Craig's Report - June 22, 2004

Tis the Season of the Wheel

There is only a little over a week until the start of the summer mountain bike season here at the resort - at least the lift serviced kind. Unfortunately this is in embarrassingly stark contrast to the snowy pictures from the last report, which was posted back in early April. Thus guilt finally overcame sloth (my mother would be proud) and I took the camera along with me on today's ride. To be honest, there isn't a lot to report, but I will try and make up something convincing. :-)

It has been a pretty good spring, with warm and dry weather early on, which resulted in a quick snow melt and rising fears of another summer of forest fires. Fortunately the rain finally came and left us, at least temporarily, as one of the few spots in the province with a low forest fire rating. It wouldn't take much hot dry weather for that to change though and I now find myself a much bigger fan of rain than I used to be. :-)

The hill has been busy clearing the mountain bike trails of dead falls and excess tree debris and is constructing a mountain bike playground beside the Mighty Moose. This has an array of jumps, ramps and other means of keeping physiotherapists fully employed. They are also extending the 'Berms' trail right down to the bottom and I heard something about a new trail from around Giggly Gully over to Deer somewhere, but have not yet encountered it. It sounds like last year's experiment with the Timber Chair may not have been all that successful and that the hill will probably concentrate most of its resources on the Elk Chair and its runs this summer.

On the ski front, the only enhancement evident so far is the expansion of the gnarly ski patrol trail that linked Currie Bowl with the bottom of Stag Leap. This is a very convenient way to scoot over to the Bear Chair from Currie bowl, but in ugly conditions, it was just a little too thrilling. I haven't yet walked up to check it in detail, but it looks like they have created more of a cat track now and hopefully it will be serviceable for any one able to ski in Currie.

The hill seems to have more than its share of wild life this spring, particularly deer and our bruin friends. I have heard reports of big bears, small bears, mommy bears, black bears, grizzly bears and teddy bears. I have had a few encounters myself and today was the third time in the last few weeks when I have had to beat a retreat due to encountering a bear with a prior claim to my trail. In no case was the bear aggressive and today the problem was two young black bears who were probably siblings who had just been given the heave ho by mama bear (at least that is what I keenly hoping). These guys, one of which was actually brown, were obviously more worried about me than I was about them and weren't about to wait around for a portrait session, although I did manage a snap of one of them before it got to the trees.

That's it for now - I will try to arrange for another report before the ground is again white. :-)

Silver Fox from the top of Deer with the Elk Valley and Fernie in the background.

In this uninformative shot, the new connector from Currie to Deer joins the bottom of Stagleap about where the gap in the trees is at the upper right, while the top of the Deer chair is at the extreme left.

The sign says 'Area closed - Active Logging', although from the debris on the road it appears it is more the end of logging. However as a guest on private property I faithfully honor all such signs and besides down was looking pretty good about this point (half way between lower Surprize and Diamond Back).

They have build a new off loading ramp for summer traffic at the top of the Elk Chair.

The signs are ready to go...

some rocky bits have been smoothed with wood chips - Lizard Bowl from the Bear's Den

and the bear's have been prepped. This was the slower of a couple of young bears hanging out at the top of Holo Hike. They seemed fairly intimidated by me and probably out of Mommy's care, but I still chose an alternate route.

A new playground has been built for those whose bones still heal quickly.

Another view of some of the amusements, with Snow Creek Lodge in the background.