Bernie's Report - February 18, 2003

Snow Go!... Lifts No!

Finally we got some good snow but unfortunately the lift nightmare continues for FAR and it's guests. At 8:30 am. things were shaping up for a busy day. Locals came out of the woodwork to experience the first good dump of the year and a multitude of guests were on the hill raring to go. FAR seems to have the lift problems in hand and reported that only the Bear Express was not yet running but it would be by noon. There were still some closure in effect due to potential avalanche danger but with clear skies, the expectation was that these areas would soon open. However, Lady Luck had a different plan!

The enthusiasm of the morning crowd quickly turned to frustration. The White Pass Chair was not running due to incomplete avalanche control and with the Bear Chair down, everyone headed for the Boom Chair. This resulted in line ups in excess of 45 minutes. I was skiing with a group of Aussis. We abandoned the line up at the Boom Chair and skied out to the Elk Chair hoping to get one more run in by noon. Unfortunately 2 minutes into the Elk Chair ride, the chair stopped. 30 minutes later we limp up the hill on backup power. The Bear Chair had managed to run briefly but by noon all chairs on the Old Side were non-functional.

Afternoon was much better. The crowds thinned out (I wonder why?) and we skied the White Pass. The queues at the White Pass were large, by Fernie standards, but sunshine, good company and great snow made it all worthwhile. Speaking of snow . . . What a difference 68 centimetres in 48 hours can make! Even though the snow was not champagne powder it was very pleasant skiing. You certainly felt some resistance in the knee deep stuff but with the crowd on the hill there wasnt much untracked stuff to find. Primarily we skied the chopped powder. It was a great feeling to have a platform of snow beneath the skis and not have to rely so much on the edges.

The Elk, Bear and Boom Chairs stayed still for the rest of the day and at 3pm the White Pass Chair hiccupped, by 3:30 the White Pass Chair called it quits! FAR is reporting major problems with their high voltage power feed. Hopefully this problem will be rectified by morning. There's still some great snow out there to chop up.

Bernie -

Heading up the Elk in the morning sunshine

Looking up into Lizard Bowl

China Wall

The White Pass Queue, mid-afternoon

Shakey's Acres