John's Report - February 20, 2005


It snowed again this weekend - the third in a row. True it was not the big dumps of last week or the week before; just 6 inches, but enough to make for very good, soft skiing. The softness was especially remarkable because I didn�t get to the top until 11 am and the Hill was jammed (in the sparsely populated Fernie sense) with Albertans enjoying their 3 day Family Day weekend. The sun shone, temperatures were fine & the world was beautiful.

Once again ice made its appearance nearly everywhere on the steeps but it didn�t matter. Out of the boarder�s grooves the snow was wonderfully soft.

Liftline under Timber to White Pass was good & a run down Big Bang proved to be even better.

Upper Surprize, across the traverse half way up and to the right of White Pass (& below Knots Chutes), offered exceptionally good tree skiing, especially if one kept to the left. The ridge over the 123's, with its steep descents did not disappoint. Nor did the lower half of Anaconda Glades. Also, Bootleg Glades was fine (but only on the left).

For the first time this year I took the traverse all the way across the northern side of Currie Bowl and descended Sky Dive. The top was moguled but soft. The bottom half turned quite icy but this could be avoided by skiing the edges of the run. However the alders, which unlike willows, don�t give way, proved to be a bit of a problem towards the bottom. All the same, I wouldn�t have hesitated to do the run again if were not for the fact I wanted to try the �Old Side�.

The area between Cedar Ridge and King Fir were heavily tracked but freshies were to be had with every turn close to the trees and it was easy to bounce from one soft spot to the other. Only the ridge�s gullies were icy, but again this could be avoided with a bit of tight tree skiing.

I skied Boom Bowl under the chair and then continued under the chair to the far right side of Boom Ridge. The snow was quite good and I impressed (or so I would like to think) those riding up the chair with huge sprays of powder as I wove through the willows. It is not that I really love willows, or tight tree skiing for that matter, but that�s where you find the soft snow at two in the afternoon on a 6 inch day.

The ski day ended with a trip down Sunny Side to Bear Chair with a final run in the trees down the centre of Lizard. All in all, it was an excellent four to five hours of skiing.

While some may see it as unfortunate that Fernie�s return to good snow has been rediscovered by the unwashed masses, it was really nice to see so many people enjoying themselves after the hellish early winter we experienced. At least for the past two weeks, the greenhouse effect has vanished. Winter has returned to Fernie!

Entrance to Big Bang to the immediate left from the top of Timber Chair

White Pass Chair from the Top of Big Bang

Down Knots Shoots

Looking the other way from the bottom of Knots Chutes - White Pass Chair from Upper Highline

Concussion Ridge from Top on 123's

Looking Down Decline to Bear Chair

The Alders at the Bottom of Sky Dive

Surpising Surprize

Boom Bowl

(Another)John on Sunny Side