October 17, 2000

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors, but the Lift Goes On

Small towns are like petri dishes for rumors and a particularly active strain is raging through town at the moment. Stories of Charlie's financial woes have been circulating all summer, but they escalated to tales of bounced checks last week and then over the weekend the word was that the bank, or banks, or financial institutions or denizens of Area 51, had taken control of the finances of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. In some cases the word receivership is being used to describe the situation.

However when I inquired at the ski hill as to what the situation really was, they denied the rumors. Now one can imagine that the Fernie Ski Hill folks might not be completely in the loop with regards to Charlie's corporate financial machinations, but the person I talked with had spoken directly with the head of the RCR financial department and he categorically denied that the company was in receivership or even that anything particularly unusual was going on other than money is very tight.

Your call, but even assuming there is some basis to the rumors, I rather doubt (of course what do I know) that it would have any short term effect on those of us who just ski and vacation here. My understanding is that the Fernie ski hill is a cash cow that makes lots of money, so even if Charlie were in some sort of dire financial predicament, no creditor would want the hill to do anything but run smoothly this winter. It does make for great gossip though. :-)

One concern I have heard with regard to these rumors is that the construction of the new Bear Chair might be impacted in some way, but there certainly was no evidence of that out on the hill today. Work was continuing everywhere I looked. I hadn't been up to the top of the lift in a while and was pleasantly surprised to find the top station had progressed nicely and and the top couple of lift towers are even in place. The base station is also taking shape and tower one has also been installed. When I last heard the ski hill was talking about a mid December opening and I am sure that there must be tremendous pressure to have it operating for the Christmas season. Still their schedules have been know to, umm, slip, but hopefully not this time.

One thing I noticed for the first time is that the new diagonal path across China Wall actually extends across the gully to the flats at the top of Freeway, so there is finally an escape for intermediates lured into that wide open easy looking area.

It was a great fall day for a walk, although yesterdays rain and the construction traffic up the hill made it a bit muddy in places. There is some white way up high, but no snow yet in the ski area proper.

Anyone looking for a good deals on skis, boards and other sliding equipment, might want to check out the annual ski swap put on by the Fernie Alpine Ski Team. It is being held on November 4th and I have reproduced their poster (huge font warning) for those that want to check out the details.

The new steps and courtyard between the office and the Cornerstone. There is another set of steps behind me which leads down to the lower entrance to the day lodge. Gee, removing that icy slope will get rid of the most exciting part of the ski day. ;-)

The base station of the Bear Chair looks more real all the time and it now even sports the first lift tower.

The view up the lift new lift line from where it crosses the Tower Six road (the old T-Bar lift line crossing). The top couple of towers are visible as is a dusting of snow on Griz peak.

The new unloading area as taken from beside the gun tower.

Hang a hard right off of the top of the chair and catch the quick route into Cedar Bowl. Without snow it is not clear what the normal path to Cedar will be and I suspect that some more terrain modification may be required.

The bottom of the Face lift is in the left foreground with the new lift top station, top two towers and the patrol hut in the background. The middle sister looms above the patrol hut in the distance.

Tower 6 road (I wonder if the name will change now) cuts across the top of Sunny Side in the middle of this picture from up in Lizard somewhere.