Craig's Report - February 24, 2005

Better Than Expected...

But then my expectations were rather low. Like John, my last day out on Tuesday was uninspiring, although by dint of cunningly avoiding death traps like the KC Chutes, it sounds like I had a better day than he did. Thus as I was heading over to Red Tree for my first real run of the day, I figured it might be an exercise in icy masochism. Instead I found fairly friendly soft packed moguls and even the odd unpacked turn to keep me wistful.

Slipping over to Wallaby and then back on Cedar Trail again allowed me to skirt the mess that was lower North Ridge just below the Haul Back, without spending too much time on the poorly name View Trail. To my surprise I then found Sunnyside had nicely melted in the warm afternoon sun and was much more pleasant than it had been on my last trip, although that is relative for there were still lots of pointy moguls and woody things to navigate.

I don't often take the Face Lift, but just had to try out the new poma attachment. It is a pretty clever hack that would have made Rube Goldberg proud and it definitely makes loading much easier. I still haven't decided whether the ride is easier as a poma though, particularly in those areas where the wire wants to be low. However the way it is set up you can still use it the old way and in fact all the folks immediately in front of me did exactly that.

I took the Lizard traverse over into Easter Bowl, but when I came to the always nasty bit just beyond Lone Fir, I found myself confronted with a drop into a significant and icy looking hole. I couldn't see the bottom without committing and a slide into the rubbish below didn't look healthy, so I retreated despite the fact that kick turning on that narrow little trail wasn't exactly risk free either. Once free of that though, Easter also had generally soft pack moguls until quite near the bottom.

As Tuesday's trip out the bottom of Currie revealed that my store of viable rock dodging routes had been about exhausted, my only trip today into that bowl was to traverse over to Sky Dive. The conditions for the few turns I did make around upper Tom's run were a bit variable with the sun melt starting to recrystallise. I suspect timing is becoming very important in getting a good run on those chutes.

The traverse to the top of Easter was less than pleasant, but navigable with care. As is often the case the first set of moguls down to where Decline and Sky Dive split might have been carved by the Marquis de Sade, but below that the Sky Dive moguls were again soft packed and friendly with little in the way of obstacles. Staying in chicken form, I bailed out on the Megasaurus mountain bike trail for even though things still looked good immediately below that I was pretty sure hungry bushes and stumps were probably waiting farther down.

Despite some decent runs, the feel of the snow conditions puts one more in mind of a 'normal' hill than the 'legendary' stuff we have come to expect from Fernie. However with four out of the last five years not living up to that standard, I am starting to worry about what might be becoming normal here now.

At 19:15 it is -3 C at the house under starry clear sky.

Lizard Bowl from the Bear Chair.

Upper Red Tree was pretty nice, in a packed kind of way.

Sunnyside with the moguls somehow photographically flattened. :-)

The traverse across Lizard from the top of the Face Lift is now a broad thoroughfare.

Easter Bowl was decent at this point as long as you avoided the green bits.

Lizard Bowl from the top of Freeway, which was by the way closed, along with Wallaby, Kangaroo and possibly others.

Polar Peak was covered with tracks, but not quite as covered with snow as one would hope for this time of year.

Sky Dive from the split with Decline. The upper portion at least was rather good.