Craig's Report - January 28, 2004

Hail to the Griz, All Praise the Griz

I heard words something like that in the locker room this afternoon and they seemed to pretty much sum up the situation The old boy has been putting in major overtime since his unfortunate unauthorized absence earlier this month. The hill is reporting almost a metre in the last week, with half of that coming in the last two days. This is good!

At times the temperatures have been below minus 20 C, my normal frozen foot imposed cutoff, but it is hard to resist the powder just because of a little pain. However after being numb footed and slightly frost bitten yesterday, I decided to head out today in full arctic gladiator garb, only to find the temperature jumped about 15 C just a couple of towers above the base. A fight to stay warm instantly became the much more manageable fight to stay cool.

The cold temperatures, particularly yesterday, had me expecting insubstantial fluff, but instead there was relatively dense powder, more like icing sugar. This is not a negative at all in my opinion, for it skied very nicely and was quite deep in places. Although one can find the odd scraped off hard spot, almost everything was soft and sweet. Of course there were substantial closures, for the Griz was still hard at work. Currie was closed above Anaconda Glades and only Cedar Ridge was open in Cedar. All of Lizard was closed yesterday, but today they got Tower 6 road open, including things like the Windows Chutes (rather tasty by the way). Everything in Timber and Siberia was open though.

Deep powder does bring some hazards as I (re)discovered yesterday when I sliced through a gap between two trees only to have my ski center punch a stump more than two feet from its top, which was still completely below the surface of the snow. I was lucky to escape with a glancing blow to the muscle above my knee (still yielding a half grapefruit sized swelling), rather than the knee cap smashing, inappropriate bending situation a few centimeters difference would have caused. In hind sight I remember thinking "here is a hole I haven't noticed before" and now suspect that just might be related to the nearby tree blown over in last week's wind storm. My hazard recognition systems just don't seem to work all that efficiently during a powder high. :-) At least when I dug out the ski, which was still firmly lodged against the stump, it was impressive to see just how far beneath the surface our boards are travelling at times.

At 5:30 PM it is now -2 C (hmmm) at the house and still snowing lightly.