Craig's Report - November 03, 2004

Fresh Frosting

Yesterday's heavy rain drove the snow line a bit farther up the lower mountain, but up top it laid down another very nice base coat. The rain line appears to have wandered around in its normal spot just above the Bear's Den and the snow depth increases quickly as you head up from there.

My standard turn around point for this flavour of "at least its not jogging" exercise is the Tower 6 Road hairpin on Dancer and by that point the snow was well above my knees. In fact my initial thought had been that it would be fun to romp back down Dancer in the new snow, but a brief excursion convinced me otherwise. I would just post hole up to mid thigh in the stiff snow and then struggle to extract myself, which encouraged me to labour my way back to the friendly snowmobile track I had followed up.

Back down at the top of Ballet the snow was only about shin deep, so I again hopped off the trail and headed straight down. At this point the crust was almost strong enough to hold me ... almost. The result, as I goose stepped down Ballet like some sort of gaiter booted SS (Snow Strutting) trooper, was a walk that would have done John Cleese proud. Prolonged exposure would have been abusive to the shins.

As that suggests, the snow was good base building stuff, but I am not sure that I would have wanted to ski it, at least not at the altitudes I was at. Also, while things are filling in nicely up there, at this early stage the alders and other hazards still pretty much rule the slopes. Still there were lots of tracks on Bear and more folks heading up and they probably would have fun, of sorts. :-)

Whew, I made it all the way through the report without any snide comments, inappropriate jokes or excessive whining about our Southern neighbour's expensive exercise in democracy. Now back to the scotch.

At 17:30 it is clear and -1 C at the house.

The rain dimpled snow of Ballet - dubious for skiing and walking, but good base fixins.

Pretty green down at the house, but it sure looks pretty up top.

Looking up Lizard Trail from near the bottom.

Still kind of thin at the Bear's Den, but Bear is looking whiter.

Easter Bowl from the middle of Lizard Bowl.

Mountains just look better in white. The Sisters rise up behind Mt. Fernie.

Upper Lizard Bowl with the top of the Bear Express in the upper center.

Dancer looked like it would be fun to cavort down, but the stiff snow had other thoughts.

A rare sighting of a Fernie snow cat. Nocturnal in the winter and hibernating all summer, this is the best time of the year for spotting these.