was no evidence of anything new happening over here, except for some new mountain bike trails.

This is where the bottom of the new (Bear?) chair will be. I took the shot while standing in the middle of Lizard Trail just below the dam, which is in turn a little below where Lizard Trail and Dipsy meet. A section of trees between Elk and Power Trip has been removed to provide access to the lift from the North side.

Alas poor China Wall, I knew ye well. A notice was delivered to our door warning of two weeks of drilling and blasting as China Wall is civilized to handle the hordes of intermediates expected to ride the new high speed quad. For a lot of local kids, including mine, I suspect this was their first 'black' run. Sigh...

The gap between Silver Fox and the Timber Quad is being opened up, presumably to permit better traffic flow from the old side to the new side.

Silver Fox has been widened on the lift side of the run, and there are at least a couple of cat track openings through what is left. However I don't know if those will remain like that, or are simply the precursors to more clearing.