Craig's Report - November 14, 2005

First Run

We had a little scare late last week when that rain stuff put in an unwelcome appearance all the way up the hill, but that had reversed by Sunday and there was once again a nice layer of powder on the upper mountain. It was so nice that after being up there without boards yesterday and enduring the incredulous and pitying stares of all and their hounds, I relented, and breaking a long standing tradition, hauled my alpine gear up today. Now I hate even walking up to the day lodge in ski boots and adding a couple of thousand vertical feet while lugging skis apparently fabricated from an old locomotive chassis, does not improve the experience. However I must admit that at least this once the trip down was worth it.

North Ridge seemed like a sane target and to my delight there were only a couple of tracks on it. There were a few alder tips sticking up here and there, but these were non-threatening and could be skied around or over with impunity. The new snow was well over my boots and billowed about most satisfactorily. In fact because it was warm, I did not bother putting on my snow pants and skied down in the light cotton pants I had climbed in. By the bottom these were completely caked in snow right up to my jacket (and yes I did manage to keep the slippery sides down), despite my Bogarting the run with as many turns as I could squeeze in. You could just feel the rain crust under the snow on the odd turn, but there was no clattering or slipping, just lots of nice powder turns.

Cedar Ridge, Boomerang and Linda�s run all looked quite skiable, at least for the alder tolerant (what Fernie skier isn�t) and indeed the hill at least looked better than it has on many an opening day. It really is starting to look like the old Griz might be cuddling up for a make up season. Certainly things can go very wrong quickly, as last season repeatedly demonstrated, but somehow it just feels like the old guy is out to make amends.

At 16:30 it is partly overcast and -1 C at the house.

The view from the bottom definitely looks promising.

Looking up Meadow with the Timber chair at the left. As far as I know this is still all natural snow.

Stuck in traffic. At the Bear�s Den I had to wait for what appeared to be a snowmobile class to arrange themselves in formation before continuing my slog. That is the Bear run to the right.

Sunnyside from the cat track I missed yesterday, resulting in serious post holing and heavy breathing.

The Bear run with Fernie in the background.

Most of the folks seemed to have been lured by the sun down Bear Ridge towards Bear. This was taken standing on the Boom Chair off ramp.

While the dark side had largely been reserved for me. :-)

Boomerang looked tasty.

A minor in weedology would have been useful on Cedar Ridge, but all in all it looked pretty good. Across Cedar Bowl you can see Snake Main. Mmmmmm - Snake Ridge (drool).

Lower North Ridge from the top of the Haul Back. It isn�t often a late riser like me gets to ski this in nice powder.