Craig's Report - December 02, 2004

Storm Watch

The scheduled opening day is a week from tomorrow and my lawn is still a glum green. :-( True, if you climb a couple of thousand feet, things are much, much more encouraging, but like some alpine manic depressive you know you are bound to come down, down into the depths of a dirt depression.

The answer to this sorry state of affairs would be a nice classic Fernie storm which could change things overnight and at least one forecast is making encouraging noises about this weekend. There is of course no consensus amongst the weather pranksters, but the signs seemed good today despite a worrisome rise in temperature. There were dark clouds hovering over the mountain and blustery winds occasionally accompanied by a few teasing flakes.

Indeed the gusty wind almost made me reconsider my planned route up Siberia Bowl as I imagined fighting gales and blizzards pouring through Lost Boys pass. In fact, for most of the way up, the wind just provided some much needed cooling and as a bonus it turned out Falling Star had been groomed. Only as I neared the top of the Timber Chair did the wind attack with a passion. To my surprise the assaults continued through Timber Bowl and to a lesser extent in Currie and Lizard as well. It definitely felt like winter up there.

Heartland, 100 Percent, Highline, Silver Lining as well as at least the bottom of Currie Powder had all been groomed. I walked down part of Highline and it seemed to be in very good, full on winter, shape. Currie from Trespass Trail up looked pretty nice, although in places the wind will undoubtedly be having its way with the snow. Below Trespass Trail, things are still pretty twiggy and while passable for small groups, not really ready for prime time.

I counted seven snow guns on Dipsy/Lizard with another one at the base of Elk Chair. This is more than I even thought they had. They were obviously trying to make a reasonable access path down from the Bear's den and they have made some decent progress. Unfortunately the warmer weather meant the guns were all silent and help from Mother Nature is still much needed.

At 18:40 it is 1 C and judging by the near, but not complete, absence of stars, probably mainly cloudy.

Highline is groomed and ready. The odd dark spots are just bits of trees blown in by the vigorous wind.

A groomed Falling Star meant the snow shoes could remain on the pack as ballast, at least for the time being. The cat is just coming down from the hair pin near the bottom.

Timber Bowl from about the top of Puff. The top of the White Pass chair is in the upper center.

Stormy looking clouds scud across the Elk Valley, but a ray of sun finds its way through to highlight the town. This is from where 100 Percent crosses Heartland. Note the blowing snow - brrrr.

Looking down lower Heartland to the base of the White Pass chair.

The top part of Currie looks pretty nice...

But there are twigs aplenty farther down.

Courtesy of snow making, Dipsy/Lizard is the only lower run that is significantly white. This from the top of China Wall.

Where Lizard, Incline and everything meet just above the base. Hmmm.

Lower Mighty Moose and the bottom of the Elk Chair with Lizard Creek Lodge in the back ground.