Jay's Report - December 11, 2005

Happy Opening Day

Opening day in Fernie is like a homecoming. Re-acquainting with winter friends with handshakes, hugs and opening season talk is food for the sole. The mood matched the conditions and the conditions were grand for opening day. The sky was clear, temperature was crisp and the hill had substantially complete coverage. Although it smelt all day long like a powder day, it was only hard pack for the most part, with wind hardened crust in most off-piste areas. I blame the crust on Arrow for nearly causing my first double eject of the season. Off-piste was not where you wanted to be unless your masochistic inner child wanted out. Cruisers like Bear and North Ridge were good fun. Hard pack yes, but decent base and nicely carving snow served up for a happy day. One of my skiing companions, Roger, reminded me that you also had to keep in mind the Rule of Thumb; that is, don�t ski a run with alders thicker than your thumb. There were a few runs like that; like King Fir for instance. But the number of alder ridden runs are much fewer and far between this year thanks to the summer clearing efforts of the hill. Having dodged a double eject early in the day, I continued to push my luck with a little powder roulette, lining just outside of the trees on both Decline and SkyDive. My reward - knee top clean, but not necessarily worry free, powder turns. Having not struck any powder mines, I was beaming. If I was a dog, I�d have been wagging my tail. Everybody was happy on opening day. For all those that have booked �Fernie time� over Christmas, we�re off to a great start - leaps and bounds over last year at this time.

I�ll only give part mention to the complaints I heard about the power being out in the Bears Den, Fernie�s mid-mountain lodge. Apparently there was no power, so there was no heat, no food, hot chocolate or coffee etc� But I never go in there anymore anyway, so whatever. Most locals would rather let it run down their leg than go in the Bears Den. On that note, happy opening day everybody.

Sun Dogs on Opening Day

Terese on North Ridge

Top of Upper Saddle looked excellent for this time of year. I passed though and circled around to Decline Instead

The "Big Three" - From left ot right: Stage Leap, Sky Dive and Decline. Coverage is excellent for this time of year. The first third of both Sky Dive and Decline were wind crusted, but after that, nicely powdered

Bottom of Decline

Shakies Acres

Even Big Bang was nicely covered