Heinz's Report - January 16, 2003

Good Friends�Good Turns�Good Cheer

Today was Men�s Day at the ski hill. This is a motley (my words) collection of 50�s something locals who get together every week for a ski and a drink in the bar after. The operative word here is Bar. Since this is my first full time ski season at the hill, I just had to join this group! I easily qualify for the age limit�.

There wasn�t any new snow overnight and none since Tuesday so the brain trust of the group decided to go out and find where the best snow was hiding. We headed out on Bear first to get warmed up though. Other than the work underway for the Free Style World Cup on the run (see below) the snow was acceptable � a bit hard, but still lots of gripping available. Then it was off to Easter Bowl where it was skied out but the snow was still soft enough to make good turns on. If you looked really hard behind the alders and some of the trees you could still find fresh snow stash, but it was rare indeed.

Next we took on Snake Ridge. I tried to convince the group to head out to the end of the ridge to Redtree and Steep & Deep, but since I was the official rookie of the group, they ignored me and decided to drop directly into Snake Main. Since I had promised myself to look at this anyway (see yesterday�s report) I didn�t complain too much. And it�s always good style to bow to the superior knowledge of your �elders�. Take it from me, Snake Main, while acceptable if you remember to take the skier�s right out into lower Cruiser, is nowhere near as good as Redtree and Steep & Deep. I made sure that I didn�t tell my group that lest I be ostracized for the rest of the year. Also KC Chutes is a definite Not Recommended � no room between the alders and definitely slice and dice material.

We skied Sunnyside, which like Bear Chutes, has been remarkably good in this year of low snow, because of the alder control by Wally and the hill crew over the summer. This popular line down from the top of Boom chair to Bear Express will become more popular now. The snow here was still good with medium sized bumps, and soft on the backsides. The opened-up slope easily accommodated the dozen or so of us all trying to get down first � visualize a free for all. We took a final run on the extreme skier�s right of Dancer which was also still good and reasonably soft. Then it was off to the Bar! It was a good day for us all - except when my daughter came by and gave us old farts the raspberry. The consensus of the group was that the ski conditions were really quite all right. The fact that we, as a group of friends, were having a good time just hanging out together, also was a major contributor to the good times.

The preparations for the Freestyle World Cup are now well underway. The Bumps are on Bear and because of the topography of the run, they had to take it all the way from the left of the run and then down the relatively new line towards the right of the Bear�s Den. This pretty well cuts off most of the run and should make it interesting when the weekend crowds descend on us. The Aerials are over on Silver Fox and the crews were busy preparing the landing and bringing in snow to build the jumps. The finals are next Sunday, January 26 which just happens to be Aussie day here at the resort. I hear that the Australian National Team will be here and they have a good chance at winning. If they do win on Sunday, Fernie will never be the same!

At 8:30 pm it�s partly cloudy, -5 degrees Celcius. Were supposed to get some light stuff tonight, but I�m not too hopeful.

Reporter�s Note: The emails I�ve been getting since my first report yesterday have been very encouraging to me. I am truly amazed at the wide impact Craig�s site has around the world and how much people have been counting on his reports. I can only hope that I can continue to satisfy you all and keep up the obviously excellent standard that Craig has achieved in the past eight years.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Who was that masked man?

Easter Bowl � skied out but still some good spots to be had

Sunnyside � plenty of good lines now with the alders under control. Thanks Wally!

The beginnings of the Bump Run for the World Cup on Bear

Deer Chair with Stag Leap, Sky Dive and Decline in the background

The Aerials for the World Cup on Silver Fox. So that�s where the groomers have been hiding!