Craig's Report - November 19, 2005

Memo to Griz, Re: Absenteeism

Dear Griz, please let me start by commending you on your energetic start to this season�s contract. Your October and early November contributions were excellent, but it has come to our attention that you have now been absent for several days. I am sure I do not need to remind you that as a result of last year�s fiasco, your contract is now on probation, with strict quotas that must be met this year. While your start was excellent, please remember that a minimum of another 1.5 meters is required over the next three weeks and while we are sure this will be no problem given you prodigious talents, it would be appreciated if deliveries were made sooner rather than later. I am sure you would not wish to risk the heartbreak of de-deification that missing these deliveries might risk. Please keep in mind that diligence and a constant focus on the task is what differentiates a truly great snow god, from the merely good.

Yep, the Griz has been AWOL the last few days and while he often doesn�t even get started crafting excellent years until about this time, the lack of new snow and relatively mild temperatures have quelled a bit of the anticipation fever that was running through town. Many of the runs have now been groomed and while this is an excellent idea, it does allow various unfriendly things to appear through the thin and slightly melting snow down near the bottom of the mountain. Up top the base has compacted a bit to a little under 85 cm at the Bear snow plot, but coverage in Lizard at least isn�t too bad. The ungroomed parts have morphed from powder into a pretty substantial wind pack though and while a fellow who passed me on the way down Dancer did think it still beat walking, I didn�t regret leaving my skis at home.

I did drag them up into Timber a few days ago, with some thought of maybe coming down Black Cloud or Surprize, but they, as well as Deep Sea and Puff, looked to have too many exposed or barely buried obstacles for an enjoyable run, even if the snow had been friendly. I ended up heading up over the top for a cruise down Falling Star. Things were made a bit more interesting by wind pack drifts that were all but invisible in the low contrast visibility, on the otherwise extensively groomed run. The newly contoured area by the switchback was quite bony as was the last bit heading into the base area. It was okay, but far from great.

While this report may sound less upbeat than the last few, it wouldn�t take much to reverse things. The upper mountain definitely has a nice foundation and all that is required for a great opening is for the Griz to even put in an average performance between now and then.

At 16:45 it is -1 C at the house and clear except for a few clouds hanging on the ridge.

Cloud wisps and sun play on the Saddles.

The village �lake� gets artistic with its ice swirls.

The base area looks a bit shabbier now, but it is still better than it has been at this date since the wonderful fall of 96.

Looking up Lizard Trail. The bulldozed areas just out of sight to the left look like they will take a little extra snow this year, as they are still quite rough.

Ballet to the left and Bear to the right with the top of Dipsy (which now appears on the trail map to be part of Bear Right) in the foreground. A rather large tree that won�t see another summer lies on Bear.

The wind that probably killed the tree in the last picture also spread bits of tree everywhere. This is looking across Bear to Bear Ridge and the top of the Boomerang chair.

Cedar Bowl and Snake Ridge from the top of Bear.

and Easter Bowl, also from the top of Bear.

An overexposed (in more ways than one?) town of Fernie glows behind the Boomerang top station in this shot looking down from the top of North Ridge.

These tracks describe the snow conditions better than words.