Craig's Report - February 03, 2005
It was 11 C on my porch as I headed out this afternoon and that is an indecent temperature for a Canadian ski hill on the third day of February. Needless to say this doesn't help the valiant, surprisingly long, but still slowly losing battle to keep a few ribbons of snow on the lower mountain. Up top there is some surprisingly good skiing, but all real hope is now pinned on those normally flighty weather reports. Most are promising colder temperatures and snow this weekend, with the most optimistic ones are calling for quite a bit of it. Even the bottom is still supposed to get a good share, although it may start with rain. So it is that we are now reduced to believing weather forecasts.
Everywhere off groomed that I went on the upper mountain, I found variations on the same theme: patches of ice separated by wind pack and occasionally sun softened snow. For the most part this skied much better than it sounds, although I did find the stuff on Boomerang and particularly Cedar Ridge more challenging than what I encountered in Timber and Currie. Perhaps this was because the sun was gone by then.
I heard many comments about how good the top was, but I think all our opinions may be clouded by the recent dismal past. I suspect 10 cm of powder, a trifling by normal Fernie standards, would have us all drooling and babbling in joy. Still the avalanche board was all green except for Blast and while there were icy spots, none of the places I went seemed overly suicidal and indeed even when a bit challenging, were still quite pleasant.
Getting around could be a chore though. There was big wind yesterday that closed the new side and wounded the Boomerang chair with a falling tree. It is still closed and so from the top of the Haul Back one either tries to navigate Cedar Trail or the summer road back to the top of Elk. Given the shape of Cedar Trail when I last walked it, I opted for the latter, but it involves some climbing.
I also opted for a climbing route out of Currie to avoid downloading on the Timber Chair. This also allowed me to ski to the bottom of Concussion Chute, which was quite nice and had good coverage. The route, which follows the summer mountain bike trail over to Easter, isn't too bad, but definitely has up hill sections. Another alternative would be to traverse Currie right to the top of Easter.
My trip from Easter down China Might wasn't very pleasant, but Ballet and Bear also both looked rather rough. The Dipsy/Lizard route to the bottom of the Bear Chair or the base area remains quite passable, but the snow that was there was heavy and slushy in the warm temperatures. I am amazed they have been able to keep this route open and I imagine it is a tribute to using the snow guns when ever the temperature drops enough.
A 17:40 it is still 9 C and overcast at the house. I believe, I believe!