Craig's Report - April 11, 2006

Final Days

The end is near my friend. Truly, for in a week, lift serviced skiing and boarding as we know it will cease at Fernie, at least for this season. It ain�t over yet though and as I discovered this afternoon, the old girl can still put a smile on your face. With a few minor exceptions, coverage remains excellent and if your timing and tolerance for a bit of mush is good, there are still many fine turns to be had, albeit perhaps with a few not so fine ones thrown in.

A family trip to steep in the history of London, along with a touch of plague I brought back as a souvenir and a middle aged shoulder with a bad attitude all conspired to keep me off of the slopes for over a month. Warm temperatures and beckoning wheeled toys made me reluctant to return and a gooey few runs last Friday didn�t really excite me, but I trundled out today anyway and was glad I did.

Like all spring skiing, timing and location are the key factors and today that meant being on the South facing slopes. A run down Tom�s Run was particularly fine with conditions ranging from just a hint of crust on top down to pretty squishy by lower Barracuda. Wonderful stuff for carefree flailing down steeper terrain, at least when it isn�t my expertise deciding the stuff will actually stick to the slope. Over on the other side of Currie Bowl, things weren�t quite so pleasant. The surface snow was still soft, but various debris lying on the slope wasn�t quite cooked yet. It wasn�t rock hard and you could ski through it without too much drama, but it seemed to require a technique a little more like that required of crust and certainly wasn�t as confidence inspiring. I stuck with it all the way down thinking it would improve at any moment, but at least when I went in the mid afternoon, it really didn�t become comfortable until almost at Trespass Trail and even the top part of Bootleg Glades was a bit short of friendly.

A hike up to the top of Morning Glory netted a series of turns in lovely untracked goo a few centimeters thick. This was actually quite enjoyable and while it did become quite soft farther down, soft snow is almost always better than hard in my book and I just enjoyed it as poor man�s powder.

To my surprise the Boomerang chair and the Haul Back were closed all day and while Cedar Bowl was open, the prospect of the slog out Cedar Trail in soft spring conditions was rather off putting. The rumors were that they were closed as a cost saving move due to the very low skier traffic. Reportedly the original plan was to reopen them for the final weekend, but further rumors are that as a result of complaints, possibly from large tour operators, they will be open again tomorrow.

Coming up on 17:30, down here at the house it is a very spring like 11 C under a mainly cloudy sky.

Despite the unceasingly warm temperatures even the lower slopes are generally still in pretty good shape. Looking up Elk from the beginner area.

Currie Bowl and the town of Fernie from the top of White Pass.

The Cornice above Timber Bowl is impressive enough when looking at it from the top of the White Pass lift, but ...

it is really spectacular if you look back at it from in Currie Bowl.

Tom�s run (I think) was particularly nice at about this point. The Anaconda glades are visible on the other side of Currie Bowl.

The crest of this slope on the skier�s left of Currie just above Meadow is bony even at the best of times and has now predictably rotted out in the spring sun. However a trauma free exit is still possible in the weeds just to the skier�s right of it and ...

Gilmar�s Trail on the other side of the gully is in really good shape.

Those little lumps look just like the friendly ones over on the Currie Chutes, but here on 1,2,3 (2 here), they aren�t quite soft. Not really hard enough to call death cookies, but perhaps mortality muffins.

The upper part of Morning Glory was really nice, at least if sticky and heavy can find a way into your definition of nice. I liked it.

Farther down the slope below the rocks on the skier�s left was closed for obvious reasons.