January 10, 2001

Cruising and Waiting

Still no snow, although there were big flakes falling up on the hill this morning which prompted some waggish lifties to post a sign asking "What is this white stuff falling from the sky. I'm confused!". Unfortunately the forecast is only for flurries and this afternoon it is partially clear at the house, although a nice nasty cloud continues to hang around the top of the hill.

The grooming crew has again done a fine job with their limited materials and even down in the old rain zone there is little problem getting a nice cruise with no skittering about. I find the brownish snow and pebbles that can be found on some lower runs somewhat disconcerting, although it skis fine. There are of course still rocks about, but they can largely be avoided by judicious run selection.

Trips off of the groomed anywhere but up on White Pass result in quick punishment though. I tried a peek at Snake Ridge, but even as high as you could traverse without actually climbing, there was a breaking crust about 2 cm thick that certainly wasn't pleasant. Farther down it was frozen lumps and crud that quickly directed you back to the comfort of the groomed.

I checked out Siberia Bowl and the top part of Falling Star is great, if flat cruising. Unfortunately the situation gets kind of tacky down by and below the switch back and is a good spot to practice your rock slaloming skills. White Pass was once again White Out Pass for the first few hundred feet, which made the firm, but edgeable moguls rather interesting.

There was a group of ski journalists on the hill today and my first reaction was that the less than ideal conditions might generate some suitably crowd repelling bad press, but in fact the ones I spoke to seemed quite impressed with the hill and prepared to imagine what it must be like normally. In any event, I guess there isn't much market for downbeat ski articles, which probably rules that out as a potential career for me. :-)

From a couple of places I have heard of outlandish rumors that the hill might actually shut due to lack of snow. While I did not actually ask anyone at the hill about this (it would have been too embarrassing), I can't give this any credence at all. Sure things are a bit rough, particularly by Fernie standards, but the hill is certainly still quite skiable and short of a week of torrential rain or other major catastrophe, there is no conceivable reason why it would close. Who starts these things anyway?

Anaconda glades at the upper left in this shot from lower 123.

Looking up 123 from the same spot

Looking across Cedar Bowl at Cedar Ridge

Snake Main is still very bushy. There probably are some decent routes, but the breaking crust kind of discourages experimentation.

Lower North ridge with the dirt and pebbles common on some lower runs.