December 17, 2002

A Tale of Two Hills

We have your basic bare, nasty, evil lower mountain and we have a rather snowy upper mountain with what looks like some rather nice early season skiing. Too bad there are so few ways to make use of the one without the other. It sounds like they are going to give it a try though. The current hot rumour is that the hill will open on Thursday with the White Pass chair. This will require uploading and downloading on the Timber Chair and of course they will probably run the Mighty and Mini Moose lifts as well so they can claim four lifts running. :-)

The bottom four or five hundred vertical metres of the ski hill is just a complete write off at this point and in fact I walked up one of the mountain bike runs beside Meadow and it was almost completely clear and certainly ridable. :-( Above the Bear's Den and below the bottom of White Pass, things change dramatically and up by Heartland it seemed quite wintery. Even the bottom of White Pass looked tempting enough that I was definitely envious of the patrollers and other lucky sorts that got to ride the chair today. I hear that the skiing at the top of White Pass is very good indeed.

Still I have serious reservations about how this single chair ski area is going to work out. While I can imagine that a delightful, if somewhat repetitious day could be had with one or two hundred folks sharing that chair and terrain, I wonder what will happen when a single fixed grip quad tries to service both holiday visitors and snow starved ski bums. One also has to be concerned about how well the snow will hold up. The lower parts of all the runs heading back to White Pass aren't known for their robustness in the early season even with normal loading.

I can see making a case for opening whatever they can to try and somehow accommodate those poor folks who are locked into trips and would otherwise end up twiddling their thumbs in the bar, but I hope they don't try and pretend that this very limited offering constitutes anything more than a technical opening of the mountain.

At 16:50 it is partially cloudy and 0 C at the house.

The bottom of the Timber Chair is typical of how sad the lower mountain situation is.

Looking up the Deer Chair.

Currie Bowl from the top of Meadow, just below the top of the Deer Chair.

The promised land - the White Pass Chair.

Lower Heartland.

Looking past the White Pass chair with Puff and the top of Timber in the background.