January 18, 2001

Ski Camp Wrap-up

Today was the third and final day of the ski camp I mentioned in the last report and was the only time we spent running any gates. While Helmut and Max have both coached racers to the Olympic podium, I am afraid even they had no hope of turning me into anything remotely resembling a racer. Nonetheless you could certainly tell you were dealing not only with excellent skiers, but more importantly with brilliant technical analysts and superb teachers. While style and grace may be out of the question for me, I did come away with a new trick or two to mull over that I hope may in the course of time seep down to my old dog bones.

In talking afterwards with the marketing person for Fernie Vacation Properties, the organizer of the camp, I discovered that they had had a lot of difficulty marketing what they hope to be an annual event. This was of course great for myself and some other locals who got a chance to flesh out the course, but it rather surprised me. Perhaps they just didn't get the word out or perhaps the $500 price was an obstacle. It certainly isn't cheap, but given that there were over a dozen hours of coaching by world class experts and given the price of normal ski lessons, it doesn't seem particularly out of line. Indeed just getting to listen to some of their stories would have been worth something extra. I suspect many folks simply would not even have considered it just because of the intimidation factor. I know I probably wouldn't have and was rather nervous about what to expect, but Helmut and Max were very adept at putting everyone at ease and structuring the event for mortal abilities. In any event it turned out to be a remarkable and memorable piece of luck for me.

All of that blathering helps cover up the fact I really don't have much new to say about the conditions. They are much as they have been with some very good groomed runs, but also all too many with pebbles and rocks. The off piste skiing seems to continue to improve with little bits of blown in snow providing some soft, if shallow turns in places.

There are reports of a bit of snow coming our way tomorrow, followed by not much on Saturday and then a snowier pattern developing on Sunday. It sounds like there might be hope for some normal Fernie winter weather after all.

Flat light, no flash, zoom and speed do not contribute to fine picture taking, but I did manage to get a fuzzy shot of Linda running the gates. Linda is the wife of the former owner of the ski hill and for those who ever wondered where Linda's run got its name ...

The skier's right of lower Heartland.

I don't even know what this is called, but it is the main shot down the center of Currie between the parts of Currie Powder where it loops over to 123 and back. It is actually skiable, but the steep lower section requires some planning.