Craig's Report - October 14, 2005


Cold, dreary and rainy days aren�t exactly uncommon for a Fernie fall, but there sure seemed to be a lot of them recently. Those beautiful September and early October days have been rare and largely replaced by cool, damp weather more typical of late October and early November and as a curmudgeon might point out, familiar to folks trying to ski last January. The clouds did start to clear late this morning though and slowly blue sky has taken over. The forecasts suggest this is a temporary relapse, but perhaps enough to keep the Prozac pushers at bay a while longer. On the bright side and despite vast experience suggesting past weather is no indication of future weather, it is hard not to hope this might be beginning of a cooler, precipitation (solid) heavy season.

I have not seen the big D9 cat for a while now and suspect it may have moved on. It has however left its mark in many spots on the hill, the most recent being in Siberia and Timber Bowls. The gully to the skiers right of the notorious switch back on Falling Star has been completely re-contoured, presumably to provide a bit less nerve wracking option for less experienced skiers on this otherwise friendly run. There is still a pinch point, but it is a least as wide as the switchback cat track and very short with a fairly wide approach and exit. It will be interesting to see how it works out once there is snow.

The bottom of Heartland has also been reworked, with the grove of trees beside the chair lift at the bottom of the last steep pitch having been completely removed. Some glading and grading has also taken place in the trees on the skiers left of the chair. The cat also chewed at 100 Percent (the cat track between Heartland and Highline), but it was hard to see much significant change other than perhaps a wider exit onto Highline.

There is something for the more advanced skiers as well, for the alder whacking crew is still at it and recently removed many of the alder patches in the area below Cornice Chutes to Currie Creek as well as alders in the gully beside Gilmar Trail and the rest of the alders below Bootleg Glades. This, combined with the work they have done in Lizard and Cedar Bowls, has me pretty stoked, as it promises to make many of my favoured routes passable much earlier in the season or even right from the start if we get a typical snow year.

There are a lot of other little adjustments, like properly finishing the job of filling in the old half pipe that was started last year and tweaking trail intersections here and there. Even though there are no new trails per se or any big projects like additional snow making or lifts, I think there may have been more massaging of the actual slopes this summer than at any time since the expansion. Since most of the changes are relatively subtle, it will be interesting to see how noticeable they are in the winter. I suspect most folks won�t particularly notice them, but still find the ski experience significantly better.

At 17:30 it is 9 C at the house and temporarily clear.

To find snow you still have to go high, like The Three Sisters, which here show white above a bare Mt Fernie in the foreground. This was taken from the top of the Timber Express.

Even the D9 couldn�t move enough rock to completely get rid of the narrow point in the gully on Falling Star.

Looking down the newly graded gully on Falling Star. The entrance to the switch back it bypasses is at the extreme right.

Upper Timber Bowl from the top of the Timber chair. The top of the White Pass chair is center top with the Shakey�s Acres bowl below it.

The grove of trees at the bottom of Heartland is now history.

A patch of slaughtered alders below Cornice Chute, with a small group of tiny deer checking me out.

Gilmar�s Trail runs from the left to lower right of this Currie Bowl picture. There are more recently deceased alders in the gully on this side of it as well as on the far side of it.

Get hurt in the summer and you get a ride in the uni-toboggan.

I have no idea what this post is for. It just appeared at the intersection of Lizard Trail and Incline, where they recently trimmed the trees back.

It is hard to tell from this shot, but the old half pipe is now filled to match the rest of the slope. This will make Bambi a much more useful beginner run as well as making lower Incline much wider.