Heinz's Report - February 07, 2003

Firm, Fast and Flat

I haven�t been on the boards for a week now because I had to tend to clogged water pipes. I decided to head out around noon today to see what I�ve been missing...or not.

There hasn�t been any appreciable new snow for the past week and things were looking a bit desperate as far as finding any freshies. There was no sun today to warm the frozen crust off the groomed trails and hence there were signs all over the mountain about staying on the groomed. Even Cedar Ridge was closed due to ice Warnings. Since I didn�t see a soul off in the trees, I decided to heed the warnings and made a complete circuit of all of the five bowls, picking a groomed run in each.

In each bowl, the conditions were uniformly hard pack, with some light granular fluff between the scraped, hard, at times icy parts. This was just like back home in the east! Stay focused to pick your turns, careful edge control, file your edges in the evening stuff. The best snow was on Currie Powder, but only the top half. The run-out on Gilmar�s Trail was the usual for this season: much scraped and some bare spots. I tried to go skier�s left over the lower part of Concussion Chutes to avoid the mess on Gilmar�s, but the snow was very crusty and bumpy and too much for these old knees. Better to take your chances on the boilerplate. I even went up to the top of the Face Lift in the hope the snow there might be a bit softer. It was, but there was a tricky little rain crust on the top that took all the fun out.

Oh well, I gave it a good try. Without the great expansive off-trail of Fernie at your disposal, which usually provides excitement and discovery of new places and turns, this day was definitely turning into the blahs. I decided to head back home and get on with other things, such as working on my edges. The good thing, I guess, was that I got a couple of hours of fresh air. As well, the snowpack continues to climb. We�re now just under 200 cm. Check also the Morrissey Ridge pillow data at http://srmwww.gov.bc.ca/aib/wat/rfc/river_forecast/graphs/spd2c09q.html. This confirms the observation that there is good snowcover this year � at the top of the mountain at least.

In answer to my question last week about the longest chairlift in North America I got several emails and the winner is the "Slide Brook Express" at Sugarbush VT. at 11,000 ft! However, this is a �sideways� lift moving people between two adjacent ski resorts, so technically it may not be considered an uphill lift? However, the Burfield Chair at Sun Peaks is 9,300 feet long and covers 2,891 vertical feet. Now that�s a mighty long and high lift! Looks like the Timber Chair is either in third or second place depending on how you want to read it. Many thanks to those of you who emailed me back on this question.

At 5:00 pm it�s minus 5 Celcius outside our back door, still overcast and no new snow in the foreseeable future.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Cedar Bowl. Snake Ridge in the background right.

Resorts of the Rockies Lift Attendant Hut (Version 2003) at the top of the Face Lift. The Griz has left the building!

Mandatory Artsy shot? Mt Fernie in the background.

Top of the Face Lift. Looks tempting, but don�t be fooled.

Lizard Bowl. Easter Bowl background left, The Saddles - center and center right.

Top of Bear Express and looking up the Elk Valley. The City of Fernie in the center.