January 13, 2001

Slightly Improved

It was snowing lightly as we headed up to the hill today and flakes continued to fall on and off all day. It didn't amount to more than a trace on the ground, but the effort was at least appreciated. Perhaps it set the mood for what seemed to be a better day than when I was last out on Thursday. There were still rocks and gravel in all the normal places, but we found some genuinely fine skiing as well.

Once again the best was off of White Pass and up there even the off piste stuff was pretty good - actually better in my opinion than the big bumps on the mogul runs. The snow quality in Currie remained very good right down past Trespass Trail, but off trail you had to keep your eyes open lest you find yourself in a rather interesting position. Gilmar's Trail has been pretty gruesome for a while now and I hear it still is, but with some judicious route selection we were even able to get out of the bottom of Currie with only modest rock dodging.

Things are not so rosy over on the old side, for the off trail stuff becomes frozen and lumpy not far below the top. The groomed runs were firm but generally carved well. Lower down things like Wallaby and friends still have a good assortment of loose rocks and gravel to provide additional entertainment.

I have been getting asked by folks with upcoming holidays whether it is still worth the trip. It is a bit tough to answer since conditions are obviously far from ideal, but I think I would generally say yes. The reasoning is that if it begins to snow in the normal Fernie mode, the skiing could become excellent almost immediately. There would still be some terrain limited by bush etc., but there would be lots of really good skiing.

Of course if the snow doesn't come, then the visitors would probably be disappointed, but the situation wouldn't be any worse than arriving after we had been hit by one of our top to bottom rain then freeze events. Most skiing would be limited to the groomed runs and while the rocks and gravel are an unusual and unwelcome addition, there is some compensation in that there is also some pretty nice snow. So in the long run the key thing is what the weather ends up doing immediately before and during your vacation and that I don't think anyone can predict that.

I brought my rock skis home to fill the major divots and realized it was the first time I had lit a candle of P-Tex in my eleven seasons here. I was also surprised that notwithstanding a couple of nasty core shots, the ski bases may have had less damage than I what I recall inflicting on my skis almost daily back when I was skiing in the real world. Perspective in all things I guess.

I am clearly in a good mood and being a little upbeat. ;-) So for those who think I am normally too negative and that things are just wonderful out there, I stick by my view that the current conditions suck by Fernie standards. For instance have a look at my report from Jan 13th last year. It's title: 'Surely this must be Illegal'. Sigh.

Hosmer mountain floats in the light and clouds behind Sunnyside.

The trees beside Cruiser were skiable, but not really friendly.

The Currie side of White Pass with the gun tower at the upper right.

The top of White Pass again, this time from the center of Currie. This is the part of the hill that has some legitimately fine skiing.

The snow was good, but one still did have to watch the terrain lest one incur a scratch or two. My 13 year old, who was skiing separately, informs my an extra gouge or two were inflicted on his skis by inappropriate course navigation through this particular stretch.