Jay's Report - December 29, 2003

We are Spoiled Here in the Off Piste Capital of the Kootenays

The ski conditions here since the last report have been hard to believe. Even when there was evidence of a possible oncoming of a, so called, "hard pack" day, it snowed enough for the next day to offer knee top freshies. Every run invited seconds and thirds down the same route. There was no need to boot pack or traverse to outside areas. There was plenty of soft snow right in your face on runs like Liftline, Puff and Big Bang. But if you wanted to venture a little to runs like Stag Leap, Skydive or Redtree you were deeply rewarded. Today the sun broke out, luring all those off-piste dreamers dying to partake in the vertical boot pack to Polar Peak. It was quite a Klondike trail spectacle later in the day. Fernie becomes an off-piste paradise that is second to none when the sun breaks out after successive days of snow like we've had. Runs like Wimpshoots and Chimney "open" after careful surveillance by ski patrol. Don't look for these runs on the trail map. You won't find them. When you are at the top of White Pass Chair and the top of Bear Chair, look up. Way up. Imagine lines as steep as elevator shafts. Although these runs should be attempted by only those who can endure more than a shoulder injury if a mistake is made, they are there for the taking. And that makes all the difference in culturing Fernie's mystique as the off-piste capital of the Kootenays.

I've been anticipating lengthy crowds for a few days now. Not that I'm disappointed, but the line ups are much, much less than I expected. Today there were reportedly some 5,000 skier/boarders on the hill. Perhaps the restaurants were busy because there certainly didn't seem to be that many on the hill. Though, I did witness some evidence of European content in the line up. The dead give away was a European chap who aggressively skied over my tips to get in the chair line ahead of me and my seven year old daughter. If any Europeans are reading this, we don't do that here.

At 11:00 pm its 17C below.

Jay - jay@far.redtree.com

Dave and Evonne - Tandem First Tracks on Skydive

Dave Air Born on Skydive

Polar Peak Opens to Boot Packers