Craig's Report - January 02, 2006

Centimeter by Centimeter

There were no big dumps over the holidays, which is just as well as avalanche closures and limited grooming can mean chaos when the hill is flooded with vacationing families. However the small daily deposits that did arrive were just about exactly what was needed and despite the traffic, the hill has improved enormously since those shaky days around Christmas. Even the lower runs, which did not seem to receive all that much accumulation, are greatly improved and today when we headed down previously rough runs like Wallaby, Holo Hike, Incline and Silver Fox, we found if not exactly pristine snow, certainly more than adequate conditions.

Up top you could still find soft snow this afternoon and while in the more heavily travelled areas it was often separated by hard icy patches, only in the most extreme of these was there any problem linking the soft bits together. Venture farther afield and soft moguls and well tracked somewhat dense powder was the norm. Get cozy with the flora and soft ankle deep turns were still plentiful.

The traverses across Snake and the Currie Chutes were both in pretty good condition, except for a bit of icy excitement crossing Currie Creek. There are still hazards to watch for off trail, but most of my favoured haunts are now accessible, helped in many places by the extensive summer brush clearing. The net result was another pretty fine afternoon of skiing only somewhat spoiled for my daughter by the realization that she is back at school tomorrow. :-)

At 17:30 it is -1 C and overcast at the house.

You could still find the odd freshie at the end of the last day of a busy holiday season, but some comfort with our barked friends was helpful.

The trees beside Bow looked soft and generally were, but there were icy bits lurking out there.

Arrow is at the left and Sunnyside in the center and right of this picture taken from the middle of Lizard Bowl.

Patchy clouds lurk in the bottom of the Elk Valley and surround the town of Fernie. These clouds also wandered around the mountain at various elevations leading to the occasional dense fog. This shot was taken from the top of Trillium in Cedar Bowl.

My daughter makes her way down a fringe of Red Tree that had seen its share of visitors, but could still yield the odd soft turn.

One of those fog patches greeted us as we approached the top of the White Pass chair. This made following the cat track across Currie rather interesting, but on our next circuit the visibility was fine.

The hordes have been busy and even this chute on Easter Bowl that is well guarded by steep trees was quite mogulled. Slipping a bit deeper into the shrubs did produce some less used bits though.

Currie Bowl from a treed area in the Currie Chutes.

My daughter again, this time having just scored some almost untracked in the bushier bits of the Currie Chutes.

The improvement in the lower runs emboldened me to try the cat track below the Currie Creek run. It was pretty sketchy, as was the cat track over to just above the top of the Deer Chair on Stag Leap. Still it wasn�t so bad that I will avoid it in the future, but caution is definitely advised.