Craig's Report - November 19, 2004

A New Improved, Whiter, Softer Report

A winter look returned to the base area when a nice little snow storm yesterday painted everything white. Admittedly it is more of a thin base coat at the bottom, with a only couple of centimeters or so trying to survive the warmth, but the depth increases to about ankle deep around the Bear's Den and calf deep or better dense powder on a solid base up on upper Bear. I am generally too lazy to carry skis etc. up for a short run, but today I almost regretted that. Even just walking it was clear that skiing on the upper mountain today would have been much more than decent.

One drawback of doing these reports is that negative comments, which are probably the norm given how spoiled I am, seem to cause a lot of needless concern for folks with trips planned weeks or even months in the future. This is certainly understandable, but rather pointless given how fast things can change here. Once the snow machine gets going, it can produce a prodigious amount of snow. Consider that in a really good year, the upper mountain will average about 50 cm of snowfall per week. A really bad year would be about half of that.

Of course that snow doesn't come evenly and it isn't unusual for us to go for three weeks without any snow. If your vacation happens to fall in one of those spells, well there is always hard pack and liquor. Of course the absolute worst case is if one of those spells happens right at the beginning of the year before a base is established.

On the flip side, I have seen it snow over three meters in a span of a couple of weeks. If your vacation hits anything like that and you share my slippery substance addiction, then you will have a trip you will talk about for years.

Of course it is usually somewhere in between and the key point is no one ever knows what will happen. That miserable drought can change to powder snorting nirvana literally overnight. So the bottom line is these reports are useless for predicting what conditions will be even in the immediate future, much less a week or more away. At best anyone concerned about an upcoming trip could use them to go back through the years and see the range of conditions that have happened on those dates in the past.

Okay, with that sermon over I can now go back to moaning and ranting as usual and if anyone is foolish enough to change or make plans based on what I say, well you have been warned. :-)

At 17:10 it is overcast and 0 C at the house.

Powder Road. The slow trudge up the upper half of Bear.

Alas our backyard struggles to maintain its white image.

Looking down Holo Hike from about half way up to the Bear's Den. Not quite ready for prime time, but much improved from a couple of days ago.

The Bear's Den looking positively wintry. The weather varied considerably during my walk and at this point a fair amount of snow was falling.

Looking across the Bear Chutes towards Boomerang.

From the numerous 'Awesomes' and other unprintable exclamations of male joy, I conclude these folks found the snow on Bear to their liking.

The top of Bear with Griz Peak in the background. Can I go down now?

Lizard Bowl with the top of Sunnyside in the foreground. Only serious alder bashers should attempt Sunnyside just yet.

The folks skiing Bear stopped to build a jump and practice their air work. This fellow nicely completed this helicopter (downhill is behind him at this point). The dog seemed less enamoured of the conditions than the foolish humans.

What a difference a couple of days makes when comparing this picture of Power Trip to the one from the November 17th report.