Heinz's Report - January 22, 2003

So�How Cold Was It???

It was so cold you could get frost bite going up the Timber Chair!

When I headed out this morning it was minus 15 degrees Celcius on our back porch. Most of the locals have refused to go out this week after the past weekend�s cold and harsh winds. Plus, we haven�t had any snow for well over a week - so why bother! I had to suck it up and head out and get this report in. After all of your supportive emails telling me how much you valued these reports to help plan your weekends, I felt a mighty weight of responsibility on my shoulders! It didn�t help that nobody wanted to join me :(

The Bad News I don�t know what was worse � the unbelievable cold or the unbelievable hard snow conditions. This sure reminds me of skiing out east! Where the groomers had gone it was somewhat passable and the edges managed to grip a bit. However, you couldn�t get going too fast as the cold wind would really bite. Off the groomed stuff it was like skiing on an icy windblown glacier! The bumps were so skied in and hardened by the weather, it was like riding in an old car on a back country road without springs. My eyeballs were bouncing around so much, I couldn�t see a thing.

The top of the mountain still has some loose stuff and the groomers were able to mix it up a bit. But down on the bottom where the snow thickness is much less, the futile attempts to loosen up the boilerplate (an eastern term I thought I would never have to use in Fernie) would only bring up all the dirt and rocks. I headed over to Boomerang as it was somewhat soft on Monday from blown-in snow, but even there it was now hard and very smooth. I definitely have to get a helmet � I heard that someone actually slid on their back from the top to the bottom the other day.

This incredible hard stuff must be making things difficult for everybody. I heard that one of cables that the groomers use to winch themselves down the steep parts snapped (probably because of the cold). I hate to think what could have happened to the loose machine if this was further down the mountain where it gets really slick. I also went over to the mogul and aerial sites for the World Cup. The bumps looked really hard and I could hear cussing in at least five different languages. At the aerial site, the landing had lots of death cookies, but the organizers assured me that it was soft underneath. Right�.

The Good News When I headed home the temperature had risen to a balmy minus 12 degrees. It was starting to snow, but only that little stuff, that we seem to be getting all this year, with no real Fernie �puke� that we�ve become accustomed to. They say we�re supposed to be getting 10 to 15 cm tonight and then some more major stuff over the weekend. Ok Griz, time to let �er rip!

At 5:30 pm it�s still minus 12 degrees and snowing lightly outside our house.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Currie Bowl. Polar Peak on the left. The top of the mountain actually has some good coverage.

Heartland on the way down to White Pass Chair. Again, not bad coverage and actually groomed for a change.

Currie Powder. Looks pretty good eh? My camera is objecting to being taken out into the cold?

White Pass. Highline on the left. The white stuff on the trees is frost, not the fluffy white kind.

Lower Gilmar�s trail in Currie Bowl. The grooming crew is between a rock and hard place. This is what happens when you groom 2 inches of snow cover.

The preparations continue at the aerial site on Silver Fox

The aerial landing area. This will be interesting to see.

The bump run on Bear. The competitors have to deal with the hard conditions as well!

Training on the bump run. Oh oh, this landing is going to hurt!