Craig's Report - February 14, 2005

Avalanche Control Note

This is not a report, but just a note about what I have learned concerning the ski hill's current problems with avalanche control. A few days ago, after one of the projectiles was launched, it exploded about 100 feet from the gun. I understand there were no serious injuries, although one fellow's ears were left ringing, as I can well imagine given how loud those puppies are even down in my bedroom.

As a result of this and the obvious safety issues, the Worker's Compensation Board has shut down the use of all such guns at all ski areas pending their investigation. This is a particular problem at Fernie due to the high cliff bands with limited access that loom above much of the area. Where possible patrollers have been climbing onto the ridges in the early morning and placing hand charges, but the ridges above Lizard and Cedar Bowls are too dangerous to attempt this without very good visibility. Personally I can't imagine attempting it period. They also have a helicopter on standby, but again good visibility is needed. It is clearing as I write this, so perhaps they will be able to fly today after closing.

Under the circumstances I am rather surprised that most of the mountain was open yesterday and today and I guess we will just have to try and be a bit patient until this circumstance resolves itself.

Oh, the conditions continue to be very good and while generally well tracked and packed, there were still a few soft, sweet turns to be had. Surprisingly there were more people here today than yesterday, although one could hardly call it crowded.

At 15:50 it is -2 C at the house and partially cloudy.