Heinz's Report - January 26, 2003

The Good, Bad and the Ugly

The first World Cup weekend at Fernie is now officially over � except in the bars where Aussie day continues unabated. Results can found at: http://www.fernie.com/world_freestyle/dual_moguls.html. I decided to make this is a combined weekend report as I have pictures from both the mogul event on Saturday and the aerials on Sunday.

Saturday was a relatively mild day. There wasn�t any real new snow since the 10-15 cm on Thursday. I decided to head out and see how conditions were holding up considering the large crowd of people in town for the World Cup Freestyle finals this weekend. The skiing was still quite good but definitely spring-like at the lower levels because of the warm temperatures. On the top of the mountain the snow was firmer and you could still find some fresh powder in a few places. It definitely looked very wintry. There was a good crowd at the mogul site on Bear which left the rest of the mountain looking much like mid-week during the afternoon. The weather reports for the weekend were all over the map, probably due to the fact that the line between the solid cold in the east over the Rocky Mountains and the warm in the west from the Pacific was moving around quite a bit on Friday and Saturday. At certain points you could notice dramatic temperature changes in a single run down the mountain. Everybody kept their fingers crossed as they went to sleep on Saturday night.

I awoke Sunday morning to the depressing sound of pouring rain on the window. It was plus 8 Celcius and the rain was coming down in buckets! Our luck had run out and the Hawaiian Pineapple had descended on Fernie. I decided to wait until the afternoon before heading out to see the aerial finals on Silver Fox. The bottom of the mountain was looking a sorry sight indeed. Water was everywhere and resort crews were desperately digging trenches trying to move the water off the mountain. I heard that the rain line was up to 7,000 ft, well over the top of White Pass. Surprisingly, the top of the mountain was still looking respectable and skiing, while soft and spring conditions was fine. It looked like there might have even been some new snow up there earlier in the night, but it was now transformed into a solid blanket of heavy mash in the areas that hadn�t been touched by the valiant (or desperate) skiers who ventured out today.

I was surprised to see the number of people at the aerial site. The competitions were still going on � regardless of the continuing downpour. It�s a testament to the organizers, the ski resort, the competitors and the public to see how all have coped with the bad weather and made a real go of it. My hat�s off to the competitors, though. The in-run to the jumps were filled with standing water, and even though they tried to scoop the water off between jumps, it must have wreaked havoc with their speed, timing and control.

What a crazy week this has been! Minus 20 on Wednesday, glorious powder on Thursday and unbelievable rain on Sunday! Griz, what are you doing to us? What did we do to get you so mad that now you�re playing with us so?

At 6:00 pm it�s plus 5 and still raining.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

White Pass Trees on Saturday.

The World Cup mogul finals on Saturday.

The women Mogul competitors taking some air.

More mogul competitors on Saturday.

White Pass trees 24 hours later, after the rain hit.

The underpass on Holo Hike. Brings a whole new meaning to over the boot skiing.

Holo Hike just before the Elk Chair. Water running downhill faster than the skiers.

The Elk on Sunday afternoon. The bottom of the mountain didn�t have a chance.

The World Cup aerial finals on Sunday. Quite a crowd despite the awful weather.

Look up. Look WAY up. Look WAAY WAAY up!