January 16, 2001
One day last week, Mike Delich, a local developer of things like Timberline Lodges, Polar Peak Lodges, the Karrin Lee-Gartner Snow Creek lodge and a bunch of other stuff, stopped me on the road and asked if I would like to attend a Master's Ski Camp. He explained this would entail three days of skiing with and coaching by Canadian National Team coach Max Gartner and Helmut Spiegl, who has coached with the Austrian, Canadian and Australian teams. Apparently they had a free spot and I was welcome to attend without charge. Normally I avoid such treats, but since Mike's places vie only with themselves at the pinnacle of quality and value and are coveted by all warm blooded mammals in the Western and other hemispheres, I didn't see how I could be accused of bias by just accepting his offer. Besides, everyone has his price. :-)
I must confess to some trepidation at submitting my aging body to the tender mercies of a couple of world class ski coaches from Austria, but Helmut and Max turned out to be great guys who understood that the Masters in the title referred to age, not ability. The men were skiing with Max, who not surprisingly proved to be both an excellent skier and teacher. Not only that, I actually survived the whole day.
The conditions were pretty much as they have been - pretty good groomed skiing with the odd scattering of pebbles etc. as long as you knew the places to avoid. Although we were mainly on the groomed, we did find some nice soft snow in upper Cedar and even on the side of Arrow. The weather was generally mixed sun and cloud, but it proved to be quite cool and somewhat foggy up on White Pass. White Pass is also showing the effects of its new found popularity and with the improving conditions on the old side, could no longer be said to necessarily have the best skiing. I also noticed that Deep Sea was once again closed after it's brief weekend opening.
Finally one last graft related plug, that I would probably mention even if
I weren't a bought man. I had not been in Snow Creek Lodge since it was finished
and was pleasantly surprised to find that Mike and Marvel of the old Fernie
Hotel fame have resurfaced here with a lunch/snack/coffee whatever bar. While
more upscale than the late lamented Griz Grind, it seemed to be a cozy alternative
for lunches or a beer after skiing. Certainly the soup I had for lunch was very
good. I had some reservations about mentioning it, for I don't think many folks
know about it yet, but hopefully enough will discover it to keep Mike and Marvel
happy, but not so many that I will never get in again. :-)