Bernie's Report - January 01, 2004

Nine to Noon on New Year's Day

Some of our celebratory group at a New Year Eve bash, made a pledge to meet and ski at 9 this morning. To my great surprise, everyone showed up on time! There�s nothing like falling snow and an elevated RCMP presence on New Years Eve to help reduce the alcohol consumption and associated withdrawal symptoms. Anticipation was high. The report said �15 cm fresh and 42 cm in the last 48 hours� and rumour had it that Cedar Bowl had not been open yesterday! We were ready.

We traversed Cedar as far as Blueberry. We had planned to go further but we could not resist the allure of the untracked powder. Standing still, on fat skis, the snow was up to the knees. Cold and fluffy! Blueberry�s pitch was just perfect for the snow depth and density. Every once in a while you would be reminded of the firm bumps below the powder but for the most part it was a float though powder billowing to the waist. Lower Cedar Centre was another story. Even on our first run, it was a combination of fluffy bumps separated by hard packed troughs. Not really ugly, it just took me a couple of turns to realize that I would need to use the edges today after all.

The ski resort has it�s usually holiday crowds but this morning it was not too busy. The popular runs got cut up quite quickly but with a bit of traversing, we managed at least a few turns through virgin snow on nearly every descent. The current base (snow pack) is 219 cm / 86 inches but significant portions of the ski area are not yet useable due to the extensive alder growth. Even if we are blessed with our normal snow fall, large areas of Snake Ridge, for example, will not be accessible until February. In my opinion this is unfortunate and it a situation that can be improved if the ski hill management was so resolved. Many skiers come to Fernie for the steep & deep and it is truly unfortunate that much of this terrain is not available until halfway through the season or not at all, on a low snow year.

Just before noon the sun came out. Just in time for our last run down the centre of Lizard Bowl. By now the powder was tracked up but unpacked, light and fluffy� very nice. On behalf of the FART (Fernie Alpine Report Team) members I would like to take the opportunity to wish you and your family all the best in 2004. This was a great start to the New Year!

At 4:30 pm it is -6C, overcast and looking like snow.

Bernie -

On the trek for freshies

Knee deep in Cedar Bowl

Halfway down Blueberry

A good start to 2004

Griz Peak looms above Lizard Bowl

The improved Bear's Den in centre

Dave on our last run through Lizard Bowl

The regular hiking crew in ski gear!