March 14, 2001

A Soothing Salve

I have to thank my friend Bernie for getting me up on the ski hill reasonably early today. To say that is not my custom would be something of an understatement and while a salvo of blasts on the hill can sometimes get me fired up, the couple of millimeters of frozen gruel in the driveway this morning acted as an effective antidote. However Bernie, in his guise as one of Fernie's ski hosts, was going to show a writer from Travelocity Magazine around the hill and had invited me to tag along.

As I trudged up the hill to meet them, I had absolutely no idea what we would find up top. The hill was reporting 5 cm of snow in the last 24 hours, but some of that would have fallen yesterday and the temperature had dropped suggesting hard and crunchy. Fortunately that was not the case and instead we were greeted with perhaps ankle deep (I have short ankles) quite pleasant snow. In a normal year this would have been unspectacular and undoubtedly greeted with some moaning about hard mogul tops and the hard/soft transitions that encouraged impromptu tip inspections. This is far from a normal year though and even Jordan, the writer, seemed to enjoy the slim new offerings.

Hazards continued to abound and were sometimes only thinly disguised by the new snow. However the improvement over what has recently been available was amazing given how little snow actually fell. We had pretty sweet (normal for this year disclaimer, blah, blah) runs in Cedar and Easter bowls as well as on Milky Way and the 123s. The hard stuff was never too far away, but with a little imagination you could just about pretend it wasn't there. One ominous note was that on our last run down, which was a little after noon, the moguls down low and on the skiers left of Gilmar's had acquired a mashed potato consistency. Still vastly preferable to ice in my humble opinion, but a reminder that this is definitely spring.

This little white Band-Aid will probably only be able to add a day or two to the season's shaky life expectancy, but every little bit helps and a few more days like this and a few fewer solar bake downs might just let it stumble through until the end of the month. The optimists in the crowd are still pulling for a regular Fernie dump or two in the meter range and I suppose that is still certainly possible. However after telling myself and others that all season, my faith in miracles is running pretty low. I would now just settle for a reasonable supply of Band-Aids.

At 3:30 it is 2 C and mainly cloudy at the house.

The sometimes soft delights of Cruiser await.

Looking back towards the gun tower from the same location.

Bernie waits at the side of Easter Bowl,

while Jordon stirs it up in the middle

Milky Way may not have been quite cream, but compared to what I expected, it went down pretty smoothly.