Craig's Report - December 10, 2005

Gone With the Wind

That would be my aspirations of skiing a banquet of fine powder on this year�s opening day. Alas major winds blew in yesterday and transformed most of the upper mountain snow into a nasty and variable wind pack. In places it was impenetrable, but just a little farther along in the turn, it could give way to breaking soft slabs. It was still skiable, but not exactly with style, grace or comfort by this hombre. Where enough dedicated souls had beaten it into submission, the resulting ground slab was actually quite nice, but the hill was lacking enough serious masochists to get the task done quickly. In fact there seemed to be surprisingly few folks on the hill at all for a Saturday opening day.

The scouring of wind and edges helped add meaning to the �early season hazard� warning signs at the top of the lifts and indeed my skis managed to sustain a minor wound after making it all through last season largely unscathed. If you have them, rock skis are probably still the ticket for a while. That is not to say the hill is in bad shape and indeed most of the groomed stuff is very good. However beware of the normal suspects in limited base conditions, including lower Currie, Puff and lower Heartland, China Might etc., etc.

Overall it wasn't the stellar opening day we hoped for, but still quite decent and with a nice stream of even small dumps, things would be quickly become delightful.

At 15:40 it is -6 at the house and partially overcast.

Griz peak towers above the tricky delights of upper Cruiser.

It looks much friendlier in the Bow trees than it was in person.

The upper part of China Might looked pretty sketchy, but most of it was just mangled alder tops. There was the odd nasty rock on the lower part, but it was actually not bad and better than I expected.

A boarder takes his turn at breaking stuff up on Cruiser. The trafficked area of Cruiser was well stirred and soon developed into nice soft bumps that were quite pleasant. Farther down the crust slowly disappeared until near the bottom of the hill, powder could still be found.

There is still a fair amount of shrubbery in Cedar Bowl. Blueberry would be on the right, just before the trees.

A couple of boarders on Boomerang.

Another shot of Boomerang from the chair.

The part of Heartland just below 100 Percent was marked with warning signs and looked pretty bony. Highline was just fine though.

The summer brush whackers did a major number on the last pitch of the 1,2,3s. In previous years this slope would have been all but impassible until the season was well under way, but it is now a lovely wide open pitch. The snow was even generally free of significant crust, something that sure couldn�t be said for the rest of the 1,2,3s. This is going to be a delight with fresh powder.

Alas there still isn�t a great way out of lower Currie. This is looking across at the area resculpted last summer and it is it clear could use more snow. Unfortunately Gilmar�s Trail, where I took this picture, was also less than ideal.