Craig's Report - June 07, 2006

A Near Summer Update

I have been rather lazy about posting anything since the hill closed, but it has been a rather uneventful spring. With no major weather events, floods or social or commercial upheavals to report, it has been hard to get motivated, but with some sun today and rain forecast for the next while, I thought perhaps I should take the camera along on a quick gambol up Siberia Ridge. Okay, make that a slow, tongue dragging, shirt drenching slog on a slope probably not recommended for keyboard jockeys like me who think some rapid backspacing constitutes a brisk workout. As for you folks who zip up to the top of Polar Peak (Wade?) before your morning Wheaties, just how fast can you backspace? :-)

I haven�t seen any sign of that grizzly that appeared just after closing and indeed saw no trace of bears until last week, when I encountered a big black mama and an itsy bitsy cub under the Timber Chair. They were a 100 m or so below me and mama just kept a very close eye on me, while junior frolicked and played in the new grass while I pedaled just a bit faster for the top of Deer.

Then today I came across a huge pile of scat on Siberia Ridge. It had just turned black, but was ripe green just below the surface, which occasioned even more gasping and probably higher pitched than intended, �yo� calls as I struggled up slope in low visibility alders. Finally I also noticed a more reasonable sized and less fresh, but still current bear deposit as I descended Power Trip.

By the way if any of you find yourself on the hill hearing some lunatic yelling �yo� every now and again, it is probably me attempting to warn bears and crazed moose of my presence with the only vowel I can get out between gasps. I am unconvinced of the effectiveness of this, particularly on moose who disdain anything of the sort, but I know from experience that bears will totally ignore the whistles I used to attempt. Also it is all but impossible to whistle when out of breath.

With the snow just now disappearing from the upper slopes and mountain biking season looming, no major new goodies are likely to materialize on the hill until the fall. Hill crews have been out doing various bits of maintenance and have started preparing for mountain biking by clearing dead fall from the trails and today I noticed a crew working on the off loading stage at the top of the Elk Chair. Most of the bike trails I have been on below the Bear�s Den are clear and in pretty good condition, although a few still have some blocked spots.

At 10 to 8 in the evening. we are in middle of a thunderstorm with heavy rain and a temperature of 15 C at the house.

Timber Bowl and the top of Timber Express from Siberia Ridge.

A new Timber Lodge represents the only major construction on the hill at the moment. A Timberline Crescent home directly behind the lodges from here is also undergoing an complete rebuild and significant expansion.

Know that steep, ugly, rocky section on Siberia Ridge from skiing? Well it is also steep (much more so than it looks here), ugly and rocky in the summer.

Looking down Heartland at the bottom of White Pass.

The section of Trespass Trail where it crosses above Bootleg Glades, which look even steeper without snow. Most of the snow was firm and easy to walk on, which was nice as it is too hot for gaiters.

In Currie Bowl, looking up Currie Powder and 1, 2, 3 - well maybe 2, 3.

As the snow has melted, it has been impressive to see the avalanche debris melt out. Some of those trees in the gully beside Dancer are a pretty significant size and all of this was complete buried. The debris becomes harder to notice once the snow disappears, but it was evident all the way down to Deer Trail. Cascade and Bow both also had debris fields.

Lest you doubt the powder of snow, this rock is perhaps 2 m long and is still sitting on about half a meter of snow. I don�t think anyone caught in this puppy would have had much of a chance. Poachers take note!

A crew assembles the off loading ramp for mountain bikes at the top of Elk. And yes, it really was break time.

Fortunately the only sizable wild life you regularly encounter on the hill are the ubiquitous Bambis and it seems impossible to go out without all but falling over them. This guy was enjoying a snack on Power Trip until I disturbed him. Most seem to prefer my wife�s garden though.