Craig's Report - March 02, 2005

Thin and Bony, but with a Nice Skin

While there was pretty good skiing over much of the mountain today, the overall situation is rather sad for Fernie at the beginning of March. There just isn't much of a blanket of snow out there and with continuing warm weather things are starting to stick through. Up top this is mainly shrubbery and the ever present alders, but down low the cancer is spreading and the number of reasonable paths to the bottom is starting to shrink quickly. On the other hand, assuming a tolerance for marauding moguls and an ability to miss lurking nasties, the surface of that thin blanket was surprisingly nice today and the vast majority of my turns were quite enjoyable.

It was a sort of bipolar day, for while the South facing slopes had a nice sun softened sloppiness to them, the North facing ones seemed firmly planted in winter, despite the very mild temperatures. The surface of that shady group was quite grippy and there was even a little bit of new snow lying around. The moguls could be rather intimidating in places, but I ran into little ice except for a transit down Puff. Even then most of its pointy demons were soft enough to keep terror at bay as long as you could link them semi appropriately.

Equally pleasing were the sun drenched slopes like Sunnyside, Currie Chutes and Morning Glory. Soft, without being too soft, and parts of the latter two were the next best thing to powder (you can tell it's been a while). I didn't even encounter any of those icy bits that often wait in the shade on sunny days in the hopes of adding excess excitement to your day. Sunnyside however had way too many twigs and spears to permit a very relaxing run.

A number of lower slopes are now either closed or ill advised. Meadow has serious rot on the skier's left, but you can still escape down the right hand side and the Falling Star run out is still okay despite some brown patches. Dipsy/Lizard Trail remains the best way down from the old side and seemed fine except for being quite slushy on the stretch below China Wall and farther down the shady parts were kind of firm. I continue to use the Cedar Trail to avoid the now very ugly part of North Ridge below the Haul Back. Below that North Ridge is still fairly reasonable, but obviously very thin and holes are appearing.

At 19:30 it is now 1 C on the porch and the skies are clear.

The surprising sweet moguls on Cedar Ridge

The KC Chutes and Snake Main in their alder filled glory. Somewhere in my report archives there is a picture of the KC Chutes as a snow field. What a difference 2 or 3 meters of snow will make.

Despite the warning signs suggesting alternate routes, these boarders decided to brave the dubious pleasures of lower North Ridge. Perhaps those flat alternatives are less than enjoyable on a board.

I didn't ski Shakey's Acres, but it looked and sounded as soft as the other sunny slopes I tried.

The top of Tom's run with lower Saddle at the left.

Looking back up Cornice Chute (I think), which was ooey gooey good.

Farther down there were what appeared to be piles of freshly whacked alders. A few less of these critters in this area would certainly be welcome. Beware of the punjis though.

The snow and aggregate mix that comprises Gilmar Trail, the main exit from Currie bowl. Much of that brown stuff is of the lumber family, but there is also a good measure of old Mother Earth in there as well. Most of it is at least free to move, but it still isn't pleasant to ski in.

My preferred exit from Currie is normally down this gully, but open creeks and ubiquitous alders have made it all but impassible this year.

The top of Timber chair and Timber Bowl from the hike up Siberia Ridge. Upper Morning Glory was largely untracked reasonably pleasant glup, but with lots of sticks and stumps to worry about. Farther down, there had been more traffic, but few snow snakes and still very nice snow.