Bernie's Report - April 11, 2004

A Little Closer to Heaven

When I was a kid growing up in Hamilton (Ontario), Easter was the time for the first hike of the year. We would delight in the opportunity to explore the woods and creeks along the escarpment, more commonly known in those parts, as the Hamilton Mountain. Well, the mountains here are a little bigger but the experience is much the same. Excitement, adventure, exercise and companionship� throw in a some good turns and you have the perfect end to the ski season! For the last run for this season, we climbed a little closer to heaven. . . and skied 3500 feet from the top of Polar Peak to the base area, via Sky Dive.

Conditions were typically spring-like. By early afternoon the snow on Polar was quite soft. As you can see from the photos the snow is disappearing quickly, even at higher elevations, but there were still some wide snow covered routes down the south-east face. At this time of year, the sun has a pronounced effect of the snow conditions. Shaded area were quite firm but the snow that had been exposed to the direct sunlight for most of the day was slushy and sticky. Between these extremes, one could find areas where the ski conditions were quite good. Parts of Sky Dive had achieved the optimum softening although as I approached the bottom my legs were screaming� �enough already!� I was ready to lay down in the snow when Steve invited us over to his deck for a beer. Thanks Steve� it sure hit the spot!

My next report will likely be composed from the seat of my mountain bike. At 3:30 pm the skies are clear and the temperature is 18C in the shade.

It's a 45 min. hike up Polar Peak

Approaching the top of the first section of the climb

View from the top. Top of the White Pass Chair near the centre of the photo

Colin, Jay, Bernie & Arian(sp?) on Polar Peak

Jay, with a big grin, on the descent from Polar Peak

Colin on the heal edge... I think there'a big smile uder those goggles!