December 07, 2001

Pretty Good? I'll Say!

"It's pretty good". That was the assessment of my wife when she returned from her morning ski. Our daughter was home ill and Chris had drawn the first shift on the mountain, so I had expected a better attempt at rubbing in the fact that I was left with the afternoon leftovers. This tepid endorsement was so at odds with yesterday's (staff only day) rave reviews, that I assumed things must have degenerated significantly overnight. Well if it did, yesterday must have been truly epic for after getting my turn on the slopes I can only conclude that either Chris is one tough audience or I am losing my biting ways.

When I first arrived, big chunks of the hill, including Currie and Easter Bowl as well as Siberia Ridge and upper Cedar Bowl, were still closed for avalanche control work. What was open was well used, but the chopped powder and even the packed moguls were still pretty sweet. It was very windy at times, but I found even the new wind pack to give a nice creamy ride - Sunnyside was a very nice example.

Coverage on the old side was very good and while early season alder dodging was common off the main runs, it was nice to see that rock skis are once again an abstract concept at Fernie. I skied in a number of places that I don't think I ever managed last year, including parts of China Wall, the KC Chutes (courtesy of some summer alder whacking) and even Kangaroo, which for once was very nice. The only exception appeared to be the lower part of Timber Bowl, which looked to have an abundance of nasties lurking about. However my only trip there was a transit down Puff to the White Pass chair and that was just fine.

Afternoon shift turned out not to be such a bad deal after all. Most of what had been closed opened and I was fortunate to be at the top of White Pass when the Currie rope dropped. I waited for the frenetic herd to disperse before heading in, but still found lots of fresh lines to cut. Untracked out in the open tended to be rather dense, only allowing you to sink in about boot deep, but the ride was still smooth and nice. In the shelter of the trees though, there were still spots of mid thigh silk, presumably relics of that staff day euphoria.

No new snow today so far. At 5:30 it is cloudy and 0 C at the house, hmmm.

The good stuff in the Currie trees. This was going beyond the call of duty though, for moments later, not one but two folks poached my tracks. I did find lots of my own, but camera work moved down a notch in my priorities. ;-)

Boomerang Ridge still has some twig problems on the skiers right, but those won't last long if last weeks weather persists.

Cedar Ridge still had early season alders as well, but fewer than on many opening days and not enough to hinder pleasant skiing.

The KC chutes and Snake Ridge are still pretty alder challenged, but there are routes for those not too adversed to the occasional alder flossing.

A more close up and intimate look at Snake.

Sunny side was in pretty good early season shape - i.e. better than all last year.

Puff still has bits of debris sticking out, but avoiding them was easy in the excellent snow.

Even the gully at Currie looked pretty navigable, but I would soon learn that the creek wasn't quite filled in yet. Some manic leaping and thrashing kept me from actually falling into the gapping holes, but more newbie ski bums need to be fed in here to plug things up. ;-)