Bernie's Report - April 01, 2006

Opening Day & a 3 � Metre Base?

Well opening day for me anyway! I was away from Fernie all winter, traveling through Central America by motorcycle, so for me it was �opening day�. (My first ski day of the season.) Today�s forecast for was for rain. Must have been an April fools trick from the weather man because by 9:30 the fog was burning off, revealing clear blue skies above. This is what I had been waiting for. There is no way that I was willing to cough up 70 bucks to ski in the rain that had welcomed my return to Fernie.

It is interesting how ones perspective of a ski hill and your approach to skiing changes when you don�t have a season�s pass and you have to pay the full day rate. Start early and ski as long and as hard as you are able.

I was skiing with my house sitting friends, Miles and Eileen. We started out on the old side with a warm up run down Bear and Sunny Side. Both runs were in the sun and had been warmed just enough to make the snow soft enough for a good edge but firm enough for easy enjoyable turns. The White Pass area was also very nice. A little cooler but great snow in the sunny areas. We stuck to the sunny slopes all morning and I must say it was treat. Very good Spring Skiing. The coverage is excellent and it was my first chance to see the summer grooming improvements that took place last summer.

By noon I was tiring and hungry. Not wanting to miss any skiing we decided to grab a quick bite at the Bears Den. When we reached the order window we asked how long it would take to get a burger. Five minutes was the reply. OK great, we�ll take 3 of those and 3 cokes, please. You want how much for them?! Wow! That is more than my whole daily budget in Central America!

It turned out that the price was not the biggest surprise. The 5 minute promised wait for the burgers stretched into an hour, and it was not busy! The gals cooking and serving were pleasant, the burger was very good, but an hour wait for a burger is ridiculous. Bring your own lunch if you want to get in a full days skiing.

Do to the unexpected lunch delay, we did not get back on the hill until 1:30. By then conditions had change quite dramatically. The sun had done what the sun does best. Warm snow sucks! So� we though we would have a go at the north facing shaded slopes. Cedar Ridge became the chosen run. Let me tell you� it was awe inspiring. Part way down I slid to a halt exclaiming� �Awe Shit! This is Awe-full! Just hard, crusty, unappealing snow. With much thigh burning (first day, remember) effort I made it to the haul back and returned to the sunny slopes. Sticky is better than crusty!

As I mentioned, pay full price and you ski as long and as hard as you are able. Ten years ago that meant that I would ski until the lifts shut down. Today that meant 3pm. Boy, am I going to be sore tomorrow!

I missed a damn good ski year, that�s for sure, but it was a real treat to see Fernie looking like days gone by. (I think that the good snow year had something to do with the fact that we were not in Fernie. Perhaps I could entice you skiing fanatics to start a collection to send us away again next year. ;-)

It�s great to be back. There is one indisputable fact of travel� It gives you a greater appreciation of home. No doubt about it!

� �til next season.

Up in Timber Bowl

Looking down 1-2-3 with Fernie in the background.

Eileen making some nice turns. (Too bad it was so crowded)

I had to twist these guys arms to get them to look afer my house for the winter.

Morning on Milky Way...good stuff!