Jay's Report - March 20, 2005

Skiing is Good Again But the Griz Can Be Cruel

The skiing is good again. Though patchy with blue ice in spots, like Surprize Trees (where I could have used ABS on my skis); and not fully recovered in others, like North Ridge (which is closed on the bottom half) the skiing is enjoyable enough. I even found knee to thigh deep clean turns on Snake Ridge and in Fish Bowl on Saturday. My friend Dave also found Diamond Back offered up clean turns. But we both confessed the turns weren�t of the usual worry free variety. The base is so low that it�s impossible to escape the threat of leg mines and base bombs ruining your day. It�s like playing Frisbee in the back yard where the dog roams. You know the cookies are there, you just hope you don�t step in any. After my second pass down Snake Ridge, I was grateful to not have struck any buried projectiles that might have reconfigured my limbs. It was enough to convince me not to go for a third circuit. In other places, the coverage was plentiful. Upper Easter had great coverage, as did 1,2,3�s. Face was wonderful and I heard tell upper Concussion was great.

The Griz has apparently been rejuvenated, sending us a blanket of about 40cm�s in the last week. That has been huge for the hill. More snow is in the forecast (though the forecasts have been amazingly unreliable this year). We might offer a word of thanks to Pat Gilmar (of Gilmar trail fame in the Currie Bowl), who might have had something to do with rekindling the spirit of the Griz. Pat apparently predicted that the17th would be the day the Griz would return. You see, Pat had a knee operation scheduled for the 17th that would put him out for the season. This ranked certain in Pat�s mind that the Griz would taunt him on that day. Pat was so certain of his fate that he could be heard telling friends a week before to �Have a good day in the powder on the 17th�. Thanks Pat. Maybe you should get the other knee done next week.

I�m enjoying Fernie these days, partly because there is no one here. No line-ups at the grocery store; no line-ups at Jamocca�s; no reservations are needed at restaurants; and decent skiing has returned. If it dumps again (as is predicted), there will be lots of freshies for everyone. It�s been an off year, so there are great deals on ski/boarding gear in the local shops. In one of my frequent moments of selflessness, I bought a pair of powder skis as a gift for my wife for next season (at virtually half price at Ski Base). Okay, so I bought a pair for me too. But the point is I thought of my wife first. And the real point is that there are good prices at the local shops. But my season has come to an end, marking this as my final report of the season. I�m flying to warmer climes for a bit. Thanks for following. Like Pat Gilmar, I predict a major dump to occur just as I�m boarding the plane. The Griz can be cruel.

I�ll leave you with one of my favourtie photos of the season and a couple of photos of the Salomon/Fernie Extreme Skiing Competition held in the Fish Bowl on Saturday. Also are some photos of members of the newly formed Fernie FreeStyle Ski Team. Kudos to Steve Hunter for initiating and organizing the program. Coaches Bill Warrick and Mike Richards have done great things with the kids in year 1. Cheers guys.

One of my favourite shots this year. Jennifer on Blueberry. Blueberry looked similar on Saturday, but I didn't stop for a photo.

Spot the Skier at the Salomon/Fernie Extreme Sking Competition in Fish Bowl on Saturday.

Taking the Chute