John's Report - December 12, 2005

Opening Weekend - My Two Cents Worth

After waiting eight months for the opening, the day had finally arrived. On Saturday there were moments of sunshine (the next best thing to a snow storm) and the riders on the Hill (sounds like a Door�s song) were sparse; which while surprising, was a good thing as the base remains relatively thin. However, at the lower levels the many new snow machines were working overtime making for safe riding on the lower slopes - a blessing after last year.

As was reported by Jay & Craig, Saturday�s snow was rather crusty off piste. I tried to stick to the groomers given the months I spent as a couch-potato. This was trickier than one might think since it turned out that few of the higher runs were actually groomed. I suspect that grooming threatened to expose too many rocks & stumps.

Sunday was quite different. The sun was out in full force and the off-piste had been sufficiently tracked by people younger than me, thus reducing Saturday�s menacing crust to a softer, kinder version of its former self. But I paid the price for being lulled off the beaten track & put four major gouges into the bases of my skis. The Timber/White Pass & Currie Bowl areas proved to be the real danger spots. However, the good folks at FAR�s ski repair shop are fixing all the damage for just $10.00 - now that�s good customer relations. Thanks guys.

While errant rocks may be the bad news, the good news is cheap beer!!! Continuing with last year�s tradition, I ended the day by quaffing a couple of pints at the Griz. The bargain beer of this season is Kokanee, which is selling for just $4.50 a mug - fifty cents less than last year! Truly good news. The non-bargain draft beer is still $5.50 a pint & consists of Kokanee Gold, Kootenay & Fernie 1st Tracks (if memory serves). The food at the Griz still has a long way to go. The only thing that appeared worth eating were the Nachos ($14.00) with less appetizing fare going for around $10.00. However, despite this short coming, the Griz still the place to go for cheap beer, fast times and good music.

In the interests of journalistic balance, I visited Kelsey�s on Sunday. While the food selection is definitely better, beer costs between $6.31 & $6.96 - not the place for those who like to overdo it on budget. The draft is Kokanee, Kokanee Gold, Canadian, Rickards Red & Stella Artois, the latter two being the $7.00 brands. Nevertheless, the bar is a good place to staddle up if you are inclined to have a meaningful conversation with a complete stranger.

The weather outlook for the next few days does not look especially promising but one thing I�ve learned during my 10 years in the area is not to put too much faith in the weatherman.

Rocks or snow, I�ll be back on the Hill within the next couple of days because any way you cut it, it�s a joy to again be on the boards.

All in all it was a fine weekend.

Snow Machines Creating a Snow Fog on the Lower Slopes

The Alders have definately been Thinned but not Eradicated in Lizard

Shakey's Acres on Sunday were filled with wind drift making for some fine turns

At "One" on the 123's in Currie Bowl

The redesigned terrain below Currie Creek towards the bottom of Currie Bowl - Alders gone, but its Rock City

Barricade at the bottom of Currie - Exit to the Skier's Right

Cheap Beer - Proof Thereof

Keepin' Rippers Ripped ... Since 1962

Last Weekend's Entertainment at the Griz Bar - The Life of Riley