Jay's Report - December 22, 2003

It Was All Good, But What's With That Intersection?

The snow coverage continues to amaze me. King Fir, Steep and Deep, Liftline, Corner Pocket and even Sky Dive were all good. Perhaps a little crusty in parts; not the light fluffy stuff that I've grown accustomed to since the hill opened, but excellent nonetheless. In fact, a couple of cruisers were a welcome change. Nothing wrong with opening up and letting the skis ride a little. I skied with my son and his friend on the weekend. Felt like we logged miles of vertical, never having to wait in line. There were no lines. Temperatures were near perfect; 0 to minus 3C. It's a skier's euphoria. My legs are even starting to feel mid season tuned. There was stirring evidence of the Christmas craze starting to happen. Hotels are filling up, vacationers starting to walk 2nd Avenue in town and vehicles with foreign license plates are starting to populate the roads. Vacationers will surely enjoy what the locals have been indulging in since opening - the huge base of snow and mild winter conditions. It's all good. I hated leaving it Sunday night but I was scheduled to be out of Fernie for a few days.

At the base of the hill is a new intersection at highway 3. As I was leaving the hill Sunday night I followed behind a car with Saskatchewan plates. The Saskatchewan car approached the stop sign at the intersection of highway 3 and, apparently after noting that a left turn into the new merge lane is required to go into Fernie, did the natural maneuver by steering the car to the left lane of the intersection and stopped, leaving the right lane open. I stopped a few car lengths back on account that I suddenly had a flush, uneasy feeling. Just as the Saskatchewan car pulled into the left lane at the intersection another car coming from the direction of Cranbrook on highway 3 entered the turning lane on highway 3 with its left turning signal on, indicating an intention to turn into the left lane ski hill road now incorrectly occupied by the Saskatchewan car. At the same time, a tractor trailer was barreling down highway 3 toward the intersection at 80k/ph coming from the direction of Fernie and was about a few hundred yards from the intersection of highway 3 and the ski hill road. If all vehicles had just stayed put, everything would have been hunky dory. But, apparently panicked at the instant awareness that he was obstructing the lane of the car wanting to make a left turn onto the ski hill road, the Saskatchewan car suddenly accelerated across highway 3 in a mad attempt to get into the merge lane leading into Fernie. Just as I was covering my eyes and reaching for my cell phone to call 911, there must have been the divinely right combination of dry pavement for the Saskatchewan car to accelerate and the quick reflexes of the tractor trailer driver in hitting the binders to avoid a catastrophe. Now I'm no road and traffic engineer. Nor I'm accusing anyone of having a little too much of British Columbia's agricultural finest in designing that intersection. But is it just me or is there something wonky about that intersection?

Jay - jay@far.redtree.com

Deep Fir on Sunday

Hike up to Snake Ridge on Sunday

Steep and Deep on Sunday

Wipe out in Steep and Deep on Sunday