Heinz's Report - February 18, 2004

The Fernie Factor

The past weekend we�ve been having a few, what I would call, minor snowfalls around 5 � 10 cm at a time. Not much to get excited about, but after the previous few weeks of drought that old soft feeling underfoot was a most pleasant change. The few weeks on the hard, firm surface of the groomed runs was nice enough, with lots of sunshine and lots of speed � a good change of pace. But, it was getting boring.

The official forecast called for another 5 cm or so last night so I was expecting more of the same. There were rumours of 20 cm, in town, but I�m from Missouri! Sure enough, around 11 pm the snow started and it came down in earnest. When we went to bed, we were hopeful.

When we awoke it looked very, very interesting. It looked like 20 cm, but the hill only reported 14 cm. This was the Fernie Factor kicking in � the official forecast can�t take into account that weird influence of the Lizard Range and the narrow Elk Valley. It contributes to the high snowfall we have come to expect. The snow was a tad heavy due to the warm temperature � about 3 degrees Celsius on our back porch. When we headed up, the snow was still coming down decently and the visibility was limited. A typical Fernie day! The order for the day had be the steeps and the trees with this stuff.

We started in Cedar Ridge and had a run back to the Bear Express on Boom. Oh yes, this was more like it! We only broke through to the hard crust from previous weeks on a few turns. And yes, it was heavy, but if you pointed the skis down the hill it felt like Fernie is supposed to feel. We headed over to Easter and had a couple of excellent runs there with some untracked still to be found even with the heavy traffic this week. I was caught with the faster openings the ski patrol has been achieving this year. I fully expected Currie to be closed (Cedar was), and didn�t check the slider boards close enough. I found out later in the morning that Currie had been open since 9:30. Damn!!

I headed over to Currie and decided to try the famous three on the front side � Decline, Skydive and Stag Leap. These are always super after a good dump and not that heavily skied out early. I took Skydive � my favourite � and was not disappointed. The Volkswagen Beetle sized bumps were there, but large and soft. It was like riding a small roller-coaster. Oh that soft feeling! That Fernie feeling!

By 1 pm the snow started to turn to rain and I decided to head home and shovel the decks � yuck! I had to go back via the regular trails and found the runs had really packed the wet snow into hard little bumps. The eyeballs were almost coming out their sockets and at one time, my goggles and helmet came crashing down into my face. Oh give me the steep and trees any day!

At 6 pm its plus 5 Celsius outside out back porch and the �official� forecast isn�t calling for any precip for the next few days. But then, you never know with The Fernie Factor.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Dead Tree on Easter. A typical Fernie day � we�ve missed them!

Easter Bowl. A great line from the top off Currie.

Easter on the way down. Lizard Bowl in the background � sort of.

PK in Easter. Her best run of the day!

The Volkswagen bumps on Skydive. Ok � they�re soft!

PK back in Easter. She couldn�t get enough of it today!